Thanksgiving in Shanghai

Thanksgiving is a mysterious American holiday to the Chinese. After much discussion with our Chinese tutor we established that the Chinese word for Thanksgiving actually means holiday for thanks. Our tutor knew what a turkey was, but had never seen one and was certainly surprised when I showed her the hallmark version.

The most difficult concepts seem to be the idea of stuffing a bird, and the idea that pumpkins are orange. Birds are popular here, but really just ducks and chickens. Most chickens here are pretty small as well. When you buy a chicken at the grocery store here it still has the head, and the only think in the cavity is the feet. I have actually eaten a stuffed Shanghai duck, but it to make it, you remove all the bones and stuff the entire duck, not just the cavity.

As for pumpkins, generally most vegetables are popular when in season in Shanghai. Pumpkin is very popular here and seems to be able to be served in any kind of dish. Chicken curry, Kung Pao chicken, and any type of soup or stir fry. Pumpkin flesh is orange, and tastes like pumpkin. To me, the Shanghai pumpkin looks like a green winter squash, but the flesh is not so squash like. Green pumpkin ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú no wonder Halloween seems so confusing.

We enjoyed a very traditional Thanksgiving in Shanghai. We celebrated at the home of some friends from DC. They are originally from Wisconsin and Kansas. Guests included another couple from DC, a vegetarian from DC and her boyfriend from Denmark.

As soon as we arrived to the floor where our friends live, I could smell turkey and sage ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú which seemed like a good sign. Everyone brought food to share and everything was delicious. For those interested in Shanghai specific, here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s the menu as I recall it.

Turkey with rosemary and sage and gravy
Dressing and stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Pumpkin muffins
Brown rice with vegetables
Marinated mushrooms
Danish mushrooms
Grilled vegetable salad
Dutch Apple Pie with vanilla ice cream

All in all, it was a terrific meal and a fun day ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú just like home.