Just before the winter sets in and covers everything in icy white and shimmering Christmas lights, the last Fall days put some sunshine through the orange of the fallen leaves and remaining pumpkins. The crisp breeze spreads a smell of a tipsy apple juice and a lovely celebration happens: Thanksgiving. For the ones not so familiar with it – this is a celebration meant to give thanks to the past year and for the blessings of the harvest.
The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving”, was originally celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. This feast lasted three days, and — as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow — was host to 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. In the United States, Thanksgiving is agreed to happen on the 4th Thursday of November. With the same meaning but different dates, Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada, some of the Caribbean islands and Liberia (further details about the Thanksgiving in the United States and other countries can be found in Wikipedia).
The good part of living here in Vienna, is that some of the population is embracing the diversity of the people and is also preparing for Thanksgiving – this year on the 23rd of November (American style). If it is the offer of turkey in the meat shops or the restaurants that prepare the Thanksgiving meals (and help you just get rid of the cooking and dishwashing part of the feast), Vienna has it all.
Our savvy VFN members helped compile a list of things and places that will come handy for this celebration:
For the ones that enjoy cooking and make it part of the Thanksgiving ritual:
Some places for buying turkey: Try Wildhandel Kriegler (23rd district) or the Poultry butcher shop on 47 Stumpergasse (6th district). Did you need a big turkey? Advice for next year would be to go directly to your local grocery store and order a big, fat turkey, a few weeks in advance. You’re not too late for a decent-sized Christmas turkey, though! The turkey here is normally smaller than the ones back in the US. Note from the editor: I find smaller Turkeys good, because the young kids usually don’t appreciate the taste and won’t eat that much of it anyway.
Stuffing tips: A lovely VFN member has shared her grandma’s recipe – white bread, salt, pepper, sage, mushroom and celery.
Mushroom soup: an instant powdered mushroom soup packet mixed with a cup of 3,5% fat milk (known as Vollmilch here) is a good substitute for Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup for green bean casserole.
Pie-baking tips: Canned pumpkin for baking pie can be found at Bobby’s and Prosi
Cranberries: these can usually be found at Spar Gourmet and Merkur.
For the ones that just want to enjoy the meal and skip the cooking:
Hard Rock Cafe is joining the fun and has a menu for almost all the American celebrations.
Strebersdorferhof – a charming restaurant, just at the outskirts of Vienna, in the lovely Strebersdorf (worth a visit no matter when). You need to be fast to book a table, though, as it fills up fast.
Frank’s American Bar & Restaurant & Music – dresses up for the occasion and welcomes it’s guests in a home-away-from-home atmosphere.
So, no matter if this is your holiday and your life was always filled with its tradition, no matter if you just adopt it now, because of your international family or just because you want to experience it, don’t forget to enjoy and create, together with your kids, your family’s own traditions, so they too have something to dream about when they are older.
Article by Daniela Damian
Edited by Gail Schwarz