Yesterday, right on schedule, my local expat Facebook group became very focused on one thing: Where to buy last-minute critical ingredients for Thanksgiving.

Turkeys, canned pumpkin, and cranberries were a hot topic of discussion, since the Swiss don’t generally roast turkeys, use canned pumpkin, or have much use for cranberries. Switzerland’s has approximately 2 million foreigners living in her borders–approximately 25 percent of the population. My region is higher because of the pharmaceutical industry which is headquartered in Basel. I have no idea how many of those are Americans, but it seemed like every American was searching for canned pumpkin yesterday.

I, on the other hand, have done this for many years, so I ordered my canned pumpkin in October, and I don’t care for cranberry sauce. My turkey is being delivered today–also ordered in advance rather than risking the stores not having enough. Swiss ovens are small and one year I cooked a 20-pound turkey and it was within a centimeter of the top and sides of my oven. This year, I got a 10 pounder.

To keep reading, click here: An Expat Thanksgiving

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8 thoughts on “An Expat Thanksgiving

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Suzanne. Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving from New Jersey!

  2. The ironic thing is that canned pumpkin isn’t really pumpkin:

    Other sorts of squash have better flavor and texture than pumpkin, and the FDA allows canners to label the purée of these other gourds as “pumpkin”. So roasted, mashed winter squashes of various sorts are perfect substitutes for the unfindable canned pumpkin. And baked, mashed sweet potatoes are an excellent substitute as well!

  3. Great share of your Thanksgiving outside the US but your comments on how it’s just a regular day to the locals there points out a point for those of us here in US, which is the holiday celebrations and having that time off has become only available for those who are of a certain income level and specific jobs.
    Anyone else who works in what I call the service section no matter the position, Thanksgiving is merely another day of regular activities. (Despite desires to be off and celebrate). I know that you mentioned in other articles about offering time off on different days and other compensation but I do want to share this point—be nice to all workers with whom you may have contact with on holidays like this with both extra courtesy and thanks for their services. Not all of us get holidays off—so spread joy despite your rush.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Suzanne!

    RANDOM TRIVIA: Did you know that canned pumpkin isn’t really pumpkin? IT’S SQUASH! So we’ve been eating squash pie!
    Still delicious, though.

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Suzanne and family!

    As one of lived outside the US for many years; some American holidays take on extra special meaning.

    For myself, I never made or had the traditional US foodstuffs on Thanksgiving while in East Asia – but, the main course had to be a bird. And in that part of the world most folks do NOT have home ovens anyway, there would be no way for me to roast one. So, off to the Peking Duck restaurant for us!

  6. Re: Black Friday: I think it is worldwide….an expat friend in Morocco, a non-Christian country that doesn’t celebrateThanksgiving, posted Black Friday sales signs from Morroco!

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