Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in Italy 2013

We delayed celebrating Thanksgiving until Sunday so that we could all gather together without stress and enjoy one another's company.  We had 8 people at dinner.  Two Italians who had never experienced Thanksgiving before and 6 Californians who have transferred to Italy.

I was awakened to this sky in the morning. The skies in Umbria are like the "girl with the kaleidoscope eyes." Always changing. The sky seems so much wider than California. Because of the lack of pollution the colors are vivid and constantly changing.  The sky made me stop and admire it  and give thanks for being alive.  It was an auspicious beginning!

We had a wonderful time.  Anna and John came over from Lucca.  I met them because of this blog. We have been living parallel lives for years but did not know it.  They also sold their home in Oakland this year and have transferred here. We met them once in California and once in Italy.  They came for the week end and It was as if we had known them forever.

Anna made Martha Stewart's Mile High Pie. It was as delicious as it looks.

Although there are no fresh cranberries in Italy that we could find, Anna found red currants and cooked them and they were excellent.

Joseph and Paul ordered the turkey at the market and brought it over.  Paul is a vet and his stitches were very neat!

This Italian turkey was very tasty.  It's legs were thin but most people eat only white meat so that was not a problem. The two Italians at the table had two comments.  We had the dinner at 3:00 as we do in the US.  This totally flummoxed the Italians, who said 1'clock would have been better.  We smiled and agreed. The second comment was they loved the food.  I think they were as surprised as we were that they thought the food was good.  This is saying a lot because they are really picky about what they eat!

I set the table using all the fancy stuff.  I have used the china, crystal and silver more in Italy in the last month than I did in the US for the last 10 years!  Really.

I fixed a pumpkin pie and took over pieces to the Babucci's.  It caused quite a stir as the Italians have never eaten pumpkin as a dessert.  I think it passed the test although it would have been better with whipped cream. We have green beans, roasted cauliflower, apple chutney and dressing.  It felt like a normal Thanksgiving and yet different, like all of Italy for me now.

So some notes on gratefulness.  We went around the table and everyone expressed a gratitude for friends, old and new.  In addition I acknowledged that I am grateful that my health has been good and I feel strong and able.  I am also very grateful for the ability to have this Italian adventure.  I am grateful for the vision of it, the planning of it and the ability to pull it all off.  I am grateful for all of my good fortune and most of all my good friends, including the Stoic One who even at this moment is working on his Italian!

Living in Umbria makes me aware of the importance of relationships.  People here don't have much money and so they must rely on one another to help in times of need.  It is again as if I have dropped into another era when life was slower, money was less and the world revolved around building and keeping friendly alliances.  At this point, I couldn't feel more at home.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Susan. I was anxiously waiting to hear if you celebrated the day. Sounds like it was successful all around. Now on to Christmas holidays. I am sure you won't get the rat race you do in the States. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Melanie. We had a lovely holiday. Learned things for next year. The pumpkin pie was a big success here. Who knew? Christmas is arriving slowly. The procession of the Madonna is here on Sunday. Hope it isn't too cold.

  2. Doing the turkey yourself is way better than trying to find it. Thanksgiving is such an odd holiday for non-Americans. We gave up while living in London to get a 'Thanksgiving' meal even if the restaurants advertise they have it.