Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Thanksgiving Dinner in Canada.

I forgot today is Thanksgiving until I got an e-card that reminded me that (American) Thanksgiving is, in fact, today. Here in Québec, they obviously don't celebrate American Thanksgiving, but neither do they celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving (which comes earlier anyways). Last year, I did not celebrate either Thanksgiving and I missed it, so this year I decided to host dinner this coming weekend for some of S's family. I will be the only American at our Thanksgiving celebration, and most of the conversation will be in French, which I find pretty great and also kinda funny. I am looking forward to sharing this part of my culture with S's family.

In Chicago, I used to host an annual Day-After-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Potluck and I miss that. Since I am an only child and our celebrations eventually became just me and my parents, one year I decided it would be fun to invite a bunch of Chicago friends, and we celebrated the day after so that more people could come. We once had 16 people there, and we often had to eat on chairs in a big circle in the living room, with our plates in our laps. I have great memories of those celebrations with my family and friends and am so glad to have had those years of potluck Thanksgivings.

However, having only been in our new apartment since July, I still don't quite feel established enough to host a big shindig. Plus, it would probably be weird to have a potluck for Thanksgiving here, since it isn't celebrated here and the guests are not people who celebrate Thanksgiving. But I think I can handle a sit-down dinner for five adults and two kids. I have cooked before for seven adults, so I have experience with this size of group. But I have never cooked a whole Thanksgiving dinner without my parents' help, so I am a little nervous about the timing of it all and have created a spreadsheet schedule to organize every dish and every task that needs to be done. I hope this level of organization will help it come together and that I can pull off making all the dishes I want to do, some of which are new dishes. (Yeah, I like to live on the edge like that and often try new dishes for company.) And I still have to figure out what to do about the turkey. As a mostly vegetarian, I am not going to cook one. So...I guess I will look at the grocery store to see if there is an already cooked turkey or chicken I could purchase from the deli, and then do the rest of the dishes myself. Or maybe skip the meat part altogether, like I usually do when I cook? I like dressing with gravy (and no turkey), but I don't know if it would be weird for others. Though since they don't do Thanksgiving here, maybe they wouldn't miss it? I enjoy hosting and I am looking forward to it. The only thing is that I often (almost always?) run late in life and when I host people for dinner, I often get stressed in "crunch time" when trying to pull it all together. Hence, my work to prevent this by creating the extensive schedule that begins with tasks today. I will not be trying to iron tablecloths right before guests arrive this year. :) And I am excited to try this new recipe for delicious-looking yeast dinner rolls.

If this goes well, I'd like to host a drop-in Christmas gathering in December for a larger group? Maybe one weekend afternoon with appetizers and desserts? Or an evening, but make it potluck? Our apartment is not quite ready for that level of event right now though since we still are getting settled. Last night we completely re-arranged the living room and now have a configuration of furniture that is infinitely more pleasing. Before it looked like we had thrown everything in the living room with the couch in a bad orientation and had not unpacked much; now our living room looks like a living room. We are slowly making progress in finding the places where things truly belong in this apartment. We lost a room before moving into our apartment, so we have too much stuff for the size apartment we have (and almost no closets), so it has been quite a task to get organized. Plus we are combining all our stuff (since this apartment was the first time we lived with all our stuff together). I used to create a floorplan for our living room and the furniture, and then could virtually experiment with various arrangements. It is an amazing (free!) tool, and I highly recommend it! Plus you can even look at your design 3-D to see how it "feels." The square shape of our living room was weird to work with, and I had to think outside of the box to fit everything in. Anyhow, now our couch floats in the middle of the room and half the room is the TV and couch area and the other half is my desk, one of our sewing machines, and a reading area. It feels pretty good so far.


  1. Yey for rearranging furniture! I used to do it every few weeks as a teenager but my husband would not be so impressed if I carried that on now...
    Good luck with all the cooking - I'm sure it will all be delicious! Trust the spreadsheets :)

  2. oo. a post-thanksgiving pot luck is a GREAT idea for all those leftovers!

  3. @fiona lynne: Thanksgiving turned out great, though I got behind and the meal was late. Thank goodness I had spreadsheets, because without them we might never have eaten! And we even re-arranged the dining area a bit too before the company came and it looks better now. Though I don't have plans to do any more re-arranging in this apt because I think there are very few ways things will fit in an aesthetically pleasing way. (We have too much stuff for the space, so not too many options...)

    @very married: In those Chicago potluck days, for my family it was our actual Thanksgiving celebration (we just did it a day late), but our guests did indeed bring their leftovers sometimes to the potluck and it was fabulous. Yum.

  4. Nate@House of Annie: Sadly, the rolls had to get postponed when I was running about an hour and a half behind on my schedule and no longer had enough time to allow them to rise and cook. :( So they are on my list of recipes I want to try in the not too distant future.