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Americans can be passionate about their Thanksgiving traditions. For some, there can be no deviation from “the way we’ve always done it.” That might mean only using the good china and silver (which has to be washed by hand) and the turkey platter emblazoned with the image of fat turkey or making Grandma’s traditional sausage-and-herb stuffing recipe exactly the way she would do it and having an afternoon game of touch football at the park across the street.

For others, it’s a time to experiment and try new recipes, perhaps serving a barbecued turkey instead of a roasted one, or switching up the stuffing and serving anything from a fruitier cranberry-and-walnut stuffing to a hearty chorizo-and-corn-bread stuffing. Recipes for mashed potatoes abound; with recipes that use butter or sour cream or garlic or cream cheese or bacon, there’s something for every palate.

American expats overseas have their own set of challenges in preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, fresh rolls and, of course, pumpkin pie.

If you’re an expat, invite your new friends over to celebrate your tradition. But be prepared: British ovens, for example, usually aren’t large enough for an American-size turkey. Refrigerators are on the smaller side, too. And good luck even finding whole turkeys in some countries. Looking for Libby’s pumpkin pie filling? It won’t be as easy as popping into your local grocery store. At first, your guests might find it odd to see marshmallows topping your sweet potatoes but after one bite of that delicious, brown-sugary goodness, they’ll be sold. For dessert, traditional pumpkin pie with some whipped topping (assuming you’ve managed to get a can of filling) will have your guests giving thanks for the entire delicious meal. 

Of course, a traditional American Thanksgiving requires that you make at least twice as much of everything than you’ll actually consume on turkey day. You’ll just have to introduce your guests to another American tradition: Thanksgiving Day leftovers! 

Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich

For a basic sandwich, use leftover turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce and your choice of bread, toasted or not. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Yum! 

Cooked turkey on the dinner table

About the author

Rose Eliff

Rose is an experienced cross-media marketer with a passion for digital marketing and storytelling. She joined Crown Relocations in 2012 and tackles projects from the Huntington Beach office.

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