To Turkey or not to Turkey September 2010

October is closing in on me.  What used to be my favourite holiday has been shoved onto the backburner for a while now.  Thanksgiving isn't a holiday that exists here, not in French or in English.  There's nothing even close that ressembles it and unlike most North American traditions, no one seems super stoked to cash in on this one.

I don't get it.

I stopped at the butcher's this week to look into ordering a bird.  It's not the first time I've asked him about turkeys and it's not the first time he's offered me another strange game meat as a replacement.  I don't want liver or tongue and I don't care how 'passé' this bird is over here, it's tradition, (even if I totally plan on passing off the stuffing and carving duties onto another...)

I'm immediately brought back in time to the year my mother pre-cooked the turkey and put it on top of the car to cool down once the guests (my father's entire family - imagine 100 hungry Catholics) had arrived.  Turns out, my mother had underestimated the stress of having your entire family in your house and couldn't possibly forsee my father sneaking out for cigarettes mid-way through preparations, leaving a trail of turkey all the way down Hamony Road.  That night, Dominos made our Thanksgiving precious. 

There was also the year - one of my sabbaticals from  - where we decided to pretend it was Thanksgiving in the summertime so that I could be included in the annum's festivities too.  It seemed only fair, to me anyway.  I complained every year about missing out on that bird and it had been years since I'd had a proper turkey for supper and I wanted all the Jolicoeur family trimmings: the parmesean stuffed tomatoes, the carrot gratin, the mashed potatoes and peas, the stuffing, the rolls, the gravy.  The day after sandwiches with EVERYTHING on them.  Good God, I'm salivating just thinking about this.
The butcher warns me that I've probably got my dates mixed up.  American Thanksgiving, he announces is not on the 11th of October, it's the 25th of November. ¨" Merci Monsieur.  Je ne suis pas Américaine, en fait, je suis Canadienne."

I'm imagining what it will be like.  Already, there are some problems that come to mind.  I haven't got a proper oven, just this little microwave oven.  Second, I'm not sure anyone would be up for drinking milk with supper and frankly, I don't do wine and turkey, it's like a big ass sleeping pill if you ask me.  Third, there are so many ingredients for the supper I can't find here - cranberry sauce, for example.  Where the Hell do you find cranberry sauce in Paris?  And cheddar cheese!

I've heard a rumour that a store in the Marais has opened called The Thanksgiving Store.  Check out some of their specials:  Cranberry Sauce, Stove Top Stuffing, Turkey Gravy Mix, Dr. Pepper, Kraft Dinner!  I can't believe I've never been to this place!!!!

A few other questions arise, who do I invite?  My apartment is small and I can't have everybody?  I pick one person from each group of friends or just stick to one group?  I should try to make it like a real Canadian Thanksgiving and jam a bunch of people who don't want to be together in one room for supper.  That'd be like home.  Maybe I can stream a Jays game in the background and give everyone an excuse to not help with the dishes.

Truly, my favourite part of Thanksgiving is actually retreating back to my room after gorging myself with so much gravy that I can barely move and reflecting on the year, for those things I am thankful for.

This year, there has been a lot I'd like to forget, truthfully.  My grandfather's passing, Joanne's passing, Michael Paul's passing, mistakes, fights, spending, worrying, abusing, etc...but there is LOTS to be thankful for too.  Michael is moving in!  Zac is speaking French and English and doing caca on the potty!  Catherine's about to get married to Rich!  I'm back in Paris and things are relavtively under control. 

I've got so many ideas of how I'm going to create my own family traditions for Christmas, that I hadn't given Thanksgiving much thought.  Apart from the meal, how can I evolve this meal into a holiday that flies here in France.  I'm not entirely sure the pumpkin pie is going to be a hit either.

Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes with Pecans
Fresh peas or Green Beans
Carrot Gratin (with old English cheddar)
Apple Pie with Maple Syrup

-No dressing up.  No black dresses or high heels, no jewellry, no makeup.  Come as you are, family-style.  Stretchy pants are preferred.
-No cheese.  Please God, give us a break from the cheese.
-Everyone must participate in clean-up (too many years of watching all the matriarchs of the family clean up after men with one hand down their pants holding their beer belly while they sit open-mouthed watching baseball.
-No one speaks French.  English only! 
-Afternoon group sports game: baseball will be tough in Paris, how about American football§
-Everyone speaks about those things they are greatful for.
-Evening of Benevolence: each person has to arrive with one good deed idea that can be accomplished later in the evening.

I love it.  It's settled then.  October 10th.

Shit, I'd better get to the butcher to get that turkey ordered pronto, otherwise the same guy is bound to tell me we Americans don't eat our turkeys until November and I must be "a l'ouest".  I probably am.  I've invited 30+ people. 

Oh la la.  This is going to be interesting...

BISOUS et a bientot!

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