Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Like Christmas, but better...

The first turkey of the day.

Last Thursday was 389 years since the first Thanksgiving celebration when the pilgrims sat down to their harvest supper. We weren't quite sure what to expect, but any holiday that revolves around food is all right by me. As we're currently in a downtown apartment, we thought we should get involved, and so got up bright and early to watch the parade along State Street to Macy's. It only went for about a mile, but was a plethora of marching bands, cheerleaders, enormous character balloons, and generally lots of people looking like they were having a great time, in spite of the cold.

Where are you Scooby Doo? Oh, there you are...no sign of Scrappy though.

After heading home for an hour or so to defrost, we headed off for our very first Thanksgiving lunch. Given the shoebox size of our current kitchen and its lack of equipment, I didn't fancy trying to create even a standard roast dinner, never mind the culinary masterpiece required by Thanksgiving, so we booked lunch at Lockwood, one of the restaurants in the nearby Palmer House Hilton Hotel. And I have to say it was really rather good. Lunch was served as a buffet, which gave us opportunity to try all of the holiday treats on offer, rather than glancing at the next table and wishing you'd ordered what they have (known as 'futterneid' in German - every language should have a word for food-envy).

We started off with butternut squash and apple soup with cinnamon creme fraiche - nothing special, but very nice all the same. The creme fraiche was a nice touch, but the pecans made it a little too sweet for my taste. This was swiftly followed by a trip back for salad, smoked salmon and huge prawns. Prawns were good, the smoked salmon was fairly pedestrian, but okay, and the hot smoked mackerel was lovely. The asparagus however was not. I should know better than to eat such things out of season, and having feasted on English asparagus for a few glorious weeks earlier this year, it was a real disappointment...

The soup was good...but the fish and salad didn't deserve a picture.

The main event was, unsurprisingly, turkey...and ham and fish and squash ravioli and squash purée with marshmallows and roast potatoes and rutabaga (turnips, but the American name is more fun) and cranberry sauce and stuffing and biscuits. And yes, all of those things did find their way onto my plate, all at the same time. Like I said, I didn't want to suffer futterneid. It was all very good, even if some of the sauces didn't exactly complement each other, but that's my own fault for being greedy.

Turkey with lots of trimmings.

Sadly there was no pumpkin pie for dessert, so I'll have to wait until next year to try that American staple, but the other miniature puddings were all pretty good. Again I had to try everything, and they were all very nice. I was tempted to save the sugar turkey off one of the little cakes, but once again my greed got the better of me.

We finished off the day with a walk in the park. I expected it to be deserted, but the ice rink was packed and there were plenty of people around walking off their festive lunch. All in all it strikes me as a pretty good holiday - good food with family and friends, without the commercial pressures of Christmas. And as an added bonus, there wasn't even any washing up to deal with this year.

Well, I guess that's it for big feasts until Christmas, but if you're in the UK this weekend you might want to start preparing with a trip to Ms Marmite Lovers Underground Christmas Market. I sold my wares at the first market earlier this year, and so have been following the preparations for the festive market with interest. It sounds like it's going to be a great day - you can see more details and how to get tickets here. Amongst other things there's going to be Christmas puddings, cookery demonstrations and an ironing board cocktail bar!


  1. Hey Ms Marmitelover, would love to be there selling again myself, but it's a bit of an expensive trip from Chicago. Planning a few US supperclub visits over the next few months - I'll let you know how they compare.