How to celebrate an American thanksgiving in London

Is that the timer for the pie or the stuffing?” I think frantically. In my kitchen, covered in flour and with all my ingredients strewn about the place like a child’s bedroom, I am in the process of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for my friends. It will be my second Thanksgiving spent away from home in New York, and my first time cooking the entire meal by myself.

Before moving abroad, my typical Thanksgiving consisted of helping or watching my mother make an elaborate meal. She’d have everything planned out beforehand: pies and cranberry sauce made the night before, turkey de-gibletted, rinsed and stuffed before breakfast then onto mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and other side dishes.

The preparation was seamless, each dish coming together after the next and all warm and ready by the time the family sat down. I soon realise my naivety in expecting my own experience to have a similarly smooth cadence.

I begin the day by taking the bus to the nearest Sainsbury’s. I live in a residential area in Peckham and the little shops near my house simply won’t do for the feast I am preparing. I need a US-style superstore, something I’ve weirdly found myself missing living in the UK. Even though I know they’re terrible, the ability to buy a sweater, hiking boots, cheese and toothbrush all in one go is exhilarating.

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