A couple of years ago I was in Paris for a stretch of time that included Thanksgiving. Friends–a Frenchman and a British woman (who has lived in France for longer than she has lived in England)–invited me to be their guest at a Thanksgiving dinner. The evening event was arranged by a long-time-living-in-Paris American woman who was known for her down-home American celebrations. She had secured the upstairs room at a bar/cafe affording enough space for three dozen or so guests. I don’t know what I expected but I do know I was a bit surprised that the attendees were less American and more French, with a few other countries of origin spattered about in the mix.
A fair number of the guests were English-speaking (although not necessarily their primary language) which helped my mingling with some of the attendees a little easier. The hostess tagged me to read the “Thanksgiving Proclamation” after she handed me a one page ‘cheat’ sheet. Here’s a little background on the Thanksgiving Proclamation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Thanksgiving_Proclamation
What ensued after my reading was an American celebration with a bit of a twist towards Parisian style.
The dinner, of course included several courses, ‘a la French style’ combined with a resemblance of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the United States. And, yes, the wine flowed–French or American–I would guess that would have happened, and in this case, it was French wine with no complaints from anyone.
There was music. There was a singer. And, then there was singing by the whole group. There was even some dancing. The ‘giving thanks’ spirit was heartfelt, whether coming from an American, French person, Canadian, or otherwise. So even though I was not with family and back in my native country, I couldn’t have asked for more.
I wish now that I had gone around the room asking non- Americans what drew them to this USA celebration? But whatever their reason, I can just say…IT WORKED!!
For me, they were all strangers, of course, with the exception of my friends and the woman who orchestrated the event. Yet, I walked away feeling enriched along with a bit of warm and fuzzy and, yes….a bit kinder that squeezed out more room in my heart for gratitude.
To finish off, I just came across this article in the New Yorker. I found it delightful and, I have to add that it gave me a pull on my heart strings for France. France does play a role in the recipes put forth since the article was written by an American man who lived in Lyon, with his family, for several years.
I don’t do elaborate cooking these days but I certainly know how to respect it and savor eating it or, even, simply enjoy reading about it. I have to say these recipes sent me into hunger mode! Happy Thanksgiving!
I subscribe to HIP Paris Blog and would highly recommend it: https://hipparis.com/category/parisian-living/
One of their latest posts is An American’s Guide to Thanksgiving in Paris. Towards the end of the post you will see a few suggestions for ordering an American Thanksgiving dinner and American pie if you find yourself in Paris at Thanksgiving time. Happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe!