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Thanksgiving for beginners

Thanksgiving – celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November – is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas songs try to say otherwise, but it just doesn’t get better than expressing gratitude for all you have in your life, getting together with loved ones and stuffing yourself silly with one of my favorite Thanksgiving classics – pumpkin pie.

The Thanksgiving tradition started with Pilgrims feasting to celebrate their first harvest in the New World (that’s America), and although the holiday remains quintessentially American (Canadians celebrate it too, but on a different day), it’s easy to join in if you master the essentials with our beginners guide to Thanksgiving.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BIRD

A turkey should be front and center at your feast – whether it’s roasted, grilled or fried. Keep in mind that cooking usually takes several hours, so be sure to get an early start. When the turkey’s in the oven, get started on all those sides…

THE OTHER STUFF IS IMPORTANT TOO

It’s not a Thanksgiving without cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and apple pie with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream to top it all off (some classic recipes here.) Pumpkin pie is an absolute must as well, and despite pumpkin being the main ingredient, the pie is in fact a sweet dessert!

MAKE THE CRANBERRY SAUCE AT HOME

This side is so easy to make. Add 200 grams of sugar, 200 milliliters of water and 1,000 grams of cranberries to a pot and boil for 10 minutes. Serve cold and impress everyone.

PUT ON THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season – which means it’s totally acceptable to turn up Dolly Parton’s Home for Christmas album and try memorizing The 12 Days of Christmas all over again.

BE GRATEFUL

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. My family’s tradition is to go around the table and share one thing we’ve been thankful for in the past year. It’s emotional every time and brings everyone together in a really nice way.

Gobble gobble, as the turkey says! And don’t forget – ending the day in a food coma because you’ve eaten SO much is proud tradition where I come from!

Image by Satya Murthy, Flickr / Creative Commons

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