There aren't many traditions, events, rituals or meals that can be described as typical American. And quite honestly, most of those that can be classified as typical American, I have a bit of an aversion to. But when it comes to Thanksgiving, I like it when someone says "typical American!".
Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, is by far the best of holidays. I find myself looking more and more forward to this day every year, and the preparations leading up to it, a joyful time. I truly believe it is because there is so much I have to be thankful for, and every year there is more.
I get increasingly agitated by the typical American ritual of rushing Christmas, as soon as Halloween is over. Should Santa really be in the mall before Thanksgiving? Should radio stations play 24 hour holiday music starting November 1st? I think you know my answer! What's the big rush?
When I moved to Germany many years ago, I took the holiday with me. At that time the hunt for the proper ingredients was an adventure. I'll never forget finding cranberries at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich, and sweet potatoes. Ordering turkey from a vendor there, who remembers us to this day eighteen years later when we visit.
This year, dinner was at our home, and with friends from all over the world, Germany, India and the U.S. we sat down for a wonderful meal. Saying thanks for our many blessings.
Leftovers are a big deal with this meal! That's why people often insist on having the dinner at their home. More leftovers. We started a new tradition this year for the day after Thanksgiving. It was a sandwich making competition with the leftovers. Our friends are quite creative, and great cooks, so the results were marvelous. One (my sweet husband) was disqualified for not making a sandwich, and opting for a repeat plate from Thursday. Even with a good attempt by his old, dear friend to make a case for "invisible bread" it didn't work! Here are a few of the creations from Team Thanksgiving 2009. Yum!