Butternut Squash Gratin; Culture shock

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

Despite what a lot of people believe, it's not a holiday anywhere in Europe.

European countries have lots and lots of other holidays, but not Thanksgiving.

Our first non-Thanksgiving was when we lived in Ireland.  We'd only been out of the US for two months and were feeling a little homesick after calling the family in Wisconsin.  We decided a dinner out was in order.

This was at the height of the 'mad cow disease' scare and the waiter told us this joke:

A man and woman come into the restaurant.

Waiter to man: What will you have?

Man: I'll have the steak.

Waiter: What about the mad cow?

Man: She'll have the fish.

We laughed politely but were clueless.

It was several years later that we learned that, while Americans refer to a certain type of woman as a female canine, the Brits and Irish refer to her as a female bovine.

That's our memory of our first Thanksgiving after leaving the US.

For our second Thanksgiving, we had just moved to Andorra and had lunch at a rather bad buffet.

By the third year we had joined a golf group who held their 'End of Season Event and Lunch' on 'American Thanksgiving'.  I have no idea why – could have been pure coincidence. 

For the next few years we spent Thanksgiving Day playing silly golf games, eating too much good food and drinking too much good Spanish wine.

By the time we moved to France, we no longer missed Thanksgiving.

Besides, it's almost impossible to find a turkey here in November….

They don't appear in the stores until 2 weeks before Christmas.

We still enjoy all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods – especially the side dishes.

Try this one for your table this year.

Butternut Squash Gratin

10oz (300 gr) butternut squash, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried sage, crumbled
1 tsp tomato paste
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp olive oil

In medium bowl beat eggs well. Add yogurt, Parmesan, tomato paste, sage and nutmeg. Mix well. Add squash and mix well. Lightly oil a small baking dish. (I use a 8 inch square baking dish) Spoon in squash and bake at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes or until set. Remove and serve directly from baking dish.

7 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Gratin; Culture shock”

  1. My favorite of all our holidays is Thanksgiving, so I’d miss it dreadfully if I lived abroad. But your idea of enjoying the sides is a good one – that’s the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, anyway.

  2. Oh this sounds and looks fabulous. I love the idea of a gratin that is not smothered in heavy cheese, cream and butter. I love butternut squash and eat it from september to march or so. Thanks for sharing!
    I hope whatever you do this Thanksgiving is very enjoyable!

  3. Awesome recipe! I know how you feel in a way, since my daughter lives in England. So many things different there. And so many things she misses. Her family (us) also live in Wisconsin!
    Small world isn’t it?

  4. Ha ha ha I love that joke, actually! And I do not celebrate Thanksgiving here – haven’t in 25 years except the one time we happened to be back in the US one end of November. But Americans just don’t get it – that we don’t celebrate. It doesn’t mean we don’t love having friends over for dinner, just not Thanksgiving. But I do love that Butternut squash gratin!

  5. Zoomie, I always enjoyed it, too, but it’s about the people…. Maybe. someday. we’ll meet other Americans and have a party!
    Elizabeth, absolutely…. I know yours is about a month earlier – when it’s still nice outside – usually….
    Sc, Hmmmmm
    Denise, we eat it as long as it lasts…. usually until about the middle of February. It keeps well LOL
    Curt, small world indeed. I grew up on the Minnesota border – the Mississippi….
    Jamie, yeah, we can still have the dinner with all the trimmings… I found a small turkey a few years ago and made the whole bit just for us!

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