An American’s guide to surviving Thanksgiving in London

Thanksgiving in London may be different, but it can still be an occasion.

If you’re an American and travelling for work or leisure, there’s one day in the year when it’s particularly difficult to be away from home. You guessed it – it’s Thanksgiving. While any celebration of the great American holiday will not be quite the same as back home with your loved ones, there are ways to mark the occasion in London. Embrace the differences and have a Thanksgiving to remember this November 24th.

Change your expectations

While Thanksgiving traditions are what make the event so special for many, it’s important to prepare yourself for things to be a little different. Right from the start you need to remind yourself not to make comparisons with events at home and embrace celebrating in a different way. If you’re likely to be away from home regularly at this time of year, you can start up your own traditions – they might be a little unconventional, but that’s what a Thanksgiving outside of the US is like.

Skype with your family

If you can’t all be physically together for Thanksgiving, let technology bring it in for a little while. Organise a time to Skype with the rest of the family that won’t interfere with anyone’s plans. Nobody likes to be interrupted as they’re sitting down for a special dinner! Focus on the fun stuff you have planned and not what you’re missing out on. Everyone in the US will be really intrigued to know how you’re getting into the spirit in England.

Host Thanksgiving in your serviced apartment

You may not be able to have your entire extended family together for Thanksgiving this year, but collect those who are close by. This could be just your partner and kids, a group of friends or fellow Americans or even a bunch of colleagues. If they’re not American, then you can initiate them into the traditions of Thanksgiving, which will make the occasion all the more special.

The kitchen in your serviced apartment is well-equipped with everything you’ll need to whip up the basics for a Thanksgiving dinner – from the turkey to the pumpkin pie. London also has some fine produce on offer, so you’ll be able to do the event justice with some great fresh ingredients.

Get your turkey from The Ginger Pig – a well-respected butcher with six shops across London – or Copas Turkeys – a family business that has been raising the birds on a Berkshire farm since 1957. Copas even delivers, so simply place your order on its website. The number of fine markets across London means picking up vegetables and the all-important cranberries won’t be difficult.

To keep the cooking and stress to a minimum, you can pick up a pie for dessert from several places across the city that offer delicious creations made to authentic America recipes. Konditor and Cook does a great spiced pumpkin pie, which comfortably serves eight, and has quite a few locations, including Borough Market, Chancery Lane and The Gherkin. If you’re more of a pecan pie kind of family, then the Hummingbird Bakery should be your destination, as it sticks to a traditional North Carolina recipe and only sells whole pies. Head to the Spitalfields store or get it delivered.
hummingbird-bakery-pumpkin-pie

Let someone else do the work and go out for a Thanksgiving meal

If you don’t think your cooking skills are quite up to scratch or simply feel like letting someone take charge of all the prep, there are some great places in London to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. As always, a crowd will really help to bring the festive cheer, but at least you’ll know the food is sorted.

The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch

Your hosts at The Blues Kitchen will greet you with a Pumpkin Ale from the Brooklyn Brewery to get you in the mood and if that doesn’t do the trick, then the feast to come certainly will. It kicks off with New Orleans style gumbo, leading to traditional turkey and ham with all the trimmings. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the pie, which in this instance is sweet potato with bourbon and orange cream. Entertainment comes in the form of brass, blues, rhythm and soul from The Big Easy, so don’t forget your dancing shoes.

Thanksgiving at The Blues Kitchen costs £29.95 per head.

theblueskitchen

Boondock’s, The City

A great option if you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, but aren’t free on the 24th. The set menu of a traditional full feast is being served at Boondock’s from November 24th right through to the 26th, so you can do your celebrating at the weekend. We’re talking roasted turkey and green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with marshmallows et al. With egg nog and hot buttered cider also to hand, you’ll certainly get a warm fuzzy feeling.

The set menu is priced at £45 per person.

boondocksldn

The Breakfast Club, across London

Sometimes you just need food like your momma used to make and that’s exactly what you’ll get at The Breakfast Club. Tuck into spicy pumpkin soup with cornbread, beer and bacon roasted turkey with all the accompaniments, followed by pumpkin pie and ice cream. It’s a more laidback Thanksgiving affair, but it features all the necessary components.

£28 for the three courses.

thebrekkyclub

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