7 Seasons of Thanksgiving: Re-capping the Past Turkey Days in the US

Thanksgiving Day Parade 2010
Thanksgiving Day Parade 2010

It’s Thanksgiving Day! And my 4-day-weekend has officially started! After an initial confusion over whether or not I’d have to work tomorrow, I decided to just ask for some time off, since the office is usually pretty slow around this time of year. So I am pretty stoked to just get things done in the next four day and be all calm.Read More »

Celebrating an All-American Thanksgiving in New York

Of course this post was a must! I didn’t get to write one last year, so suffer this year!

Officially, this year was my third year I had the chance to take in one of America’s biggest holiday celebrations in the Big Apple: the one and only Thanksgiving Day. Informally also known as Turkey Day, Stuff-my-Face Event and under other symbolic nicknames.

The two occasions before really did not count: Last year had been quite depressing with a friend flaking out on me, leaving me stranded in a theater and with a depressing movie, and a burger meal at a local bar. The year before last year had been exclusively German as two high school friends showed up, dragged me to the highly overrated Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and cooked a meal. Therefore, this year offered what I had waited for so long: An All-American Dinner surrounded by friends, good booze, and the chance to contribute in some sort of way.

For fellow Germans, this holiday has no great meaning other than Americans gaining yet another 15 pounds, bragging about being in the kitchen all day long, and watching TV with the whole family. For my family, it has more of a meaning, as we celebrate it regularly, thanks to our bi-cultural household and keeping American traditions alive in a foreign country. The traditions were known to me; celebrating it with anyone except for the family rather not.

I probably would have been a bit more anxious had I not received an invitation to my friend’s party well in advance: Thanksgiving Extravaganza, hosted by three people at a Crown Heights apartment. Needless to say, I was very excited! How could I not be? 10 people had said they would be there, the invite looked great, and the concept was simple: Do not show up empty-handed! True vegetarian as I am, I opted for a veggie casserole and a few bottles of sparkling wine. A reason to celebrate, after all!

Labeling my glass with name and images – hooray!

As the date drew closer, the recipes and plans became more extensive. Typical New Yorkers as they were, half of the guests decided to flake out last-minute with some really lame excuses. “I can’t squeeze in another dinner, I am invited to two others already,” one guest wrote. “If my dog is not invited, I cannot come either,” were the words of another. The list goes on, but in the end, it looked like it would only be 5 meager guests with a shitload of food that had been prepared for way more people than expected.

True enough, as I got to the apartment yesterday early afternoon, the huge turkey was baking in the oven, two sorts of stuffings had been prepared the night before, a huge dish of homemade Mac’n’Cheese was waiting to be eaten, chopped potatoes were about to be fried, collard greens were sitting in a dish…. The list of pure deliciousness goes on! And I had yet to create my casserole out of vegetables meant for more than 5 people. Somehow it all was accomplished, though, with the help of the hosts: A self-proclaimed chef, a hobby baker, and an experienced pasteles creator (this is a Puerto-Rican dish).

Wine and eggnog party

While waiting for the food to cook itself, we started off with eggnog made by one of the friends. Supposedly she had mixed it according to a recipe that was more than 200 years old (or “something ridiculous like that”, as she herself expressed it). Quite strong in taste but nonetheless delicious, this must have been the highlight when it came to drinks. And boy, did we have enough of those! 2 bottles of sparkling wine, 2 bottles of red, 2 bottles of white, eggnog, and more to come as the non-cooking guests arrived, happy to hand over a bottle instead of food.

In the end, it truly did turn into an All-American Dinner: A guy from Baltimore, two girls from Pittsburgh, and a Native New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent. Her idea were the pork and veggie pasteles according to a family recipe, which in the end were never eaten out of lack of stomach space.

Surprisingly, my casserole turned out to be quite tasty, as were the other dishes mentioned above. While the turkey of course could not be amiss, I must have missed somewhere along the line that Mac’n’Cheese is a must when it comes to Thanksgiving. And somewhere in the background, almost forgotten, two pies and home-made peanut-butter fudge cookies waited patiently for their turn to be devoured.

The one and only pumpkin pie!

After two plates I was officially full. My friends tried to squeeze more in by taking turns in lying on the living room floor and waiting until their stomach would magically empty out for the next round. We must have eaten for three hours straight, slowly stuffing ourselves until the point of no return, when three more guests showed up with, alas, more wine: A North-African guy and two French girls. So we had a multi-continental evening after this one, which turned the party around another 180 degrees.

Friend lying on floor

At 11 PM, most of us were simply exhausted. The leftovers, about two thirds of food, were packed away or bagged up, to be taken by some of the guests. Half of the group decided to end the evening in a bar, while the other half had enough. After all, Black Friday was happening and some had to work (including me).

To read more about the ultimate craziness happening during one of America’s most insane shopping days, go to last year’s post. It certainly is still valid today, especially after I carefully evaded the masses at Herald Square when walking to work!

I guess I should ignore the fact that on this day, as on July 4, some friends are sensitive towards the real meaning of Thanksgiving and see it as hypocritical that America celebrates the day extermination was brought upon the Native Americans.

handmade decoration – you trace your hand and cut out the form to get the turkey

The Versatile Blogger Award

Alright! Time to redeem this thing!

You might recall that Ginger Couturier awarded me with the Versatile Blogger in the beginning of June, 2011. As I checked my pages the other day I was painfully reminded of this metaphorically dead body in my cellar and that I finally have to get it out to the crowd. The main reason I have struggled to pass it on to other promising bloggers is because I really had a hard time digging deep and finding some blogs I consider worth this price. Time issues might have played a significant minor role, too.

