December 1, 2011

A French Thanksgiving

Joyce, Me, & the Turkey

I think any of my fellow American overseas basketball players would tell you that one of the hardest parts about playing basketball overseas is being away from family and friends during the holidays.  The holidays that aren't celebrated over here tend to be especially difficult. Now, contrary to what some of my friends back home believe, Thanksgiving is an American holiday, and therefore not celebrated in France. Regardless, my teammates were pretty adamant about having some turkey and seeing what their American teammate could cook up, so on Monday, I hosted a French Thanksgiving in my apartment.

Although I have been a master green bean casserole maker for my family's Thanksgivings and Christmases for the past few years, this was the first Thanksgiving I had to cook the turkey and stuffing. I have to admit I was really nervous about taking on this task. Images of teammates throwing up undercooked turkey all over the court haunted me during my preparation weeks. Even after reading about 1,000 different ways to cook a turkey and things to be careful of, my friends’ stories of their first times cooking turkeys seemed to have a lot of obstacles. Hearing about how they cooked their first turkey upside down, forgot to take out the innards, or over-buttering the turkey and desperately trying to hold on as it slipped through hands and hands making its way down to the floor, I was certain I would mess it up somehow. I googled a turkey’s anatomy, how to clean a turkey, the best ways to use all parts of a turkey, and how to keep a turkey from drying out in the oven. Not to mention that a metric converter website was favorited, bookmarked, and just about always open on my computer throughout this process.

The night before the big day I was preparing the turkey and realized two things: number one, the innards were not bagged up for me, I would have to go fishing, and number two, the neck was still attached. As I felt my stomach rise up into my throat and debated back and forth about becoming a vegetarian, I succeeded in getting the liver, heart, and gizzards out as well as removing the neck from the body of the turkey. I also vowed to never buy a fresh turkey again.  

The feast!
The day of our French Thanksgiving, one of my teammates, Joyce, came over to help me out with the cooking. We put on some Adele (internationally loved) and got to peeling potatoes, cutting up veggies, and teamed up to keep the turkey moist throughout the day. Thank God for Joyce, because she really helped make everything go smoothly and made the preparation part of the day enjoyable. As the rest of my team started arriving, we youtubed how to carve the delicious smelling turkey, again teaming up as I held the slippery sucker and she carved the meat off like a pro.

My teammates brought foods to complete the meal including corn bread, sweet potatoes, salad, and what I found was the funniest dish of the night, a green bean casserole (which my teammate interpreted literally as green beans laid out in a casserole dish). As if that wasn’t enough food to fill us, we had a cheesecake, hot fudge cupcakes, and a chocolate cake for dessert. Keeping with my family tradition, we went around the table and I made all my teammates say what they were thankful for – some even said it in English for me!

All in all, my French Thanksgiving was awesome. I can honestly say it was the first time since coming here that I felt a bit at home, and for that, I am thankful.


  1. Those sweet potatoes look amazing!! I want them in my belly lol

    Oh, and the turkey looks good too : )

  2. YAYYYY awww this post brought a tear to my eye. Solid ending. Give me the food though please.