YLC’s Amy Johansson on pilgrim selfies, potential potlucks and where to go if you are gagging for some pumpkin pie but find cooking just that little bit too much to stomach!
I moved to Sweden two years – and two Thanksgivings – ago. Though I am mad for the winter holiday season in my new homeland, when that last Thursday in November rolls around, my disproportionate longings for trussed-up turkey and parades come to a crescendo. So what are we as foreigners in the land of tomtegubbar, Christmas markets, and glögg supposed to do to commemorate our vestigial longings for our second favorite Big Bird? Never fear – here are some YLC tips on celebrating Thanksgiving in Sweden!
‘Tis the Season to Meet Expats!
Use this time of year as an opportunity to meet your fellow expats. I live down in southern Sweden where the English-speaking expat community is more spread out than in Stockholm. I work with Swedes and mostly socialize with Swedes, but now in my longing for Thanksgiving, I have made an effort to reach out and get to know my fellow North American expats down south.Asking about local Thanksgiving celebrations via social media groups is a great way to break the ice and start chatting!
Online threads and conversations about where to gather things such as cranberry sauce (do you reconstitute dried cranberries or use frozen cranberries? Can’t you just substitute in lingonberries?) and canned pumpkin surface and where to buy turkeys in Sweden can spark memories and new friendships that lead to IRL get-togethers and new friends.
Do Try This At Home!
If you do decide to go all out and recreate the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, know that it’s possible with the ingredients found here. There are a few expat clubs doing Thanksgiving feasts and a few local restaurants offering up traditional American dinners (see below). You can also make a new tradition, why not gather a few friends and have a Thanksgiving potluck? Surely nowadays there is a way to stream in the Big Football Game and the Macy’s Parade in digitally.
The first Thanksgiving, after all, was about being newly landed immigrants to a new country, According to the story we learned as children, the holiday meal started when Pilgrims in New England befriended local native American tribes. The native Americans helped the Pilgrim expats get to know the local food sources, and shared their hospitality with the new arrivals.
While we all know now (sniff) that the reality of the first Thanksgiving was probably not all that cosy, it is nice to think that we modern day, newly-landed expats can enjoy the same ethos of making new friends amongst the natives and exploiting the new pantry for delicious inspiration.
I smile when I think of the Pilgrims and Native Americans chatting on social media, dreaming up collaborative menus, cute crafts, trading recipes and proudly instagramming the results (Pilgrim selfie, anyone?).
Thanks & Tack, Sverige!
Lastly, take this opportunity to be thankful. Being thankful is a feeling we can experience regardless of geography. I personally feel thankful to live in Sweden when I think of the time I have with my family, and for the free education opportunities here, the healthcare system (I am American after all!) and the wonderful friends I have made here in the past two years.
Fancy a proper North American Thanksgiving meal this year? If you do not have the time or the desire to do one yourself, check out these alternatives in Stockholm:
We are family! Thanksgiving dinner served up on November 28, 2013
Small Caesar Salad
Turkey, especially made for Thanksgiving, served with herb mashed potatoes and herb sauce, sprinkled with candied cranberries.
Contact: Make your reservations by telephone at 08 545 494 00
Damage: 359 SEK per adult, 79 SEK per child
Where: Sveavägen 75
Acclaimed chef Marcus Samulesson’s crew offer a traditional American Thanksgiving based on his restaurants in the USA from November 25-30, 2013.
Butternut squash soup or Waldorf Salad
Roasted turkey with classic stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes and gravy
Contact: Reservations can be booked via the restaurant’s website.
Damage: 595 SEK for adults, half price for kids (incl. welcome punch)
Where: Östra Järnvägsgatan 35
From November 26-December 1, this pub will be offering a festive and traditional Thanksgiving dinner and drinks menu. The menu will be served buffet-style, and includes a drinks package.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Vinaigrette
Slow cooked ham
Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Mac & cheese
Sweet potato Gratin
Roasted Brussell Sprouts with bacon
Contact: To book a spot for Thanksgiving Dinner, you make a reservation at least 48 hours in advance via telephone at 08-314473 or via email email@example.com.
Damage: 545 SEK per person, or 695 SEK for dinner plus drinks package (Drink package includes: 2 bottled beers or 2 glasses of wine, 1 glass of Brandy Alexander, hot chocolate & coffee or tea). 245 SEK for Children under 12.
Where: Hagagatan 4, 11348
Amy is one of Your Living City’s Associate Editors. When not penning or editing YLC copy, she can be found writing technical documents and stomping through the forests and cobblestones of southern Sweden with a laptop and her three children in tow. She harbours angst at not updating her blog more often!