Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving, as if you were French...

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Many Americans were fed well enough to build reserves that will last until Christmas (or at least until next week...) 

Relatives and friends have left, leaving behind memories of animated conversations; improvised football games; fights over the the turkey neck or the last scoop of that ultimate delicacy, the sweet potato gratin with marshmallows... There was laughter; there were arguments, and narrowly avoided disasters.

Then came black Friday, (or is it Black Thursday?) Lines formed early outside retail stores. Arguments broke out, as unruly crowds pushed and shoved to get their hands on the elusive "deal. " One Walmart employee died, trampled by anonymous bargain hunters. Life - and the big Thanksgiving weekend show - went on. 

Thanksgiving. You've got to love it. 

As always, my family has been fortunate enough to receive several generous invitations to partake in the festivities. The 2013 vintage did not disappoint: The food was superb and plentiful; Junior and I made new friends. A grand time was had by all.

As I was capturing some of the evening's highlights, I tried to imagine how my French relatives would describe what happened that evening... in their own words, en français

Don't panic. You speak French too. You don't believe me? Keep reading... and see how proficient you are. I bet you'll be surprised.

Thanksgiving (le Jour d'Action de Grâce,) par French Girl in Seattle.

D'abord, il y a un bar bien fourni (a well stocked bar,) 

Les boissons

Ensuite, une belle table, festive...

C'est ma place!

Sur la table, il y a des objets colorés et décoratifs...

Des citrouilles...

Monsieur et Madame les Pèlerins

Mais la pièce de résistance, c'est la dinde... 

La dinde est prête!

Le derrière de la dinde...

Pour préparer une dinde parfaite, il faut une excellente recette...

Très important!

La dinde est énorme, 22 livres (10 kilos.) Il faut la préparer. C'est une mission importante, pour le chef de famille...

Il découpe la dinde...

Quel morceau (piece) préférez-vous?

La cuisse?
Le blanc?

Avec la dinde, on prépare aussi...

La farce
La sauce aux airelles 
La sauce, préparée avec le jus de la dinde

En garniture (on the side,) il y a une sélection de plats (dishes) délicieux...

les haricots verts
La purée de pommes de terre
Les invités sont très heureux...

Bon appétit, les enfants!
Une assiette ( a plate) bien garnie!

Bien sûr, il y a des desserts...

Au revoir, la tarte à la citrouille! 
Au revoir, la tarte aux noix de pecan!

A la fin, on boit du café... mais je préfère un autre verre (glass) de rosé...

Quel festin! 

 Merci, Madame la Dinde...

Merci, les amis...

So, what did you think? Didn't I tell you, you could speak French, too? 

Well done. 

And look here. Can you believe it? Today is December 1, already. We will be celebrating again in just a few weeks...

Bonjour, Décembre. 

A bientôt.

All photos by French Girl in Seattle
Do not use, reprint, or Pin without permission.


  1. Je fais des decos de table pour toutes mes fêtes , alors ces petits personnages, cette petite dinde en terre cuite et autres , ça me parle! même si c'est de loin, car ici, bien sur, Thanksgiving.. Je pense que ça doit etre une tres jolie fête, j'aime bien son principe. Et cette dinde a l'air sublimement deliceuse! (Là, c'est la gourmande qui parle..)
    Je suis contente de voir que tu as eu une si jolie celebration, et merci de l'avoir partagée avec nous!
    Gros bisous et à bientôt!

    1. Ah oui, tu aimerais bien, toi, toutes ces jolies décorations... Les Américains en raffolent. Si tu passes un jour par chez nous, je te ferai visiter une ou deux boutiques sympas où tu trouveras ton bonheur...

      Nous nous sommes bien régalés, c'est vrai. J'ai la chance d'être très bien entourée, et les invitations n'ont pas manqué. Bisous, Marie.

  2. Love it!!...We did the same over here in France...So interesting to know that most Thanksgivings are prepared the same way....Yes, and a "kids" table too!! It is definitely a unique meal to most small portions. I loved here though that one of my French friends designed a beautiful plate of food all nicely placed surrounding the cranberry sauce which was in the middle. The other question I receive most from French people - is "Do you exchange gifts on Thanksgiving?". When I explain that we just celebrating gratitude together and giving thanks for all that we have in our lives. Most people find that a lovely thought. Glad to see you enjoyed yourself. So fun to compare holidays. Happy December!!

    1. "No small portions..." -- Ha! Good one, Jenn :-)

      I am not surprised the French totally "dig" Thanksgiving: They know all about enjoying good food, good conversation, and good company... but sometimes lack the "grateful" aspect. My countrymen, as you know, love to "twitch." Des râleurs. And I like them, just as they are :-)

  3. Quelle histoire ! C'est magnifique ! Bravo !

    1. Merci Stuart. Félicitations pour votre français! :-)

      Hope life is good in Amboise...

  4. Exactly what we had..except we always have sweet potatoes too. I even made the same green beans(Le haricot verts) with the shallots and red peppers. I never venture out on Black Friday though. I would rather pay more than go through that! Cute post......and free French lesson!

    1. Bonjour Janey. Glad to have you back.

      Pay more? Why? All you have to do is boycott Black Friday... and wait for Cyber Monday. And nobody gets hurt. See? Problem solved! :-)

  5. Hello Veronique
    Looks like a beautiful day with great friends. I love the children's table, I would have wanted to join them, as I did at Thanksgiving this year.

    All looked delicious and thank you for the French lesson.

    Have a great week Helen xx

    1. Bonjour Helen. You're welcome. So you are bilingual, too, then? :-)

  6. WELL WHAT DID I THINK.....BRAVO- what a feast you had and I do not just mean the seemed to be in the arms of loved ones and every detail was seen to-the sign of a G-R-E-A-T hostess-oh and the "kids" table how I laughed-we had one every year-I am glad this year of all years you were with good friends- good food-great beverages and a good festive atmosphere, with your beloved son-THANKS for sharing your day--- you were in my thoughts... as always your friend g

    1. Merci ma chère g. from Philadelphia. Your support and kind words are, as always, much appreciated.

      Junior and I are fortunate indeed to have such faithful and caring friends. Big hugs to you from sunny, but cold Seattle (that's right, I did type "sunny," but don't repeat it! :-) )

  7. Your "Frenchgiving" looks delicious! I didn't think it was possible to be hungry again, but your pictures have my mouth watering. Glad you had a fun-filled holiday. Happy December! XO

    1. "Frenchgiving." I like that. :-) The party was très international. I counted several Americans; a Korean; an Indian; a French Girl (you will know who that was...) and a Russian. Fun. Joyeux décembre à toi aussi, Jeanne.

  8. Adorable. Just love this so much. Years ago I had Thanksgiving in France! Our oven was too small for the turkey so we gave it to the neighbor to cook in his big oven. Being a generous Frenchman he dumped an entire bottle of red wine over the bird while it was roasting. We had beautiful PURPLE gravy! Bon appetit!

    1. Merci beaucoup Connie. Ha! Ha! Ha! Great story. Purple gravy sounds wonderful to me. Ours did scare us for a few minutes and refused to "come together," but with the help of some flour, we soon claimed victory. Phew. A bientôt.

  9. Quel festin!! And the colorful decorations & the happy people seemed like a big part of it!! Coming from a European family, we did it modestly.. Still, in my life it's a quiet time, candles, maybe turkey, & yes, some thoughts & expressions of gratitude...I wonder if Black Friday will turn into Black November in the future & Americans will be so busy shopping they'll have time for nothing else!
    Merci d'avoir écrit en français et d'avoir partagé cette fête!

    1. Pas de problème, et merci de ce commentaire plein de bon sens... A bientôt.

  10. Yay! I read it. What a wonderful Thanksgiving. All cooked to perfection . Yet in the UK it was just as if nothing ever happened. Sigh.
    Next year we will storm Piccadilly and the Bastille. Viva la Dinde!

    1. Bravo Kate. I always knew you were bilingual :-)

      Vive la dinde indeed. Surely, you can find some English dindes in your corner of Cornwall next year... :-)

  11. Dearest Véronique,
    We ALL are so far better off than 'Les Pèlerins' that celebrated their 1st Thanksgiving in 1621... that is, the 50 that survived from the original 102. They sure had lots to show Gratitude for!
    We too had plenty of food and received each a plate to take home from our best Friends that hosted the dinner.
    Your table looked very elegant as the French touch did shine through!

    1. Bonjour Mariette. Thank you for that wonderful post. You always teach me something new.

      The table did look pretty, but it was not mine. My friend Kim did a great job! She and her husband are very hospitable hosts.

      A bientôt!

  12. Oh, that looked so good. No thanksgiving dinner here in Versailles - just pumpkin pie which my spouse loves. I keep telling myself that one of these years I will hop on a plane and spend Thanksgiving in Seattle. Until that day I will enjoy it vicariously through you, Veronique.

    1. Well, through my friends, actually. I have never been brave enough to cook the actual turkey. Too much pressure! :-) You know you could find excellent "dindes" in the Paris area if you looked. Your local "boucher" would be happy to locate one for you, I bet. A bientôt, Victoria!

  13. Pour moi, la cuisse ... et la tarte à la citrouille - pour une première fois ... que je ne connais pas.

    1. Excellent choix, Peter. La tarte à la citrouille, si tu veux une idée, trempe un doigt dans un petit pot pour bébé Gerber… La consistance est à peu près la même :-)

  14. Quelle belle table avec toutes ces jolies décorations! Cette dinde est vraiment énorme! Miam miam, moi je préfère le blanc et quant à la tarte à la citrouille, je ne l'ai jamais goûtée! Elle est mignonne cette recette pour préparer une dinde parfaite! On voit bien que vous vous êtes bien régalés!

  15. You are so right Veronique, I understood every word (almost) I DO speak French so much better than I thought I did, merci beaucoup! Sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, lots of lovely food.. but most of all very good company.


Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle