How to do Thanksgiving in Shanghai

How to do Thanksgiving in Shanghai

It’s not Thanksgiving in China until you bring the turkey legs you bought online to the butcher shop across the street, because they do not fit in the slow-cooker. It’s not really Thanksgiving until the lady in the butcher shop hacks each turkey leg in half with one swing of the cleaver and refuses the 10rmb you give her for saving Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful every year for being able to bring a bit of normalcy to my live in China by celebrating American holidays, even if a can of pumpkin puree costs $8 and a 4kg turkey will set you back almost $70. I’m thankful for friends who don’t mind squeezing around our tiny black dining table. I’m thankful for D humoring my silly ambitions to cook dinner for 11 people every year. I’m thankful for canned cranberry sauce that I bought off of Taobao. And most of all, I’m thankful that my ayi comes on Mondays to help deal with the dish-maggedon of the post-thanksgiving feast.


5 thoughts on “How to do Thanksgiving in Shanghai”

  • You did a marvelous job. The food looks lovely.
    I’m the opposite. I spent the day thankful I didn’t have to deal with making a turkey dinner here in Europe or even think about it.
    To each her own. I’m glad you pulled it off. I enjoy reading about your adventures.

    • Ahh thank you! Thanksgiving has always been my weakness here in Shanghai. I’m glad we don’t need to go through all of the holiday hoopla, but i have such a soft spot for bad thanksgiving food i never eat for the rest of the year – like stuffing or cranberry sauce.

      • I long for margaritas and good Mexican food. Not that we really had good Mexican food in New England, mind you. I miss lobster, too. And blueberries, oh my do I miss blueberries.

        • I would do so many things for a good lobster roll! one of those hot butter ones, not the mayo. man, new england fall is the best

          • Me too. But I’m very old fashioned. I normally hate mayo, but a true Maine lobster roll is made with mayo and nothing else. You might get away with a tiny bit of finely chopped celery. And it must be served on a Nissan’s hot dog roll, toasted. No fancy brioche, no hamburger roll. Mainers made theirs on hot dog rolls because that’s what they had on hand. When I was growing up tourists ate lobster in fancy restaurants. We ate lobster at home when a lobster man gave us one. I remember we had a five pounder one time, given to us by one of our mother’s gentleman callers from Portland. Happily, he drove a Nissan’s bread delivery truck so we were good to go with lobster rolls for the leftovers.

            She also had a gentleman caller who was a farmer. It wasn’t nearly as much fun plucking the chickens he brought us. But food is food and we were glad to have them.

            Maine is also the home of bright, screaming red hot dogs, served up with a bilious green condiment purporting to be relish–on the ubiquitous Nissan’s hot dog roll. It’s almost worth the hassle of moving 3,000 miles to know I won’t have to see them any more.

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