icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Picturing a World

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkeys, a New World species, were introduced to Europe in the 16th C and quickly became associated with holiday celebrations, especially Christmas. When 19th C American students abroad wanted to celebrate their home country’s Thanksgiving holiday, therefore, the birds were available. The Hotel Baudy even provided a full American-style dinner (see Nina Lübbren, Rural artists’ colonies in Europe, 1879–1910 [2001), p. 169).

Admittedly, if one present-day blogger's experience was typical then, it might not have been so easy to obtain une dinde in November. Still, when I was a student at the American-run Vanderbilt-in-France, our director did arrange for one to grace a Thanksgiving dinner and added a very French touch by sending the menu to a friend in Paris for expert advice on the vintage to serve with each course.

Judging by recipes in Samuel Chamberlain’s Bouquet de France: An Epicurean Tour of the French Provinces (1952), moreover, turkey was not restricted to Christmas in France. The Hotel Domino in Périgueux, the Dordogne, featured turkey breast sûpremes stuffed with ground pork, foie gras and truffles. In Poitou, the author encountered a boned turkey too complicated in its stuffing to be believed nowadays (Julia Child would have loved it). In Brittany, he found a roast turkey stuffed with its liver chopped, sausage, raisins that had soaked in port for five or six hours, and prunes.

Wherever and at whatever level of sophistication you are celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving!
Be the first to comment