Thanksgiving as an expat

When my husband, Will (known as Wim in Holland), and I lived in The Hague in the 90s, I wanted to show my Dutch friends what a Thanksgiving dinner was all about. So, we found a butcher who advertised “American Turkeys”. There was a sign that also said, “American Turkey Stuffing.” We ordered a turkey at $50 (probably much more today), and asked the butcher about the ‘stuffing’. “Oh, that’s just how American’s like the stuffing. It’e hamburger and fruit.” Huh? Well, that wasn’t how these two American’s wanted stuffing, so we went about gathering the ingredients for a bread stuffing, as we knew it. I tried to find celery in green grocer stores, and then in super markets. I found one scrawny string. Then I needed sage but could’t find that, so we went to the open air market.
“Do you have sage?” I asked a vendor who spoke little English but better Dutch. So Will asked for me in Dutch, but that was funny, because Will didn’t know the Dutch word, so he tried to explain it. I knew something triggered a laugh from both of them. The vendor replied, “No we don’t have little men in jars.” (Oh, an old Sage – get it?). “Well let me smell all of those jars you have behind you and I’ll pick it out.” So he opened one jar after another and I found sage. Turns out the gentleman was from the middle east and imported the spices and herbs from there. I had all of the ingredients I needed for the dinner, and now I needed something for an appetite enhancer and chose avocado dip. Avocado’s were hard to find then, as well. But I made dip and put crackers around it, but none of our guests touched it. Guess that was too adventurous for them. Pumpkin pie tasted like their famous cookie, speculaas. they all agreed. The turkey was exquisite and the dinner was a success.

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