Thanksgiving in Brussels

Today’s post is slightly biased towards you Americans out there, because as you know, this Thursday is Thanksgiving! Even though this is a uniquely American (and Canadian) holiday, I believe anyone who wants to celebrate should join in the fun. What better day to commemorate than one completely centered on eating?

Ever since I met the husband six years ago, we have hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in some form or another in Brussels. Although most of the guests aren’t American, it has grown over the years into a wonderful tradition to share a meal with good friends and be thankful for all that we have.

In the US, Thanksgiving dinner is usually served in the afternoon, which often leaves everyone in a comatose state watching football on TV the rest of the day. I always try to keep the meal as traditional as possible, but sans the football. If you need a little history on this holiday, read Wikipedia’s entry, as I’m not going to launch into the various versions of what happened between the pilgrims and native Americans and all other Thanksgiving trivia. One tradition I will mention, although relatively new and rather unusual, is the official pardoning of a turkey by the President. I’m not sure why this started, but at least one of them is saved from the dinner table!

This year I’ve decided to take a break and pass on hosting. The idea of chopping vegetables all day for stuffing and cooking a turkey for hours just seems more than I can handle this time around. But I think I will still have to bake a pumpkin pie, as this is truly (and sadly) the only time of year to eat one of the best desserts ever invented.

If you’re in Brussels this Thursday, there are a couple of different ways you can enjoy Thanksgiving. If you’re up for cooking the meal yourself, the turkey is probably the trickiest thing to find. It’s typically available only at Christmas in Belgian supermarkets, but some butchers carry them. We’ve always ordered one from the Irish butcher Jack O’Shea’s. A bit on the pricey side, but one of the best I’ve ever had. As for canned pumpkin (the essential ingredient in pumpkin pie), I’ve spotted some at GB stores, including the one as Place Jourdan. If you’re looking for recipes, my go-to guide is Martha Stewart. But beware, this is no ordinary meal – it requires a LOT of work. 🙂

If like me, you’re taking a pass on all the preparations, let someone else do the cooking on Thursday evening. The American Club of Brussels is holding its annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel at 7pm with turkey and all the trimmings. The meal is served family style at tables for eight so it’s a good idea to bring along some friends. The cost is €80 or €70 for ACB members (€38 for children under 12), which includes drinks and more food than you can eat. Be sure to register in advance here.

Whatever you do this Thursday, I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

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5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in Brussels

  1. Having Thanksgiving dinner on a weeknight just doesn’t work for us, so we’re doing it on Sunday–the traditional Belgian day for family get-togethers involving eating marathons. This year I’m doing the whole feast: turkey with stuffing, candied yams, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Yes agree doing Thanksgiving on Thursday after a full day of work is a bit too much. I’ve always opted to do it on the Saturday after so I have all day (and even the night before!) to prepare. Happy Thanksgiving to you too and good luck with all the cooking 🙂

  2. I’m British (living in Brussels though) and have decided to join in the fun by heading over to the Hard Rock Cafe for thanksgiving… they have a special menu which sounds lovely!

  3. I will miss my annual soireé in Brussels this year! Thanks for coming over last year to give me a hand 🙂 Also, I think @Seven usually does a Thanksgiving party in Brussels. Happy Thanksgiving! I miss you!

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