One Thanksgiving just isn’t enough

26 Nov
In the U.S., our Thanksgivings were usually over-the-top: 13 people in our tiny condo for a 5-course meal, for example. This is definitely the holiday I miss most living abroad and replacing our U.S. traditions just doesn’t fit. So we do Thanksgiving differently. One year it was a non-traditional hike. The next we cooked dinner for 11 Italians at our friends’ house. Last year we fed ourselves on American nostalgia by touring the Norman Rockwell exhibit that was here. This year, we celebrated twice, because once is not enough.
A week prior to T-Day, the American Women’s Association of Rome held their annual Thanksgiving dinner and we joined about 110 ex-pats and Italians for an Italian-ized dinner at the ever-so-elegant Hotel Hassler. If you want a room there tomorrow night you would pay €330.00 non-refundable for the smallest room. For only an extra €100.00, you do not have to pre-pay and get breakfast too. Such a bargain. Personally I’d prefer a 3-night stay in a cute B&B in Venezia.
Elegant tablesetting at the Hassler.

Elegant table setting at the Hassler.

Cin Cin!

Cin Cin!

The AWAR dinner was beautifully prepared and served with prosecco and wine flowing freely. So freely I had to put my hand over my glass a couple of times to prevent the constant topping-off.  As I said, the menu was Italianized. Of course, there was a pasta, in this case perhaps the most delightful lasagna I’ve ever eaten, made with pumpkin and porcini. It was my intention to NOT complete each course, to pace myself and not overdo it. I managed to do so with the soup, but the lasagna demanded to be eaten. If there had not been 10 other people at the table, I might have finished off Ric’s too. (Note bene: all of the Italians finished their pasta. I was just trying to blend in.) While on the menu it looks like we had five side dishes (Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, corn, apple/soy cabbage, and chestnut with baby onions), in actuality only the sweet potatoes were a portion; the other four were a melange, more of a garnish than a vegetable dish.
OMG to-die-for lasagn of pumpkin, mushrooms and almonds.

OMG to-die-for lasagna of pumpkin, mushrooms and almonds.

Italian take on a Thanksgiving dinner.

Italian take on a Thanksgiving dinner.

The little garnsih including the Burssles sprout and corn at 12:00 on the plate comprised of 4 individual items on the menu. More of a garnish,actually.

The little garnish including the Brussels sprouts and corn at 12:00 on the plate comprised of 4 individual items on the menu.

The dessert buffet was insane and totally Italian. I managed — only being polite — to down a wedge of something intensely chocolate. We finished the evening with a visit to the rooftop for a moonlit view over Roma. Fabulous.
Our “second Thanksgiving” is barely underway but is decidedly low-key. Setting up the house for Christmas, watching a movie or two (last night, the annual viewing of Planes, Trains and Automobiles), and later dinner with friends at a favorite trattoria. 
May those of you who celebrate this great American holiday have a truly blessed day. We look forward to hosting one of our classic dinners when we return to Portland. 
Dessert buffet: no pumpkin pie in sight.

Dessert buffet: no pumpkin pie in sight.

Roma by moonlight from the hassler, above the Spanish Steps.

Roma by moonlight from the Hassler, above the Spanish Steps.


9 Responses to “One Thanksgiving just isn’t enough”

  1. Priscilla November 30, 2015 at 02:47 #

    Hi Laurel,
    It looks & sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    I’m enjoying reading your blog, thank you!


  2. ckleonard November 28, 2015 at 02:11 #

    A little late, Happy Thanksgiving. To me, it looks like you a wonderful twice Thanksgiving. Turkeys will still be here when you return. I enjoyed the day at Paula and Linda’s with five other guests. Yes, our meal was traditional and delicious!

    I love the cranberry story. I found the same response when I took it (homemade) to dinner at friends who are from New Zealand. Personally I was shocked! But then, it left so much more for me!

    Love ya, Carolyn


    • gooddayrome November 28, 2015 at 06:31 #

      Dear Carolyn, It is always so nice to see your comments! Our second Thanksgiving involved lasagna and baked cod with a side of chicory, followed by gelato. Non-traditional, but we did have turkey on our salad at lunchtime. 🙂 Glad you were able to pass the day in the company of good friends, as we did! Love you too!


  3. Chloe Erkenbrecher November 27, 2015 at 20:00 #

    Lovely photos. I remember a Thanksgiving in Rome that was delightful. I’m not sure how my friends were able to get all of the ingredients, but they did. I took cranberry sauce to a Christmas party in France once and you would have thought that I had poisoned everyone. They really hated it, but then, so does my Italian son-in-law.


    • gooddayrome November 27, 2015 at 22:00 #

      We can indeed get the ingredients, but they can be costly! I saw a turkey today at the macelleria that was bigger than any I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how one would get it into an Italian oven since most of the ovens are the size of a microwave!

      Love the cranberry story! But so many things we grow up with are unappealing to those from another culture. My Italian friends do not understand our love affair with peanut butter.


  4. Nigel November 26, 2015 at 17:26 #

    Happy Thanksgiving, Laurel and Ric. See you in London.
    Was that photo of the dessert buffet before or after you got to it?

    We are so looking forward to face to face information…..


    • gooddayrome November 26, 2015 at 17:29 #

      Thanks Nige! It was a before picture. 🙂 Seriously, I only had one. Seriously. See you in 1 month!!!


  5. Maarja November 26, 2015 at 16:12 #

    Happy Thanksgiving Laurel and Ric. See you in Paris.


    • gooddayrome November 26, 2015 at 17:07 #

      Grazie Maarja! To you and JC as well! Cannot wait for Paris!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: