“Turkey time! Gobble, gobble.” – Jennifer Lopez (Gigli)

You never really appreciate something until it’s gone. That’s how it was with me and Thanksgiving. Once I jumped overseas, I was cut off from the huge gatherings of family and friends, from an afternoon spent watching football, drinking beer, and gorging on food. And I particularly miss having the 4-day weekend.

I can’t do much about the long weekend, but I do make an extra-special effort to celebrate Thanksgiving, especially if most of the American transplants I know aren’t heading back to the motherland for vacation. I’ve been fortunate to celebrate Thanksgiving in 3 foreign countries now, and this year will mark my 5th one (3rd in Thailand).

Last night, the wife and I trekked over to Villa Market, the mecca for every Yank with a jonesing for good ol’ fashioned American packaged goods (got a craving for Nilla wafers? Lorna Doones? How about some Cap’n Crunch?). The wonderful thing about Villa come Thanksgiving time is that with enough advance notice, you can place an order for an imported Butterball turkey, and these guys will prepare it for you, complete with stuffing and gravy, ready to be picked up at a time of your choosing. If you really want to go all out, browse the aisles for cranberry sauce and candied yams. Of course, what you save in time, you more than make up for it in cost: an 11.5 pound (5.2 kg, for you anal retentive metric system people out there) turkey plus prep cost is setting us back US$94, which I will try not to remind myself can feed a family of 4 Thais for a month and a half.

Like last year’s gathering, I expect this year’s Thanksgiving to morph into something not-quite-American. I’m not even talking about Thai-style Thanksgiving here; it goes way beyond that. We did have turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes last year, but they were relegated to a small corner of the buffet table to make room for the fajitas, the tempura, the Thai noodles, and every other dish from every other country you could possibly imagine. With talk this year of grilling steaks and bratwurst to complement our turkey, I think we’ll see another eclectic mix of food at this year’s buffet table. I got my fingers crossed for goulash and baklava…

2 Comments so far

  1. Ben Harris (unregistered) on November 24th, 2004 @ 9:20 am

    Someone asked me if I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Thailand so I gave them a hard stare and said “I’m NOT American”.
    It’s surprising how many Thai people think that thanksgiving is an international holiday held by all westerners.
    Oh, and even though I can’t recall ever having a 4-day weekend, I miss it too.

  2. Paul (unregistered) on November 24th, 2004 @ 9:31 am

    The first Thanksgiving I had in Bangkok, some Australian friends pitched in with the cooking. They had such a blast that they wound up hosting it the following year. While celebrating the pilgrims’ fortitude in the face of their astounding ineptitude is a distinctly American phenomenon (which persists to this day, as evidenced by the Bush Administration), I think gathering around with friends for hours of eating, drinking, and socializing is a concept that anyone from any nationality can get behind.

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