An Aussie Gives Thanks

‘Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia?’ is a question I’ve been asked a few times. Australians don’t have Thanksgiving as a national holiday. I however have celebrated the tradition right here in the Czech Republic with some of my American and Canadian colleagues a few years ago.

To be ‘into something’ means you enjoy it. You can be into food, music, sports, travel – almost anything.

Why didn’t we ask our American editor and author Jacy Meyer to write about Thanksgiving? Actually we did. This was her comment: “Thanksgiving for me is about having a couple days off and time to spend with my family. It’s not a holiday here and I can’t see my family, so it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving. Plus, I’m a vegetarian, so no way am I going to cook a turkey, and I’m just not that into food.”

I am quite into food, and welcome any excuse to eat roast turkey. Turkey isn’t so popular in Australia. Even though the food is connected with Christmas in Britain, it isn’t often eaten for Christmas dinner in Australia. Maybe it’s the heat. You need cool weather to enjoy a large roast dinner. Fortunately, the Czech Republic had the right climate, even if it had no connection to the tradition.

Thanksgiving was a big deal for our host, a New Jersey native. She spent weeks trying to find a turkey. The bird she found must have been part ostrich. I think it weighed about 12 kg. It was so big it couldn’t fit into her oven and half had to be baked in mine.

My girlfriend and I carried our half of the turkey plus some sweets and a couple of jars of home-made pickles to our host’s flat. Our host put our half in the oven to warm up while we ourselves warmed up with some tea. A few other guests had arrived, including a Canadian friend who was happy that we’d brought pickles. He was looking forward to putting them in the turkey sandwich he would prepare later that evening. We hadn’t even eaten dinner and he was already discussing his midnight snack.

Soon the moment came. Our host and her flat mate served plates full of meat, stuffing, gravy and roast vegetables. The room became very quiet. All you could hear was the sound of people chewing and slurping and shovelling food.

To be stuffed means you ate too much food

Yep, that was it. After weeks of planning by our host, the meal was over in a few greedy minutes. But you could feel the friendship. Most of us had only met a few months before, but we were together, happily stuffed. We just sat and enjoyed the quiet, except the Canadian. He couldn’t wait for his midnight turkey sandwich.

Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

An Aussie Gives Thanks Quiz: Medium

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People asked me a few times if we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. Australians don’t have Thanksgiving as a national holiday, but I did celebrate the tradition right here in the Czech Republic with some of my American and Canadian colleagues.

I really enjoy food and I wouldn’t pass on an opportunity to eat roast turkey. Turkey isn’t popular in Australia, maybe because of the hot weather. Fortunately, the Czech Republic had the right climate.

Our host, a New Jersey native, spent weeks trying to find a turkey. The one she found was so big we had to split it in half and bake the parts separately. I had to bake one of the halves in my oven.

My girlfriend and I brought our half of the turkey plus some sweets and a couple of jars of pickles to our host’s flat. While waiting for the big meal to warm up in the oven, we warmed ourselves up with some tea with the other guests. One was a Canadian friend who was already talking about preparing his midnight snack – a turkey sandwich.

In the US, leftovers – the food not eaten during the meal – are a very important part of the Thanksgiving experience. Turkey sandwiches are normally eaten all weekend long.

Soon the moment came. Our host and her flat mate served plates full of meat, stuffing, gravy and roast vegetables. The room became very quiet. All you could hear was the sound of people eating their meals.

Yep, that was it. After weeks of planning, the meal was over. Most of us knew each other only for a few months, but we were happy. Happy and full of good meat. We sat in silence, savouring the moment. Except for our Canadian friend, who was already looking forward to eating his turkey sandwich.

Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

An Aussie Gives Thanks Quiz: Mild

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‘Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia?’ is a question I’ve been asked a few times. For a range of historical reasons, Australians don’t – at least not as a recognized national holiday. Yet, at a personal level I have partaken in the tradition – right here in the Czech Republic in fact, with some of my American and Canadian colleagues a few years ago.

You might be wondering why we didn’t ask our American editor and author Jacy Meyer to write about Thanksgiving. Actually we did. This was her comment: “Thanksgiving for me is about having a couple days off and time to spend with my family. It’s not a holiday here and I can’t see my family, so it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving. Plus, I’m a vegetarian, so no way am I going to cook a turkey, and I’m just not that into food.”

I, however, am quite into food, and welcome any excuse to tuck into a roast turkey. Turkey isn’t so popular in Australia. Even though the food is connected with Christmas in Britain, it has not travelled with other British traditions that have been transplanted to the Antipodes. Maybe it’s the heat. You need cool weather to justify a large roast dinner. Fortunately, the Czech Republic had the right climate, even if it had no connection to the tradition.

In modern English ‘source’ can be used as a verb. It means to find a supply of something. For example, you can source food for a party but you wouldn’t source something you had lost.

Location didn’t matter to our host – a New Jersey native. Thanksgiving was a big deal for her. She spent weeks before the event finding, or in her words ‘sourcing,’ a turkey. The bird she finally found must have been part ostrich. I think it weighed about 12 kg. It was so big it couldn’t fit into her oven and half had to be baked in mine as I lived a couple of blocks from her.

My experience of Thanksgiving was until that point solely from film and TV. Apart from the crisp golden bird in the centre I remember – depending on the film – stilted family conversation, thick woollen sweaters and random misfortune. A real Thanksgiving had to be different.

My girlfriend and I carried our half of the turkey plus some sweets and a couple of jars of home-made pickles to our host’s flat. I could feel the heat steaming off the baking dish into the dark November night. By the time we arrived I was sure we’d be dining on cold turkey sandwiches.

No, the turkey had survived the journey still quite warm and its other half was ready to be carved. Our host placed our half in the oven to warm up while we ourselves warmed up with some tea. A few other guests had arrived, including a Canadian friend who was delighted that we’d brought pickles. He was looking forward to putting them in the turkey sandwich he would prepare later that evening. We hadn’t even served up dinner and he was already discussing his midnight snack.

As most of us were teachers, our pre-dinner conversation was about our classes and problems with our school. The Americans and Canadians present reminisced about past celebrations. There was another Australian there and at times we were quizzed about whether we celebrate. I went into a lengthy explanation about our different colonial histories. Everyone else went back to talking about school or former Thanksgivings.

Then the moment came. Our host and her flat mate – a German teacher who was also experiencing Thanksgiving for the first time – served out the plates piled high with meat, stuffing, gravy and roast vegetables.

Another cliché I remember from TV and film is people arguing over the white meat and dark meat. This particular bird was big enough that we all got white meat, the dark saved for later, so our Canadian friend would have enough for his sandwiches.

A silence descended, apart from the sound of people chewing and slurping and shovelling food. When it was over another Canadian in the group – a rather dry-witted young woman – said: “So that’s Thanksgiving for another year,” as we lolled about, stuffed.

Yep, that was it – weeks of planning on the part of our host, over in a few gluttonous minutes. Yet, there was a sense of camaraderie in the feasting. Most of us had only met a few months before, but there we were, nicely full in our colleagues’ flat. We just sat and enjoyed the moment of quiet contentment, except the Canadian. He couldn’t wait for his midnight turkey sandwich.

Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia

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