I bet you don’t know we have Thanksgiving in Holland huh? Noooo my dear Canadian and American friends, no, I’m sorry: you are not unique in that! The low lands, the Netherlands, Holland is also celebrating Thanksgiving! At least, in my family 😉 At least since last Saturday! 😀
It was my heartfelt wish to start a family tradition based on nature, so I invited my dear family to our house to celebrate the Dutchess Thanksgiving on October 15th. And they gathered to my call!
Around three PM two cars arrived, soon followed by a third. And out they came: the Driessen family. First there were my parents, my father (79) totally ecstatic because he could finally drive again. He had his eye lenses renewed last month (cataract) and because of that his sight is now as it was forty years ago! The colours have come back into his world and he – and we with him – is so very grateful.
Then my sister, her two kids and her partner jumped out of the car, carrying a bouquet of tea. YES really. In it is black, herbal and green tea – of course – small sweets, a kind of tea egg and sugar candy. I love it! Mom brought yellow roses, ‘Limburgse vlaaien’ – a special kind of pie from our home province in the deep south of Holland – and chocolate! And my brother, his wife and two (of their four) kids brought up the rear, carrying a big bouquet of summer flowers and a bottle of champagne. Isn’t that sweet?! 😀
The weather couldn’t have been better: a full sun in clear blue skies. So after drinking coffee and tea (sorry Bert, you had to wait ‘a bit’ ;)) and eating fresh apple muffins and the ‘vlaai’, we headed towards the forest. Luckily all brought sturdy shoes, because the ground was muddy from last week’s rain. The youngest boys really didn’t feel like going at first, but soon they could be seen cantering through the bushes, under dark trees, jumping ditches and carrying sticks, climbing wood stacks and grinning ear to ear. Meanwhile the elder folks strolled at an easy pace, talking about the things families talk about when they meet after being separated for several months. Like South-Africa. Like anniversaries. Or about food. Holidays. About silly TV programs. My brother shot pictures, which I hope to publish later this week.
After the walk we headed back home again for snacks, wine, juice and beer. My living room is kind of small but we created a circle and sat where ever was possible (lucky number thirteen in total). And then my second experiment was tested: pumpkin soup. It was a combination of shallot, olive oil, garlic, chicken broth, curry, cumin and sugar, plus of course pumpkin. At the last moment I added half a litre yoghurt, cream and more garlic, plus fresh coriander on top. Seems they liked it 😀 That was a real Thanksgiving dish right?
Because my oven is kind of small, I couldn’t make a whole roast turkey. In stead I made two sauerkraut oven dishes. Yes that’s right: sauerkraut! You just HAVE to serve that at a Dutch Thanksgiving. 😉 Again I’ll give the ingredients. If someone wants the entire recipe, just ask and I’ll translate it for you. Here we go: potatoes cooked in chicken bouillon, mashed with butter, milk, herb cream cheese and nutmeg. Then bacon, sauerkraut, apple, pineapple, cream and water. The meat section: minced meat, salt, pepper, paprika powder, onions, brown sugar, soy sauce, ground chilli, orange juice, ketchup. Layer of the sauerkraut mixture, layer of the meat mixture and a layer of mashed taters, with little pieces of dairy butter on top.
Alright, you can all relax again. Of course I made a turkey stew too. After all, what is a Thanksgiving without a turkey? I bought turkey fillet and roasted it very slowly, making sure it was still pinkish inside. Then I started on the sauce with the gravy, adding onions, garlic, mushrooms and cranberries, salt and pepper, plus mushroom sauce. The meat had rested in this sauce for a night and a day and was tender and sweet. We ate it with fresh bread rolls and a green salad Vman made, washed down with red wine.
Everyone went back to the kitchen for a refill. Even the boys liked the sauerkraut! Except my eldest of course. He calls these slivers of sauerkraut ‘meuk’. Let’s say he doesn’t like it 😉 But he did love the turkey. After dessert everyone was so full, they didn’t even want chocolate bonbons anymore. Well, at the second offering they did dig in.
Finally around nine PM everybody fired up their vehicles and went home again, while laughter, kisses and waves filled the air. After cleaning up, Vman and me crashed on the couch, exhausted but happy. Thanksgiving in Holland. A new tradition has been born.
Why does time fly when you’re having fun, and crawl while waiting for the next meeting? See you all next year for another episode sweethearts! But first at Christmas of course 😉
BIG CARING HUGS, I LOVE YOU!