This post should be very short. As little as the Germans have of Halloween, they have less of Thanksgiving. No turkeys overflow from the grocery refrigerators. Gourds have no special display. I haven’t run across the German word for cornucopia. In fact, I had to impress upon my German class that we were IN SCHOOL on Thanksgiving. The other Americans skipped that day, so I regaled the Italians, the Romanian, the Frenchman, and the Swede with mouth-watering descriptions of stuffing and cranberries and gorgees. But alas, I figured putting together Thanksgiving would be beyond us this year. Aside from not being able to buy Libby’s (or Wegmans’) pie pumpkin, and bags of fresh cranberries, our furnished apartment is not furnished for a feast. There’s no roasting pan hiding in the oven, no baster, no cheese cloth to protect a braising bird. And our one small pot and one smaller pot seemed unlikely to suffice for the abundance of delectable dishes. I had given up hope, when our next slate of visitors alit that very Thursday afternoon, laden with a homegrown Thanksgiving.
Thankfully, the three cousins of Aaron who arrived are vegetarian, so we were off the hook for turkey itself. But, when they opened their suitcases in our living room, they seemed to have made off with the entire Thanksgiving wares of Ohio. They brought us a can of pumpkin (pie spices included) a can of cranberry sauce, and the good humor and skills to fashion Thanksgiving from whole German cloth.
Aaron’s youngest brother somehow concocted the most delicious pie crust I’ve ever eaten (I got a clue to his secret ingredient when I looked for the new package of butter I’d recently purchased and found only a sliver left). The cousins made mozzarella, tomato, and basil appetizers. We made applesauce from the unending bag of apples I bought at the Turkish market. I tried my hand (again) at Kurbis soup for the main course. Luckily we had lots of bread from our favorite bakery to cut the overwhelming spiciness of the habanero pepper we brashly added. And finally, while we waited for the pie to bake and bake and bake (We got the temperature right in Celsius. The problem was that we only have a casserole dish, not a pie plate. We decided that the defining characteristic of pie plates is their roundness, not their depth, and discovered, in the production of Berlin’s deepest pumpkin pie ever, that this is only true to some extent.), we ate Kinder eggs and played with the toys inside.
Then, instead of shopping on Black Friday, we rejoined the rest of Germany pretending it was only the normal end of a non-festive week. I think the Berliners little suspected the cozy Thanksgiving flame I nurtured within.