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An American Thanksgiving in the UK

I decided to make Thanksgiving dinner today. Originally, Tim’s mum was supposed to come over, as today is her birthday, but Tim’s dad has been in and out of the hospital and needed to go in again today, so I was just cooking for Tim. And boy, did I cook A LOT. He’ll be eating this stuff for weeks!

This wasn’t the first time I was away from home for Thanksgiving Thursday, but it was the first time I’d be away from home for Family Thanksgiving. My family celebrates the holiday on the Sunday after and we try to get as many people of the family together as possible, so on the Thursday I’ve sometimes gone to a boyfriend’s family dinner instead of spending the day with my mom and aunt. This was, however, the first time I’ve ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner on my own…or really, ANY of the dinner other than the vegetable!

I used an assortment of sites/people for help – some of my friends gave me great advice, my mom gave me her stuffing recipe, and I used google to find recipes (that I wound up adjusting/tweaking!) for today. Obviously, the centerpiece of today’s meal was turkey. At first, I wasn’t sure we’d find one in Tesco…we were in the “fresh” meat section and hadn’t seen any turkey and I had finally let Tim pick up a whole chicken when we found Turkey crowns (breasts) in the frozen section.

I did most of the cooking yesterday. Tim doesn’t have the type of oven/stove you expect to see in a US kitchen. He has a counter-top oven that has two burners on top..and, you can only use one burner while the oven is on! I knew it would be a challenge, but I was prepared and with making notes and a schedule I had it all figured out. Good thing we now have things like microwaves so I was able to make a lot of things last night and reheated them today!

The oven was, obviously, being taken up by the turkey, and while the turkey was cooling I cooked the pan(s) of stuffing – that I had put together the night before.

I wanted mashed potatoes (though Tim says mine are what he’d call “creamed potatoes”), and since I knew that would take up a burner for a long time, I decided to hunt out a way to do them in the crock pot. Surprisingly, I found a very simple recipe and started the potatoes before we went to bed, so in the morning I was able to mash them and leave the crock pot set to warm.

I started to combine a few Thanksgiving traditions from my family and I made sweet potatoes (usually made by my Aunt Beatie for Sunday dinner) and glazed carrots (usually made by my Aunt Janie for Saturday night dinner). The carrots were made on Wednesday, and put into the microwave for heating.

The other vegetable I chose to make was brussel sprouts, because I found a recipe online for Golden Encrusted Brussel Sprouts, and Tim and I both thought that sounded good.

Rounding out the plate we had gravy, which I wimped out on and made from granulates, jarred (not canned!) cranberry sauce, and cranberry orange muffins.

For dessert, I wanted to make pumpkin pie…but I couldn’t find a pumpkin, so we bought a butternut squash instead and I followed just the filling recipe from this website. The recipe said the pecan/graham layer was optional, but I think it would have been better with it because the pie needed to be a lot sweeter. If I follow that recipe again, I’ll either add more cinnamon and sugar, or I’ll add the optional layer. For a crust, Tim found me pre-made puff pastry sheets and for a pie plate, he bought a shallow cake tin, so I dubbed it “Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie”. We also had a pre-made apple pie made by a company called (mom, you’ll love this) Aunt Bessie’s. The apple pie turned out to be crap though, as despite it being in the oven for the full 50 minutes and the top browned on it….the bottom never cooked and when we dished it out it was stringy dough! Sadly, the apple pie was to be the back-up if the pumpkin pie didn’t turn out well, so we wound up not having dessert.

Tim’s gone off to work (2-10 shift today), and at some point I need to put away our leftovers!



for a vegetarian who has never cooked a turkey before on her own, looks pretty good!


The Deep Dish failure


Ready to eat!


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