Therefore, my list of blogs and people might be shorter than usual but I do believe that these are the valueable golden nuggets of the blogging world.

Many thank yous go out to Ginger, for giving my blog a chance at such an early stage in its development. I had started writing down my stories, experiences, and thoughts on New York and the US in early May and she was with me from the beginning baby steps of my works from the third week on. I really enjoy reading your life stories and I wish you luck in your battle with your disease. My best wishes go out to you and I will hope to hear more from you, be it personal or not, but let it be at least some written words soon again!

I have to mention another blog at this point, the writings of the Blogject aka Holly from London/England. She found me through Ginger and has opened up her world to me as I hope to have given her a bit of an insight into (my) life in New York .

For a start, let me state the

Rules of Accepting the Award:

This award comes with two conditions: 1) share 7 things you didn’t know about yours truly and 2) pass on the award to other wonderful bloggers.

Now, off to the raw diamonds of online writing. I have included one or two blogs from blogspot, and though I am unsure if this will break the rules (heck, who mentioned it only has to be WORDPRESS, right?!), I found these to be really entertaining and you shouldn’t miss out on them, either.


A Highway Habitat

If a book has ever been inspired by a muse, then this is what Sarah and Amanda have been to me: The inspiration to start blogging! They started their blog about a year ago to write down their travel experiences on their seemingly never-ending roadtrip through the US. After graduating from college in 2010, they saved up those $$$ to make their dream of seeing almost every single state of the US come true. I hope to hear from you guys on a regular basis again and I am oh-so-glad to welcome you back on board!

Courtesy Laugh

Two fine guys from Pennsylvania, one living in New York, one still in PA. They were featured on freshly pressed not too long ago and this is how they caught my attention. By far one of the best-phrased blogs I have come across and it is always a pleasure reading their opinions on various matters of time. Oh, and I hope you will have enough money one day to finally get started on your videos! 😉


She still does not get it! A girl living in Bohemia, dreaming of her dreams coming true one day and writing about her life in a way I couldn’t help but keep on reading. Be it going for breakfast by herself, quitting her job, dating the wrong man for a period of years, or racial issues – adorable! Oh, and I am curious to read on what the New World is about…


Indian-rooted but born and raised in Norway, he seems to fetch the plane/train/car to many places in and around Europe. His writings are short but witty and have cast me in his ban not too long ago. Some entertaining stories about different cultures, marrying via skype, and other goodies.


Cinnamon Buns

Natalie is originally from the West Coast but studies in Boston now. She has traveled to a good amount of places all over the world and likes to sum up her adventures with the undertone of some delish cooking ideas. I specifically like this blog because I, being a vegetarian myself, get some great ideas for re-cooking some of these dishes at home. Way to go, Natalie!

New York:

Biting the Big Apple

This is the feared blogspot blog. *haha* A French girl who moved to New York years ago and still has so many things to talk about and to share. What an inspiration, indeed, and I find tons of good ideas to do after going through her blog. It helps to read fellow New Yorkers adventures, you might be inspired to copycat these!

Last, but not least, I want to mention two inactive blogs, that have highly appealed to me because of their contents:

Welsh Alien in New York

A welsh woman who has moved to New York, stayed for two years, and then discovered that she is better off on her British Island – at least for the time being. If a Highway Habitat has sparked an inspiration, then this blog is what has made me want to make my intention come true: After reading through her well-phrased stories and experiences, I was eager to start my own project. I felt with her, could relate to her problems in the city (to some extent) and shared some common European attitudes to being in a city like this and dealing with the nutcases people that sometimes come around. All the best to her and her journey in UK. Maybe New York will be waiting for her at a later time.

The Heimweh Safari

Same language, same continent, almost same country: Austria and Germany have their vast array of similarities and I have many Austrian friends I like to visit when I go back. So this was a really entertaining blog to catch up on, when I came across it on the expat community. He lives in New York but doesn’t like it here, at least some points about it, and I can UNDERSTAND! The fact that he stopped blogging half a year ago makes me hope he is still here and found some good things in this city!

If you are still with me at this point, then I would like to fulfill the core requirement of this blog and mention 7 random things you might not know about me (yet):

1) I love writing but my real passion lies in photography. I am saving up to buy my first DSLR soon and to take breathtaking shots from New York and other places.

2)Gina Vicenza: This is my second personality I need to justify my rudeness here in New York. And no, I am not crazy, I got this idea from an article from the Village Voice. 🙂

3) I still dream of moving to the West Coast: LA, San Francisco, San Diego – anything in California. I cannot wait to wave good-bye to the rude people over here and surround myself with folks who are nice and respectful, in a state that is sunny and dry (not humid, yuck!), and where life is a bit slower then here… One day, guys, one day!

4) I want to take one to two years of my time and exclusively devote it to traveling! I want to see every single continent on this Earth and am especially drawn to South America, Asia, and Australia.

5) I miss food, people, cultures, languages in Europe. At the same time I fear that living over there will just bore me out of my head and not satisfy me.

6) I grew up in the country and when I say country, I mean it! My first village of habitat consisted of 400 people, my second one (from when I was 13 years on) had a jaw-dropping 60 inhabitants. New York is definitely a change to this.

7) I want to improve my French. I want to get it on with my Spanish. I want to learn at least one more language. I have come to find that speaking a native’s language will earn you more respect in that particular country and it will make it easier for you to get around without being ripped off.