Thanksgiving in Paris still doesn’t feel completely normal to me, but it’s at least familiar. This year will be my fourth spent in Paris, but only my second without family. And like most other people gathering or doing something to mark the holiday, it’s going to look very different than it ever has before.
Thanksgiving in Paris 2020
For a while I considered not doing anything special for Thanksgiving this year. I’m spending the entire day learning about France as an immigration and integration requirement for my visa. The day was randomly assigned to me and is difficult if not impossible to change, which felt very poetic for 2020.
Normally, celebrating Thanksgiving in Paris involves other Americans either at restaurant with a special menu or in a bigger group, ‘Friendsgiving’ style. I’m nervous that Romain won’t like a lot of the foods because he’s never had them before. That risk alone was almost enough to deter me from even attempting a Thanksgiving for two.
Also important to note, I’ve never been responsible for anything crucial to the dinner before. I definitely haven’t ever had to do it all myself. It’s kind of hard to imagine pulling it off in a tiny kitchen with an oven a little bit bigger than a glove box. But if I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that this isn’t the year to complain or to take anything for granted. It’s especially important to be thankful for what I do have. Which is a lot.
Everyone I know who has had COVID-19 has recovered. I spent the first lockdown safe, well-fed, and surrounded by nature in Normandy. I’ve learned a lot about myself and have grown in ways that probably wouldn’t have been possible without 2020.
I love Thanksgiving. Food aside, it’s important to have a day to really stop and think about what we’re thankful for with people we love. So I decided to make Thanksgiving in Paris 2020 happen.
How I’m Celebrating Thanksgiving in Paris
Thanksgiving 2020 in Paris is going to be a blend of old and new, French and American. We’re having roasted chicken instead of turkey, my family’s favorite Spinach Rockefeller, stuffing with brioche bread, cranberry salad/sauce from former Paris Thanksgivings, Joël Robuchon’s mashed potatoes, lots of gravy, and David Lebovitz’s chocolate pecan pie. We will also clearly be having a lot of leftovers.
On Tuesday, my dad and I made our Spinach Rockefellers while on the phone and tried to figure out how we could both sneak in as much butter as possible without raising any suspicion. On Wednesday, I FaceTimed with my mom and sister (and Georgie) as they set the table. Later my mom and I made our stuffings at the same time (she’s the master, I’m a rookie).
Everything is prepped and ready to go (besides the potatoes and pie which I’m confident Romain can handle) and I’m off to spend the day learning about France. It’s definitely not a typical Thanksgiving, but I guess that also went out the window when I decided to get my Christmas tree last weekend.
Thanksgiving in Paris is always a little different than Thanksgiving in the US, and that’s okay. I’m really looking forward to spending the day appreciating all that I have (see below), FaceTiming my family this evening, and enjoying a delicious meal.