Whether you’re planning for Thursday or are just looking ahead to the cosy meals for family and friends that winter brings, this time of year offers lots inspiration for celebratory cooking, with countless Thanksgiving recipes, meal plans and cooking guides mushrooming across the internet during November.
And it’s not just US publications that talk about the day – according to The Guardian, some 1 in 6 Britons celebrated the occasion last year, which while it seems a little exaggerated is possibly not a million miles off. Even here in Ireland there seems to be an increasing amount of localised Thanksgiving events taking place this year, with lots of little celebrations at international companies, certain restaurants and in the homes of American expats in Ireland.
While some of the American #gratitude stuff does get a little lost in translation (we’re a fairly taciturn bunch when it comes to those kind of expressions), the family-focused, non fussy, wintry celebration is definitely right up our street – so long as no-one actually mentions the word ‘thankful’.
And it is entirely possible to celebrate the occasion here in our own low-key, Irish way. I know because we always used to have a very sedate little feast at home for it every November when I was growing up; a not-quite-midweek meal that was cooked in deference to the year my mum spent in a small town in Tennessee when she was a teenager; to the people she met while she was there. There would be a small butter-basted turkey joint; our favourite garlic and herb pumpkin gratin; the funny little waxy roast potatoes she likes. While celebrating Thanksgiving was a little unusual in 1990s Dublin, I always liked the annual, symbolic break with the ordinary, and the toasted pumpkin seeds, that this one Thursday in November inevitably brought.
IDEAS FOR A THANKSGIVING THURSDAY
Nowadays, I’m beginning to think of it as a good time in the year for a little introspection too; for a quiet, grateful moment with friends and family before the frenzy of Christmas kicks in. So cook a muted but special dinner for the ones you love this Thursday, be they friends or family or both, and let the food you cook do the talking.
* Spice roasted rainbow carrots to dip into creamy burrata or herby yoghurt
* Richard Olney’s famously good pumpkin gratin
* Chicken roasted with onions or pears
* Burnt butter biscuit ice cream sandwiches