For me, the importance is that we celebrate and that we uphold the tradition (though I will miss my creation of the Thanksgiving dinner cocktail I had in Cannes - turkey on a stick anyone?).
This year, I am in charge of pecan pie, cornbread and cranberry sauce. I got to work at about 8pm and just finished my soirée of cooking. Behold, my masterpieces:
A pecan pie fit for kings (I hope)
I think I may have messed up the cornbread by using baking powder AND self-rising flour, but I'm pretty sure that if we put enough butter and honey on top, we'll all quickly get over it :-)
Pardon the ugly serving dish - this cranberry sauce has to travel to the 13th arrondissement tomorrow, hence, the almighty tupperware!
After 7 years of Thanksgivings in France, I've become a pro at finding "replacement" ingredients for the traditional dishes. I use Picard purée de potiron for my pumpkin pie, I replace Karo syrup in pecan pie with maple syrup (to die for!), and I use airelles and griottes from Picard to replace cranberries for the sauce that generally only I eat (how can people not LOVE cranberry sauce?!). Side note: according to Wordreference.com, airelles are cranberries - but I'm not convinced. In any case, they do make a great sauce!
I love love love Thanksgiving and will be bringing tupperware to take home leftovers, which is the second best thing about Thanksgiving. Where I wish I could be celebrating with my family, I'm also just happy to share the day with people who I care about and who also enjoy this time of year. Sharing it with Frenchies who appreciate fatty American cooking is an extra bonus (someone has to teach them about the almighty casserole!). No matter how long I live in France, I will continue to celebrate this holiday full of joy, good food, warmth, happiness, sharing and appreciation.
Thankfully all of my Frenchie friends are always happy to join in the fun :-) Little do they know that my American friends and I are already plotting to go around the table and make them say what they are thankful for! Come on, it's tradition!
ps - for any last minute expat or Frenchie Turkey Day planners, I saw that they are selling stuffed turkeys at Picard! It's new! Go Picard! (I know I loved them for a reason).