A Yank, a Brit, a Frenchwoman, a Serb and two tiny Aussies sat down at a table…
…and the Yank says to the others… “I’m so glad to be sharing this meal with you all. At home, we often go around the table and say something we’re thankful for.” And so, we all shared some words on how grateful we are for our families, friends, and to live in this beautiful country, before breaking bread together on a Thanksgiving day feast – familiar to some of us and a new adventure for others.
Since moving abroad, I’ve come to a new appreciation for the simple beauty of Thanksgiving. I love talking about the spirit of the day – fellowship and gratitude – and how it’s for everyone. It’s a day devoid of commercialism and full of heart.
I also love to share our traditional Thanksgiving foods because most of them are new to our friends not from America.
This year, I was a little cheeky and suggested to my mother’s group friend Rani, who recently became a Thermomix consultant, that we try out her magic machines on a Thanksgiving meal. Rani loves cooking in her Thermomixes (is that the plural, Rani? Thermomi?), and she’s always interested in trying out new dishes, so she said an enthusiastic yes, and we got to planning.
We did a bit of back and forth, and finally settled on a menu that included a couple of recipes from the Thermomix cookbooks, as well as some of my favorites that we adapted for the Thermomix style of cooking (not to mention a fair bit of conversions between ounces and grams and Fahrenheit to Celsius).
Our menu was:
We had a couple of “expat” moments in the shopping process. Last week, I got a message from Rani saying, “what is corn syrup?” Oh, right – for the pecan pie. Short answer – it’s a sticky, sweet thing that you can’t buy in the grocery store here. Hot tip I learned from an American I worked with a few years ago – Golden Syrup is an excellent substitute. You can’t even tell the difference in pecan pie.
Then, on Monday, neither of us could find turkey breast in the grocery store. I thought we might have to cheat with chicken breast, but that felt sacrilegious, so I made a desperate run to a local butcher, who thankfully had a couple on hand. “Is this for Thanksgiving,” he asked? “Everyone is coming to pick up their turkeys.”
All potential ingredient crises averted, we put our kids in the wading pool, under the watchful eye of the lovely French au pair, and got to work. Now, I don’t have any stake in Thermomix – I don’t even own one – but I thought I’d mention a couple of things I noticed about our Thermomix cooking. If you’re not familiar, and most of my American readers probably aren’t, these machines chop, blend, stir, knead, mix, steam, cook, and then get you a glass of wine to help you enjoy all of the time you’ve freed up (no, come on, get your own wine). The things that I found most helpful were the fact that you can do so much in one machine, saving you dirtying a lot of extra pots and pans, as well as a lot of moving from one bowl to another, and also that they contain their heat really well, so it’s a lot less warming up the kitchen, which is much appreciated in the middle of Sydney summer.
Take the sweet potato casserole, for example:
-Once steamed, we put them, along with the rest of the ingredients (butter, brown sugar, and pecans) into the bowl that the Varoma sits on to mash and mix. The machine weighs your ingredients (I know, right?), so as long as you know weights, you don’t have to dirty up any measuring cups. It also chopped the pecans.
-… and then pop it in the oven. So, it doesn’t take all the work away, but does save using and heating a pan and strainer for boiling and draining the potatoes, dirtying measuring cups, and mashing by hand.
Sweet potato casserole, by the way, is always the dish that never fails to surprise and impress our non-American friends – they always go in for seconds.
A couple more of our masterpieces –
Let me tell you about this one. Clearly, it’s a little non-traditional, but we weren’t going to cook a whole turkey for our small dinner, so we went with this roulade recipe from the Thermomix book. We stuffed it with a stuffing also from the Thermomix collection, a cranberry, bacon stuffing. Now, that’s not your grandma’s stuffing, I realize, but I thought – “cranberries? bacon?” What could be more American? I actually think this stuffing was my favorite of everything we cooked.
We were all pleased with our Thermomixgiving. We made a pretty good dent in the food, and everyone was in good spirits. Even Rani’s toddler daughter declared the meal “not yucky,” so that was a big win.
Today, I’m thankful for my little family, friends from around the world, and the tastes of home.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Let’s go around the table – what are you thankful for?
If you have a Thermomix or are Thermomix curious, Rani runs a closed Facebook group called Thermie Family where she shares recipes and tips from a real family kitchen nearly every day.