Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

I apologize for not updating the blog in a while, but as you can guess, I've been very busy!
But being that yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I'm in love with Thanksgiving food, I decided to attempt to cook some! Now this may seem like a scary thought to some- Heidi working in the kitchen all day with knives and hot surfaces- but I can assure you that very little harm was done.
I told my host family that I would make my favorite dishes, which included green bean casserole, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and of course the turkey! So I started out by emailing my grandma to get as many tips as possible on how to actually make this all! (I also spent many days researching recipes and watching a few YouTube videos.) The trickiest part of this whole ordeal, was not going to be actually making them, but finding all of the ingredients! Denmark doesn't believe in canned food, only fresh food, so I had to find substitutes for a lot of the recipes. Since they don't have canned pumpkin for the pie, I decided to go with butternut squash pie instead (it tastes basically the same). I figured it will probably all taste much more delicious being completely homemade from scratch, but it would also mean more work for me to do. So I asked a few of my friends from school if they wanted to help make an American Thanksgiving meal and then we could all eat together! They were completely thrilled, to say the least. So I wrote down the recipes for all of my dishes, and I showed it to Susanne, and we went shopping! We only had a few problems while shopping; we didn't know what nutmeg in Danish was, so we couldn't buy any, and we couldn't find a turkey... kind of an important part of Thanksgiving. We went to several different grocery stores before we finally found a full turkey, and there were only 3 of them. We took the biggest :) When we got home with all of our groceries, Søren knew what nutmeg in Danish was (muskat) and it turns out they had some at home, so we got lucky!
Wednesday night I made the pie and it smelled sooo delicious! I had to leave a little note out for Søren and Niels, reminding them that they were not allowed to eat it until Thursday night. The next day I came home from school around noon and began cooking. We only have one tiny oven, so I baked the casseroles first, and then put the turkey in the oven. This was the tricky part. We didn't have big enough roasting pan, or one with a lid really, so we ended up putting it in a cooking bag and then just setting it on the oven tray. I wasn't really sure if this would work out, (to be honest I wasn't sure if any of it would turn out..) but we didn't have any other option really. Then around 3 o'clock, Anne Katrine, Frederikke, and Cecilie came over to help me out, but at this point there wasn't much for us to do so we sat around and chatted (in Danish) and played guitar and sang Christmas songs! Tonight we have our school's birthday party, where all of the students, parents, and teachers come the the gymnasium and eat together, and then there's a dance party afterwards. Apparently this is as close to prom as it gets here, but only the 3rd graders (seniors) are supposed to dress up really nicely. Anyways, each class is suppose to decorate their table according to the theme, which was the four elements of life, and the four of us were in charge of candle holders. So we took some carrots, potatoes, and parsnip and cut out little holes to make the cutest candle holders ever! Then we got back to our Thanksgiving food, and we made the cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. This is where my casualty occurred. As I was peeling potatoes, I accidentally peeled off the tip of my finger... oops. Luckily, both my parents are vets so they have a lot of first aid-like items at home! So no worries, my finger is okay :) We finished making the rest of the dinner and then all seven of us sat down to table FULL of delicious looking food. I couldn't believe how well everything turned out! The turkey wasn't dry, the stuffing wasn't too soggy, and nothing was burnt. It was a miracle! I never would have guessed that I could make such a meal, but I guess Denmark has done me well! We prayed before eating, (something they had probably never done before) and then dug in! They loved it. They told me that they had never tasted anything like it before; they had had mashed potatoes before, but they usually just eat boiled potatoes, and they have turkey, but it's pretty rare to eat. I think the most different for them was the butternut squash pie. It has that smooth texture and they just found that to be the weirdest thing ever. We had some leftover pie, so Susanne said I should just bring it to school for everyone to taste. I brought it to lunch and shared it with 4 guys from my class (everyone else was setting up for the party) and they devoured it. Søren and his friends were a little upset I didn't save any for them, so I might be making another soon! I'm also making another corn casserole to bring to the school birthday party dinner tonight.
Overall, it was a very very successful Thanksgiving in Denmark!
I switch host families on Sunday, and I can't believe how fast 4 months has gone by! It's going to be a little weird switching, but I think it will be all be just fine! I'm very lucky to have such amazing host families :)
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that we have SNOW! I'm so excited, but the Danes are all very worried because they normally don't get snow until after Christmas, so this is very unusual. It's perfect winter weather weather for me right now, about 30 degrees Farenheit, but it's freezing cold for everyone else. I got to bike in the snow yesterday, and it's a bit difficult because sometimes your tires slide on the snow and slip on the ice, and today during our mid-class break, a few of us went outside and had a mini snowball fight.
You can check out pictures from Thanksgiving HERE!
All for now!


  1. Hi Heidi. Love your description of your Thanksgiving 'cooking/baking' day. And your pictures. Glad everything turned out so well. Was so good to talk with you on skype on Thursday night. Keep up the good work on your blog. I was wondering how you bike/or if you bike to school in the snow. Love you, Miss you but know you're having an amazing time there. Gram

  2. Hey Grandma!
    It was only thanks to your cooking book that everything turned out so well! But yes, we bike in the snow, and it's a bit difficult if they haven't put salt on the bike paths. And it's very cold- it's like driving a convertible with the top down in the winter! But it's fun, some of the time :)