Thanksgiving in Paris

Canard we prepared at La Cuisine

Canard we prepared at La Cuisine

What do the Parisians do on Thanksgiving? Actually this very American holiday hasn’t caught on. There’s a shop called Thanksgiving in the Marais that serves American expatriate needs by providing turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and pies, as well as other American ingredients that are just plain missing in France – things like measuring spoons and brown sugar. This morning Brenda prepared a little speech in French to explain Thanksgiving to the dairy products vendor at our local market-now he knows! Word is spreading.

Here's our dry run cooking the canard at home (earlier this week)

Here’s our dry run cooking the canard at home (earlier this week)

For us, well we aren’t having Turkey this year, though dinde (turkey) is sold at the market. We don’t have an oven so we have to find something different that fits the occasion. On Halloween we went to a cooking school, La Cuisine, and found that the main course from that menu, Magret de Canard with Sauce au Vin, is easily prepared in our little kitchen (even though we have to open the windows and ventilate the apartment during preparation). Along with the main dish, we’re having Chanterelle Mushrooms with Herbs and Pine Nuts, Butternut Squash Gratin with Crème Fresh, Nutmeg, and Compté Cheese, Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine and Figs (Thank you David Lebovitz for the recipe !) Pour les dessert, we’re having a raspberry tort framboise. Our wine is a 2010 Hecht and Bannier Syrah from Minervois, where we were earlier this year with friends from Poulsbo on the Canal du Midi.

For me, I’m thankful to be here and that Brenda is doing the cooking. Happy Thanksgiving from Brenda and Hugh!

Comments

  1. Happy Thanksgivving to you both. I wondered about Turkey Day in France. However, your meal looks wonderful and very festive as well.

  2. Rick Anderson says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy being thankful in Paris. Can’t imagine any other way of being!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you both. I am thankful also that you are together in Paris, which you enjoy so much. Bon appetite!

  4. That looks far more delicious than Turkey any day.

  5. Randi Strong-Petersen says:

    thinking of you today from the USA!! happy Thanksgiving!!!

  6. We send you our warmest Thanksgiving greetings and best wishes. Thanks for providing all the enjoyment by sharing your experiences. You know that you have Poulsbo with you wherever you go.

    • Hugh Nelson says:

      Thanks Ed – Brenda and I wish the same to you and to Pat. At some point we must do an article letting our followers in Poulsbo know that there are many ways in which life in Poulsbo (and the US) is better than living in Paris, not that people are extolling the virtues of the US much these days. Sometimes you have to leave town to know how good you have it. Thanks also for helping to keep us company.

  7. Ardis Morrow says:

    I appreciate the report on Thanksgiving Day in Paris. No turkey eh? How about football games? Same ol, same ol here.
    Went to Heather’s in Shelton, the grandkid is finally the one cooking the turkey. They do grow up. Great grandkids old
    enough to do the rest of the dinner. They are all quick learners and love to play games. So we had fun.
    Paris quiscene without turkey is the nth however, looked delicious. Are you sure Brenda does all the cooking? I am so
    thankful you allow me to share in your grand adventure. Keep the good news coming. How about the visa extension?
    Love,
    Ardis

    • Hugh Nelson says:

      Ardis, great to hear from you and glad you got some help with Thanksgiving. I’ve been telling others a little more about the canard. The breast is coated on the outside with an even layer of fat (which helps with floating and insulation I suppose – turkey’s and chickens don’t have this), so the meat is cooked fat side down (after cutting a criss cross pattern in the fat with a sharp knife) until the layer is dark brown, then the fat juices are drained and the meat flipped and cooked until done. Ours at home was medium rare – I think the French preference would be more rare. The meat is very dense and tasty. The down side is that it would be challenging to serve this to a crowd. It was perfect for the two of us Regarding the visa – that will be worth an article. It’s been the administrative adventure of a lifetime, and it’s still not over yet. Not sure I can say we are fully committed yet to staying longer, but we’re doing the work so that will be an option. More to follow.

  8. What is a Canard? The whole thing sounded soooo Parisian! But turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, gravy and green bean casserole was allpretty good!!!
    Keep up the news.
    Liz

  9. What is a Canard? The rest of it sounds soooo Parisian!! But–turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, green bean casserole, pumpkin and apple pie was all pretty good, too. I’m still full! Keep up the messages.
    Liz

    • Hugh Nelson says:

      Liz,

      Canard is duck, so we had a duck breast for Thanksgiving. One is plenty for two people. The breast is coated on the outside with an even layer of fat (which helps with floating and insulation I suppose – turkey’s and chickens don’t have this), so the meat is cooked fat side down until the layer is dark brown, then the fat is drained and the meat flipped and cooked until done. Ours at home was medium rare – I think the French preference would be more rare. The meat is very dense and tasty. The down side is that it would be challenging to serve this to a crowd. Sounds like your more traditional Thanksgiving dinner was great. Hope you are doing well and thanks for staying in touch. Hugh and Brenda

  10. Hugh and Brenda, my research on early Thanksgiving informs me that for the meat dish, the
    Puritan men were sent out out to obtain “fowles,” which in the parlance (French, of course)
    of the time, meant ducks. So your choice of canard is very much in keeping with the early tradition!

    Monty

    • The canard looked like and tasted more like a steak than like chicken or turkey. The breast is coated on the outside with an even layer of fat (which helps with floating and insulation I suppose – turkey’s and chickens don’t have this), so the meat is cooked fat side down until the layer is dark brown, then the fat is drained and the meat flipped and cooked until done. Ours at home was medium rare – I think the French preference would be more rare. The meat is very dense and tasty. The down side is that it would be challenging to serve this to a crowd, but a single breast was plenty for two people. The meat is carefully trimmed and the fat layer is scored in a criss cross pattern to aid in cooking. The worry for me was that I not cut myself with the knife.

  11. You have plenty for which to be thankful. We are very thankful for our visit to Paris and time with you this fall – such good memories!

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