Thanksgiving is one of most typical American holidays that do not exist in the traditional American form in Austria. I enjoy Thanksgiving – but who would not enjoy a holiday that appears to be mostly focused around food, and a lot of it. It seems a large part of the tradition for this holiday is to eat as much food as possible in one sitting or day. Of course the holiday centers around the theme of gratitude and giving thanks and this does play its role. Every Thanksgiving scene in an American movie or sitcom seems to include the obligatory part where the characters sit at the table and mention what they are grateful for. And I am sure this scene does happen at some Thanksgiving parties in reality as well.
Other less known traditions that I have learned over the last few years of celebrating Thanksgiving in California are that Thanksgiving includes a game of flag football, plenty of football on T.V., a large parade in New York City but shown on T.V., a wide variety of pies, turkey decorations, and ingenious ways to use leftover turkey meat in sandwiches over the next few days following Thanksgiving. In California, for me Thanksgiving also means eating outside and ending the evening with s’mores over the open fire. I would never associate Thanksgiving with snow since I have never celebrated the holiday anywhere else than Northern California and so far the weather has always cooperated each year with sunshine and warm weather since I moved here.
My friend and her husband are always gracious Thanksgiving hosts that would make Martha Stewart feel inadequate with their effort put into the feast. I am not allowed to bring any food or drinks but always leave with leftovers – the best kind of invitation. They barbeque the turkey, serve every traditional Thanksgiving side dish that I have ever read about online or in a cooking magazine, and bake several pies and cakes. It is always the perfect meal to eat every typical American food dish that I have heard about in movies. This year also included a cake shaped like a turkey with frosting giving the cake turkey the perfect color and texture. And the evening ended with hot chocolate with a kick (scotch) and s’mores. After Independence Day with its over-the-top firework shows, Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite U.S. holiday. Considering that Austrians love their food and drinks, I am surprised that we do not have a holiday that is more focused on food.