"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving in Paris 2012

Our dear friends in Paris

Is it me, or is Paris becoming Thanksgiving friendly. Last year it was quite the challenge to find “American” ingredients for our Thanksgiving dinner. (see my previous post),  "Thanksgiving 2011" .  This year, it’s quite a different story from our adventures a year ago.

Our beautiful 90€ turkey
  • Turkey – In the past you had to pre-order it from either an American grocery store such as “Thanksgiving Store” in the 3eme, or you had to order it from your butcher. Today, you can actually pre-order it from major grocery stores such as Monoprix, Carrefour or La Grande Epicerie. Who knew?

  • Cranberries --  In the past you could only buy this at international supermarkets such as “La Grande Epicerie” for 6-7€ for what looks like a small bag of peanuts. Now you can actually find them at Monoprix or Carrefour for 4€ for a nice size bag.

  • Pecans --  As a general rule, nuts are extremely expensive in France; hence, you very rarely see tarts or pies made of nuts. Normally, the price of about a kilo of pecans goes for about 18€, you can actually find them for 14€ at the "Barbès-Rochechouart" market.  It doesn’t seem like such a reduction, but euros add up when you’re on a budget.

  • Cream cheese – Last year, this was only available at very few grocery stores. It has now become quite popular and a staple. You can find it everywhere from Carrefor to Auchan to Géant. And, you can also find them in different flavors from salmon to dill to garlic.

  • Fried onion rings – These are what we put on our string bean casserole. You can actually find an Asian version at Tang Frère or some major Asian markets in the 13eme. They’re like the “durkees” brand we get in US, the onions are smaller, but they taste just as good. In fact, you can get the fried garlic as well, so you can mix the two together to get that oh so wonderful flavor.

  • Molasses – Yep, you can also easily find this at any health food store such as “Naturalia” or “Bio” but it’s called “mélasse”, but be forewarned, it is much, much stronger than the American version so I would suggest if a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons, just use one.

  • Peanut butter -- You can find peanut butter easily in Chinatown; however, they’re laden with sugar. You can actually get peanut butter at the health food stores as well that’s more natural for better tasting peanut butter cookies.
Traditional American desserts
We’ve come a long way in just one year. My guess is that there’s a lot of American ex-pats living in Paris; hence, a lot of vendors are making it easier for us to shop. And, a lot of French are very familiar with our Thanksgiving celebration. In fact, as we pine to get invited to a traditional French Christmas dinner, the French pine to get invited to our Thanksgiving dinner.

What I’m hoping for next year, so for the grocer buyers out there who happen to read this, please listen to my pleas:

  • Turkey – I wish the price goes down as demand increases. A typical 9 kilo (almost 20 lbs) turkey is about 90€ (almost $120).  And, the butchers leave the neck and gizzards, without having to ask.

  • Cream of Mushroom soup – I know one could probably make it, but it’d be fun to have some.

  • Pumpkin and sweet potatoes – To save time, I hope we can buy them canned next year!

Best to all of my readers for the coming holidays. Please be safe, and more importantly, enjoy the simple pleasure life has to offer!

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