Happy Friendsgiving: Celebrating Turkey Day in a Foreign Country

For pretty much all  of my life, I lived around Washington D.C. and loved it.  This past July, I boarded a plane with an unhappy cat and a one-way ticket to Stuttgart, Germany to start a new life in Europe.

I will detail more about my first months in Germany in a following post, but considering that this is the day after Thanksgiving–the biggest food holiday of the year– I have to fill you in on how one spends an American holiday in a non-American country.

My husband and I have been very lucky to meet many wonderful new friends since our arrival here and when you aren’t around family you celebrate Thanksgiving with those friends.  This is something my younger sister, Lindsy, knows well.  She has spent the last few years living on the British Caribbean island of St. Kitts and celebrates Thanksgiving between classes with a group of fellow Vet students. Now that I am out of the country as well, our poor parents are probably wondering when they will be able to have a regular Thanksgiving again with both their children at home. (I don’t know myself, but they are happy for the experiences Lindsy and I are gaining from living in another country.)

Getting back to the point, as fate would have it one of our good friends from D.C. ended up in Stuttgart as well–in walking distance from our place.  Sam and Kim arrived here a year before us and, being way more together and “with it” than Thomas and I currently are as a result, invited us over to their house for Thanksgiving with two other couples. Sam is a phenomenal cook (and I “joke” about opening a restaurant with him) so I was very excited for the dinner.  It did not disappoint: the food was presented beautifully and tasted amazing. Elements of various cultures–Asian, American, Mexican, Middle Eastern–were sprinkled throughout the various dishes served.  Sam and Kim were gracious hosts who kept the wine (gathered from their travels to Champagne, Alsace, the Amalfi Coast) and conversation flowing late into the night.  What follows are the pictures I took to capture the night–a night that left me feeling even more excited about the people to meet and adventures ahead as I get to know Stuttgart and Europe.

My contribution to the meal (picture taken before it got jostled on the walk to their house): a sweet potato and spinach gratin with thyme and gruyere cheese

My contribution to the meal (picture taken before it got jostled on the walk to their house): a sweet potato and spinach gratin with thyme and gruyere cheese

The table

The table

Kim made these adorable menu and name cards for each person. I brought mine home with me as a keepsake.

Kim made these adorable menu and name cards for each person. I brought mine home with me as a keepsake.

A close up of the menu.  Sam and Kim served the appetizers to us-- it all felt very gourmet.

A close up of the menu. Sam and Kim served the appetizers to us– it all felt very gourmet.

Thomas and Tim enjoying the signature cocktail--it contained thyme, cranberry juice, whisky and sparkling cider

Thomas and Tim enjoying the signature cocktail–it contained thyme, cranberry juice, whisky and sparkling cider

Kim (on the left), Thomas and Tim in the living room. I love the architecture of their apartment--the windows and woodwork are amazing!  It also happens to be a historical building: they are living in Schrödinger's old apartment.  Only in Europe...

Kim (on the left), Thomas and Tim in the living room. I love the architecture of their apartment–the windows and woodwork are amazing! It also happens to be a historical building: they are living in Schrödinger’s old apartment. Only in Europe…

A pretty display of the thyme used in the cocktails

A pretty display of the thyme used in the cocktails

Hors d'oeuvres: crostini topped with ricotta, chive oil, spinach and prosciutto.

Hors d’oeuvres: crostini topped with ricotta, chive oil, spinach and prosciutto.

Cocktails

Cocktails

a vegan spinach dip brought by the night's babysitter who watched their daughter (Sam and Kim thought of everything!).  Non of us even realized it was vegan until we were told!

a vegan spinach dip brought by the night’s babysitter who watched their daughter (Sam and Kim thought of everything!). Non of us even realized it was vegan until we were told!

Close up of the croquettes--I love the plating of these.

Close up of the croquettes–I love the plating of these.

Close up of the soup: it had a pleasant, warm spice to it

Close up of the soup: it had a pleasant, warm spice to it

First course: spicy butternut squash soup with bacon garnish and winer squash and smoked gouda croquettes with a wonderfully bright and refreshing burnt orange compote

First course: spicy butternut squash soup with bacon garnish and winer squash and smoked gouda croquettes with a wonderfully bright and refreshing burnt orange compote

The salad course (I LOVED this!!): Roasted beets atop a lemony creme fraiche with watercress and pickled onion.  The combination of the sweet beets, tangy creme, pepper watercress and acidic onion was amazing!

The salad course (I LOVED this!!): Roasted beets atop a lemony creme fraiche with watercress and pickled onion. The combination of the sweet beets, tangy creme, peppery watercress and acidic onion was amazing!

While Sam was carving the turkey, I snuck into the kitchen for an "action shot." The turkey was perfect--crisp skin and juicy, succulent meat.

While Sam was carving the turkey, I snuck into the kitchen for an “action shot.” The turkey was perfect–crisp skin and juicy, succulent meat.

The spread. From left to right: roasted baby carrots with chipotle glaze; mashed potatoes with truffle oil; my sweet potato gratin; Ann's New England Stuffing with sausage, cranberries and apples; roasted cauliflower with mint, pomegranate and yogurt; gravy; cornbread; leek and mushroom stuffing; the turkey; roasted brussels sprouts with Asian vinaigrette

The spread. From left to right: roasted baby carrots with chipotle glaze; mashed potatoes with truffle oil; my sweet potato gratin; Anna’s New England Stuffing with sausage, cranberries and apples; roasted cauliflower with mint, pomegranate and yogurt; gravy; cornbread; leek and mushroom stuffing; the turkey; roasted brussels sprouts with Asian vinaigrette

Sam and Thomas dishing up their food.

Sam and Thomas dishing up their food.

My plate.  As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  Also as usual, I returned to the buffet for more gravy.

My plate. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Also as usual, I returned to the buffet for more gravy.

At the end of the night, to go with the pumpkin pie made by Enya, another guest who is from Poland and has lived in Germany for about 15 years, Sam brought out some really high quality whisky--a Japanese and a Scottish one.  I had a glass of port since I can't really handle whisky (there are stories...) but Thomas, Anna and Enya's husband had fun sampling them.

At the end of the night, to go with the pumpkin pie made by Enya, another guest who is from Poland and has lived in Germany for about 15 years, Sam brought out some really high quality whisky–a Japanese and a Scottish one. I had a glass of port since I can’t really handle straight whisky (there are stories…) but Thomas, Anna and Enya’s husband had fun sampling them.

After the whisky two things happened: my camera died and we adjourned to the living room for more drinks and to play that classic Thanksgiving family game: Cards Against Humanity.   It was a night filled with beautiful food and great friends that I will remember for some time.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Event

Author:apointgourmet

A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: