Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thanksgiving in Stockholm

(I realize this was three holidays ago but it is better late than never.)

Obviously Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Sweden but it is probably my favorite holiday so we decided to give it a try this year.  I love Thanksgiving. We always go to Dallas to see my aunt, uncle and cousins and it is so much fun. (Plus there are no gifts which really helps bring down the stress.) My mom and my uncle make Thanksgiving dinner while the rest of us do the turkey trot, get ready for dinner and then fall asleep on the couch while watching football.  I was really bummed that we weren't going to be in Dallas for Thanksgiving but thankfully my cousin Holly was getting married on December 14th so we would be able to see the whole family at her wedding.

I was out shopping with my friend Lisa one day and we walked past a turkey store.  Really. The store is called Ingelsta Kalkon and kalkon is Swedish for turkey.  The whole store is all about turkey.  Lisa and I walked in to check out the store since Thanksgiving was about a week away.  While we were in there I grabbed some Stove Top turkey stuffing and a can of pumpkin pie filling.

*Side note: In Sweden you take a number and stand in line for lots of things.  In the US we really only take numbers at the dmv but here you take a number everywhere.  If you are at the pharmacy, post office, electronics store, turkey store, etc.  When we walked into the store a guy followed us in and pointed to the numbers.  We shook our heads because we weren't planning on buying a turkey we were just looking around.  But then I decided since we were there I would go ahead and get the stuffing and pumpkin pie filling.  I took them up to the counter and was completely ignored.  They are serious about their numbers.  I thought as long as I didn't need a turkey or help from the butcher I didn't need a number.  I was wrong.  I grabbed a number and waited in line.
Jake's Mom's family is from Sweden and the recipe we used for the homemade rolls was an old Swedish recipe.
The turkeys at the store were really expensive.  It was 185 kronor for 1kg (for those of you who need that translated it is $12.72 per pound).  They had 4-5 kg turkeys so it would have been over $100 for a turkey.  We decided to look at a few other stores first.  The lady helping us asked how many people would be eating the turkey at that point I was thinking it would just be two of us but then I realized that I do actually have a friend in Sweden and she was standing right there so maybe we could have them over!  The processing all happened at once and before I knew it I had invited Lisa and her husband Jimmy over for Thanksgiving.
It is a good thing we didn't need to cook a big turkey because I don't think it would have fit.
For the next week Lisa and I were looking for turkey in the grocery store.  I finally found a turkey and Jake found an Alton Brown recipe for the turkey so . . . Thanksgiving was practically done right?  Plus the turkey we bought was only $5 a pound which wasn't so bad.
Jake carving the bird.
We decided to make a whole turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, gravy, homemade rolls, and cranberry salad.  I do the day to day cooking but for big meals Jake is usually in charge which may seem strange but it works.  He brined the turkey, peeled and boiled the potatoes, made the gravy, homemade rolls and cranberry salad.  I was in charge of the green beans and the stuffing.  I also helped with the homemade rolls.  Lisa and Jimmy brought over wine, beer, flowers, pumpkin pie and whipped cream.  Jimmy helped mash the potatoes because we had a potato ricer and we didn't know how to use it but he did.

What a great meal!
Lisa made the pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

We ended up doing Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 30th because we all had to work on Thursday and it turns out making a thanksgiving meal is a lot of hard work :).  I knew big meals were a lot of work but it is hard to get everything done all at the same time and make sure it is still hot.  Making this meal definitely made me appreciate my mom and uncle more and anyone else who makes big dinners for us.
Jimmy, Lisa and Jake
This was the first time Jake and Jimmy met but we have known Lisa for a while.  We met Lisa our first week in Stockholm.  Jake found a Labor Day picnic that was being hosted by the Americans Club of Sweden at a park.  We decided that if we were going to make friends here we should probably get out of our comfort zone and go to a few things.  As we were walking up to the park I panicked and told Jake "abort, abort."  I didn't want to go to a picnic but I am so thankful I did.  Lisa was there and we started talking.  She seemed really nice and normal (which isn't always a given when meeting new people) and we just hit it off.  I knew I would get along with her when she said her main reason for coming to the picnic was to ask if there was a store that was similar to Bed Bath and Beyond here in Stockholm.  So we swapped some ideas of stores we had been to and added each other as friends on Facebook.  We talked a few times on Facebook and then I invited her and Jimmy to watch Jake in a sailboat race and we've been hanging out ever since.  Lisa also took the Swedish class with Jake and me in October so we saw each other every day for about a month which was fun.  Her husband, Jimmy, is Swedish and they moved to Stockholm after they got married and are living here for 3 or 4 years.  Lisa is great.  She cracks me up and we still help each other out if we can't find something in a store we ask each other if they have seen it or if they can be on the look out for it.  I am SO thankful we went to that picnic.

At the picnic I also learned about a school that a girl volunteered at when she first moved to Stockholm and now I'm volunteering at that school.  We were also talking to someone about football and how much I was going to miss watching the games and he told us about a website that we could go to to watch any sporting event.  You could say that was a very successful picnic!

This Thanksgiving was different but I was very thankful that we got to spend it with new friends!

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