Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkeys Die; I Give Thanks


Plentiful bounty...
Another November, another turkey massacre.  It’s a joyous time, really, when family can gather and share another orgiastic meal featuring sweet potatoes with marshmallows, pecan pie, and all of the glory that is Stove-Top stuffing.  It’s also the official debut to the Christmas season for those that haven’t succumbed earlier to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.  It’s the only holiday that can’t disappoint you because no matter how many family fights start or how many hands get burned in the oven, your main objective is always surefire – eat until you pass out. 

All of that goes out the window when I wake up and realize I live in Paris.  No family.  No Stove-Top.  I spent the day hunting for pecans in Bellevile.  I marched up rue des Martyrs after I heard there were cheap cranberries only to find them later at Monoprix for the same price.  I spent the better part of an evening trying to figure out how to brine a huge turkey breast and make room for it in my dorm-sized fridge.  Oh the obstacles.  Oh the heartache.

But, hey, I live in Paris.

If ever there was an American who needed to say thank you, it’s this guy.  Chance smiled upon me and apparently she just had whitening because this year has been nothing short of gratitude-worthy.  Hired by the Sorbonne, completed my first marathon, organized another successful Cupcake Camp…the list is a far cry from that of the same boy who only two years earlier was at the bottom of his game.

And so this year, we assemble again, fellow Americans joining me at Chez Bryan (the hottest table in town) for a feast.  We got the pecans, we’re doing the sweet potatoes, and baguette stuffing will replace Stove Top.  Well, some traditions aren’t meant to endure.

Friends will become family.  We’ll find something to fight about so that we all feel at home.  The Macy’s parade will air over Skype thanks to my sister.  The Christmas music will play freely. 

But no matter how much that brined turkey breast won’t resemble a 30 pound beast, no matter how weird my pumpkin pie crust is, and no matter how poorly Beaujolais pairs with sweet potatoes, we’ll be thankful for the fact that we can go to such lengths to share such a meal in one of the most sought-after cities in the world, even if that meal doesn’t include Green Giant creamed corn.

We all gripe and grumble about how tough it is to survive in this magnificent country, but today, I’m outwardly thankful for it all.  Keep the excessive paperwork, backwards attitudes, and smoky cafĂ© terraces coming as long as I can stroll along the Seine.  I’m grateful to be a part of it.

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