my American friend podcast episode 50: Cindy and her friend Christine talking about the traditional THANKSGIVING day menu.
Marta: This episode is about THANKSGIVING.
Marta: Hey everybody, I’m so sorry but I have a cold! So, I have no voice- at all today. I think I’d better leave you with Cindy this time, right?
Cindy: Hey everyone! I’m here today with my friend Christine who’s an American artist living & working in Bologna, Italy. Hey Christine, thanks for being with us here today to talk about THANKSGIVING.
Christine: Hi Cindy, thanks for having me.
Cindy: Christine, what is THANKSGIVING?
Christine: American Thanksgiving, it’s a national holiday celebrated in November to commemorate the arrival of the Pilgrims to North America. They celebrated, with the Native Americans, the harvest.
Cindy: And when did it become a national holiday?
Christine: It first became a national holiday under Abraham Lincoln.
Cindy: Ok, let’s get to the good stuff- what was on that first menu?
Christine: That first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth Colony, which is now Massachusetts, and they had wild turkey, venison…
Cindy: …now, ‘’venison’’ is deer?
Christine: deer, yes….Indian corn, fowl…
Cindy: …and by ‘’fowl’’ you mean wild birds?
Christine: Wild birds.
Cindy: So, a pretty simple menu?
Christine: Yes, what they had at the time.
Cindy: Does any of that remain today, on the American menu?
Christine: Well, the most important part of the menu remains the turkey. So today we have the turkey and then the side dishes which are sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy and for dessert: pumpkin pie.
Cindy: Alright, let’s explain ‘’stuffing’’ a little bit better. What is stuffing?
Christine: Stuffing, it’s seasoned, cubed bread and some people put it in the turkey, others leave it on the side.
Cindy: Is it mixed with any vegetables?
Christine: Yes, carrots, onions, celery.
Cindy: And I know in some parts of America they even put oysters into the stuffing.
Christine: Yes, let’s say depending on your family the recipe changes from family to family.
Cindy: Now, I know that Thanksgiving is very important to you and your family. How did you celebrate Thanksgiving when you were growing up?
Christine: It was very important, and it still is, to my family. But I would say that all Americans celebrate and that’s what makes it important because it’s not religious, it’s centered around food and being thankful. It has a set menu and whether you’re with family or friends- everyone celebrates.
Cindy: It’s not religious. It’s not a religious holiday.
Cindy: I’ve spent a lot of beautiful Thanksgivings with my neighbors and friends. Now, how will you be celebrating Thanksgiving here in Italy this year?
Christine: This year, I’m going to have Thanksgiving dinner with Italian friends. So now I’m trying to gather all the authentic ingredients so I can make the meal.
Cindy: Is it easy? Have you been able to find everything you need?
Christine: Well, in fact, the turkey is a problem because they’re quite large birds and I’m afraid it might not fit in the Italian ovens.
Cindy: You may have to cut it up! (laughs)
Christine: I think so! (laughs)
Cindy: (laughs) That’s good. And what other things will you have besides the turkey?
Christine: Sweet potatoes, I’ve found sweet potatoes. I’m looking now for cranberry sauce but I think I might have to use a substitute.
Cindy: There are some good substitutes out there. And what else? Are…will you have stuffing?
Christine: I’ll have stuffing. That’s easy to make. Also, pumpkin pie. I can find pumpkins here and I’ll roast it and make my own pie.
Cindy: Yum! Will you invite me? (laughs)
Christine: (laughs) Sure! Everyone’s invited, it’s Thanksgiving!
Cindy: Happy Thanksgiving, Christine.
Christine: Thank you, Happy Thanksgiving to you too.
Cindy: Thanks for being with us here today.
Cindy: Ok listeners, that’s all for now. You can read the transcript of this episode on our website: www.myamericanfriendblog.com. Thanks for liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, watching our videos on YouTube and listening to our podcast on iTunes and Podomatic.
Marta: Thank you everybody and Happy Thanksgiving!
Cindy: Bye bye!
You can visit our special guest, American artist Christine Boya, on her website at: www.tinyartpress.com. Christine is an accomplished artist living & working in Bologna, Italy. On her site you can read her bio and view her extensive collection of lovely handmade prints and greeting cards.
Thanksgiving- American holiday celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November. The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621 when the Pilgrims, together with Native Americans, celebrated their first harvest in the New World. Modern day Thanksgiving celebrations are centered on family, friends, food and being grateful for what you have in life. A non-religious holiday, everyone celebrates Thanksgiving regardless of religious affiliation.
A traditional Thanksgiving Day menu includes:
Roast Turkey: traditionally, turkeys are roasted in the oven but in some parts of America turkeys are marinated and deep fried in hot oil. Deep frying the bird reduces cooking time and produces moist, succulent meat.
Stuffing (also called ‘’Dressing): cubed, seasoned bread mixed with various ingredients and cooked either inside the bird or in a separate dish. Common ingredients added to Stuffing are carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, broth and butter. Recipes differ from family to family.
Sweet Potatoes: nutritious, sweet orange-fleshed potatoes served boiled, roasted, fried or baked whole.
White Potatoes: white fleshed potatoes served mashed with butter, roasted or baked whole.
Green Beans or String Beans: long, thin green beans served in their pods. The entire bean and pod is edible.
Gravy: a thickened sauce made from vegetables and pan juices left over from roasting the turkey. A bit of flour & butter are usually added to thicken the sauce.
Cranberry Sauce: a sweet & tart relish or jelly made from cooked cranberries & sugar
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