Japanese Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration. To gather together friends and family, old and new. That is exactly what we did this year, thousands of miles away from our American families.

When Luke and I first got married I decided that I wanted to cook the Thanksgiving meal. Christmas was always spent traveling and I wanted to cook a meal for the whole family. This year was no exception. Being in Japan wasn't going to stop this girl from cooking a big traditional meal!

Thanksgiving, as you well know, falls on a Thursday and since the Japanese don't celebrate Thanksgiving (they have Monday off but don't actually do anything) we switched our dinner to Saturday night so that I could have some time to cook.

I spent most of the day like this, head down and cooking!

It took me a very long time to come up with the menu. I first thought of everything that I usually cook and then had to search the grocery store to be sure that I could find all of these ingredients! Quite a challenge.

The guest list was 9, more than I had cooked for before, but I was up to the challenge! Made my list, checked it...more than twice, and went shopping. When I was almost done with shopping I got a text from Luke saying that three of our guests would not be coming! Of course that didn't stop me from making food for 9! My friend Jo (the one taking me shopping) said that her family would eat lots! I was grateful.

My planned menu:
Deviled eggs
Luke's cozy stew
Thyme and lemon chicken legs(instead of turkey)
Amazing stuffing!
Cranberry sauce (if I could find cranberries!)
Green bean casserole
Chive mashed potatoes
Three-seed rolls
Cranberry Orange Cheesecake (of course I made a cheesecake!)

While shopping for ingredients, and a hand mixer, Luke finds a can of whole cranberry sauce in an import store! I am grateful!

The cheesecake I made with a chocolate crust. These Milenium cookies did the trick. They're like a Japanese Oreo (complete with Vanilla spelled Baunilha!) I find you can use any hard cookie to make the crust of a cheesecake!

Ok so I go a new hand mixer just for this occasion...but as I was mixing the cheesecake filling (first item of the day) the motor burnt out! I was very peeved. Here you can see me mixing by hand once again!

Then it was on to Deviled Eggs. I have never made these before, and I think after this adventure I will leave it up to someone else. Apparently very fresh eggs are hard to separate from the shell, so my mother told me as I was cursing at the eggs that morning. I got most of the out, gave up on some, but none were pretty!

While slaving over the eggs, my mother tells me I would be crazy to try and make the rolls from scratch, sans hand mixer, so I nix the rolls.

Chive mashed potatoes. Creamy and buttery. While washing the potatoes to put in the boiling water Luke looks at the mass of potatoes and we decide that I don't need to put in the whole 4 pounds. Yet when I got to the stage of adding the cream and butter I forgot that I didn't have 4 pounds of potatoes and added the full amount of cream and butter. They were VERY creamy potatoes, but loved just the same!

No pictures of the other menu items because I was too busy slaving, but I did manage to find corn meal at the import store to make the cornbread for the stuffing from scratch. In the time crunch the green beans were cut as well. As we were eating our chicken, I was describing what I usually do with the stuffing, that it was missing dried cranberries because they can't be found in Japan. Then I remember, the cranberry sauce! Crap. Luke says it's fine without it but I say, "We got this freaking cranberry sauce and we are going to eat it!" I quickly heat it up on the stove, add some cinnamon and we are in business!

All in all, it was a success.

The whole gang, with stuffed bellies! My friend Jo to my right and her daughter and son, and Mitch (another JET) to Luke's left.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful story. I loved hearing it again!

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


That was WONDERFUL reading!! Sounds like it was quite a chore but you toughed it out. Good trooper! Determination will get you a long way sometimes. I had no idea deviled eggs were so hard to make and I love them so. Guess I should appreciate the effort it takes to make them more. Hope you could get your money back for the handmixer????

Love you!!!!!!!!!

Dad W

Post a Comment

Like what you see, or want to know more about something that was mentioned? Just want to say hello? Leave a comment!