It’s such fun being here in the USA right before Thanksgiving. It’s by far the biggest holiday in the American calendar and everyone is excited about the prospect of going home or connecting up with family and friends.
Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday of November and schools and universities have the following week off, so people tend to make a real holiday of it, with more than twice the amount of travel as Christmas.
The shops are filled with holiday offerings and there are menus everywhere offering up versions of the traditional roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie feasts that have brought America together for hundreds of years.
While Thanksgiving is very much an American tradition, inherited from the early pilgrims to give thanks for the food harvested at the end of the growing season, it’s an idea we can all learn a lot from. It’s so easy to just let the days roll by and not pause to celebrate how amazing nature is and how much we have to be grateful for.
My mother always said that everything you eat or might want to eat starts out as a seed or a spore, and will take weeks or months or sometimes even years before it’s ready to harvest. So when we cook, even when it’s something very simple, we are honouring nature, and when we share this fare together at the table, it’s a moment of celebration.
So no matter where you live, or whatever the season, Thanksgiving is a wonderful excuse to bring family and friends together around the table, to share the harvests of the season, laugh a little and think about everything we have to be thankful for.
If you are cooking up a Thanksgiving feast, my secret for deliciously tender turkey is to brine it first – find the recipe for my succulent Roast Turkey with Cider Gravy here. It’s especially fabulous when stuffed with Bacon, Herb and Hazelnut Stuffing or Apricot and Pine Nut Stuffing and served with Cranberry and Pear Relish on the side. If you’re not cooking for a crowd and don’t feel like cooking a whole turkey try my Baked Chicken with Cranberry Glaze or, for a lighter option with an equally festive feel, make my Chicken Salad with Cranberry Dressing.
The bird is the main event but you’ll need some sides to go with it. My Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Kale and Cranberry Toss, Maple Roasted Vegetables, Roast Pumpkin with Vincotto, Perfect Mash or Potato Gratin with Gruyère and Garlic will all do the trick.