I am first-generation American, and because my mother and her whole family is French, I have been given creative license over "my" holiday, Thanksgiving, since childhood--when I decided turkey was repugnant and ordered hot dogs from my mother's kitchen.
My family regards Thanksgiving as an excuse to feast, and with certain condescension to American tradition, we do feast quite Frenchly indeed. We start with the turkey, rubbed in herbes de Provence, and serve it with pomegranate-seared wild mushrooms, haricots verts amandine, potatoes au gratin, and granita made from Norman apple cider.
Thanksgiving for Two
This year, however, I am away from chez maman, and will be celebrating with my American father in our New York apartment, complete with its tiny kitchen and even tinier oven. The prospect of roasting a whole turkey for two people became too much for me to stomach, and for this year's menu, I decided to pare down--a trendy prospect, I believe.
This year's turkey is Provençal Turkey Roast au Riesling, white meat roasted with a crust of Dijon mustard and herbes de Provence and braised in Riesling and stock. As for the au gratin potatoes, I've merged several dishes into one, creating a savory Potato Grain and Stuffing Tarte whose pastry is filled with gratin potatoes and covered in my French nod to stuffing: baguette soaked in herbs and cream. The Thoroughly Modern Haricots Verts Amandine, highly traditional, get a modern renovation with lightening lemon zest and butter. And for dessert--true decadence: Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding.
Though I'm with my American half this year, I would never dream of giving up the French in my Thanksgiving. Just because my ancestors didn't personally sit down to supper with the Native Americans doesn't meant that I don't have everything to be thankful for. I think as Americans it's important to remember where we come from (because most of us have come from somewhere), and what America has given us. In one generation from Europe to America, this country has given my family and me unthinkable opportunities. And that is why, the last Thursday in each November, we never fail to say "merci" to America. Merci bien.