By: Cynthia Chiou, Foster Undergraduate
When I heard about my friends and family celebrating Thanksgiving back at home, I knew I wanted to share this same American tradition with my international friends in Vallendar!
Unfortunately with everyone traveling so often, we couldn’t have the feast on the actual date of the holiday but was able to celebrate in December. A fellow American friend and I cooked a feast of turkey, duck, mashed potatoes, pumpkin cookies and other tasty dishes for our friends. I had actually never prepared a turkey all on my own, so I left the expertise to my friend who had done so many times! Also, neither of us had ever prepared a duck before so that was a fun experiment which actually ended up with delicious results.
I have to say, I was really lucky to get placed in the house that I am in because I have a spacious place for inviting friends and an oven which I’m learning is a huge blessing in itself! I was able to invite my tauschie friends whose home countries ranged from Ireland, France, Mexico, to Uruguay. Everyone was so excited to experience what they kept calling a ‘real American Thanksgiving’ .. (so the stakes were high). I think we were all extremely happy to have a hearty feast that wasn’t just German food for once! Not to say German food isn’t delicious but I think all of us were schnitzel-ed out after the first month or so. It was also fun explaining how you ate American food to my new friends. I think my favorite moment was when someone starting drizzling iced tea over the salad. We quickly stopped him and alerted our Uruguayan friend that the bland watery tasting salad was actually due to the ‘iced tea dressing’. He was kind enough to finish the food anyways.
Everyone was stuffed after dinner and we deemed the night a success – even among my French friends who have very high culinary standards! I’ll never forget preparing such a great meal for a great group of folks. Another fabulous aspect of studying abroad – sharing new cultural cuisines and traditions with your new friends!