Being away from home for the first time come Thanskgiving, I started to think about all the food I would be missing out on. I(c) Nikolajs Strigins | Dreamstime.com then decided that I can’t not make a Thanksgiving dinner. I started my turkey hunt two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I first went to the British store (aka Stone Manor) in Everberg, which is such a lovely place to drive through on a Sunday.  The British don’t have Thanksgiving and therefore, they won’t have any turkeys until November in preparation for Christmas.

The next idea was to ask the butcher. They speak French so I was wondering how to ask for a turkey: “vous avez….uhh…..gobble gobble?”. I didn’t actually say that because luckily, a few of the guys working there speak English. The boss made a few calls. No turkey to be found. Apparently you have to look on the “black market” to find turkey in Belgium. Not literally, but that’s what it felt like. I asked a few other butchers and even checked the major grocery stores (called hypermarkets in Europe). No luck. They don’t even have turkey breast as cold cuts! (As far as I could find).

In the end I had to settle for a full chicken. I’m too afraid to cook duck and not like it. Ham in Belgium is out of the question (more on that another time). I will bake it in the oven of course. I will make garlic mashed potatoes, with a caesar salad and dinner buns. I was surprised that I found all the ingredients for a caesar salad, which I haven’t had since leaving Canada. I bought two big stalks of romaine lettuce, a bottle of original caesar dressing, some delicious looking croutons, parmesan and I even found “Canadian-style” bacon. Mom always puts bacon into the caesar salad for Thanksgiving.

I found some dinner rolls, which don’t look the same as home because they are long, but they have the same softness. For dessert, I got a cherry pie. Pumpkin pie was nowhere to be found and I didn’t even bother asking if the Stone Manor would be getting any in. But, I did get a pumpkin a few weeks ago. Firstly for decoration and then later I will cook the seeds and probably make a loaf. I made homemade pumpkin pies from scratch last year and it was the messiest job I’ve ever done. I made the mistake of buying one of the largest pumpkins I could find, when really a pumpkin pie only needs 2-3 cups of pumpkin. I think I ended up with about 40 cups of pumpkin. There is still some leftover in mom’s freezer.

It’s not the same this year without my family, mom’s cooking, the turkey, the football games on TV, and the nap after the dinner. But I made a feast anyway……and had a nap after.

Tomorrow: chicken bun-wiches.

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