DateBritishGuys.com asked Kimberly Cole, author of to talk about her experiences celebrating Thanksgiving with her British husband, Jon. Kim is from Colorado and Jon is from Cambridge. Kim has been living in the picturesque city of Cambridge, England for eight years and writes tips for Americans so that they may share her love of all things British!
Thanksgiving in my household is a very interesting times as I am not sure that the British will ever fully get it, no matter how many episodes of Friends they watch (they will always remember the one where Joey gets his head stuck in the turkey). Trying to explain Thanksgiving to them invariably boils down to “it’s like Christmas but without the presents”, which often leaves the American partner a bit deflated! The best I have found to show my in-laws what Thanksgiving is all about is to show them:
Doing Thanksgiving over here has made me and my husband realise how big Americans really like to go with our respective holidays. This includes me getting a strange look from the local butcher when I requested a 25 lb turkey (as per my mother’s advice) and then trying to get it into my tiny oven. The first year, I think only one side of the turkey was fully cooked! My husband and I go through the same tradition of me calling him from the store, “what do you call X?” or “where will I find Y?” because half the battle is knowing where and what you are looking for because everything in not where it would be back home. It was always really hard for me to find French fried onions but was able to find dried onions at the local Halal shop around the corner!
We have a meal with my in laws, my husband’s mother and father and twin sisters. The first time I did this, I followed my mom’s recipe and advice to the T. So I went down to the local butcher and ordered a 25 lb turkey, you should have seen the look on the butcher’s face! This year I will be getting a 12 lb turkey which is about the average size that most British get for their Christmas (that way it will it fit in my tiny oven!) I make everything from scratch for two reasons; one it is really hard to find the American brands here but it is becoming increasingly easier to procure the ones you grew up with. Two, I am allergic to cow’s milk and soya so all the tasty American sides are often off limits to me - including the Pillsbury Crescents that I love so much! Making them from scratch take ages and a lot of butter substitute!
Now we get a 10-12 lb which means we are not left eating it for the rest of the year. It’s a meal we cook together, more for him as damage control as I am a messy cook but he is a massive help. The only dish that he is not fond of (but I still make!) is candied yams (sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows).
My husband’s family think that Thanksgiving is like Christmas but without presents and all the stress, which they love! My husband likes to say that we are just greedy and have two Christmases in his very joking voice. The in laws like it because, “it’s like Christmas without the stress or gifts.” I like to think that it is a better of bringing more understand between my husband and I and our two cultures. It’s a chance of me to have a little bit of home and my husband knows how important it is for me.
Kimberly Cole is the author of American to Britain; a blog about her journey of living in England. She writes about things to do, cultural differences, history and everything else!
American to Britain