Last week I experienced my very first Thanksgiving dinner, hosted by the wonderful Brad McDonald, in conjunction with French’s mustard. Myself, and a wonderful group of food writers and bloggers, were treated to an incredible feast of the most delicious foods. It was a very memorable experience and had me wishing that we had a similar holiday here in the UK. It was heartwarming to hear both Brad and his wife’s personal experiences of Thanksgiving and what it means to them. The idea of bringing everyone together – family, friends and even strangers – was lovely to hear. I grew up in a rather small family and am an only child, so although Christmas has always been very special, it has never felt quite like what they described. I love the idea of bringing everyone you know together, each contributing in their own way to the meal itself, and just rejoicing and enjoying each others company. It sounds fantastic!
Of course, the food itself is another big reason why I would like to create our own Thanksgiving tradition. The fusion of flavours, textures and colour was great. Each element brought it’s own deliciousness to the plate, and it was hard to decide what to eat first. We could’ve done with a giant fork to be able to pick a little of everything up at the same time!
At Christmas we traditionally have turkey, and so I felt super festive tucking into Brad’s beautifully roasted turkey, but I actually enjoyed the wonderful glazed ham more. Ham is not something I eat that often and is never my preferred choice, but this was absolutely delicious. Served with a French’s mustard gravy, the pair went hand in hand together. This pairing of flavours has me wanting to try ham more often.
I should really explain a little more about the evening, as it wasn’t us simply sitting down to a feast prepared by Brad. In fact, we each contributed to the meal ourselves, in Thanksgiving tradition! We were split into two groups and tasked to create a warm potato salad and a green bean casserole, following Brad’s lead.
We even made our own potato salad dressing, using French’s mustard and our own bechamel sauce for the green bean casserole. The latter was something I’d never heard of before, a green bean casserole, but it was one of my favourite elements to the meal. Rich in creamy goodness from the sauce, the green beans added a brilliant texture to the dish and were so indulgent that you couldn’t help going back for seconds!
The potato salad we each made was served in a wonderful green pumpkin and the table was adorned with lit candles, bottles of wine and of course French’s condiments!
As we lined up to be served by Brad, our mouth’s were watering at the sight of all the delicious food. I found it a really nice idea to serve everyone like this too, rather than already having your food dished up on the plate. It’s great to have someone carve the meat at the table and pass the dishes around serving everyone. I can just picture the atmosphere on the day, celebrating with friends and family over fantastic food and great wine – so much fun!
I can’t finish this post without mentioning the incredible desserts that surprised us after we’d finished our main. I had never tasted pumpkin pie before, so when I saw these cute, individual pies come out of the oven, I almost squealed with excitement. Pumpkin pie is delicious! It was nothing like what I expected. I have previously had pumpkin soup before and hated it, so I was hesitant but excited to try a sweet pumpkin dessert. Thankfully I was not disappointed and my taste of pumpkin has been restored. The pies were so creamy and sweet, and the caramelised pumpkin seeds on top were something else!!
Accompanying the pumpkin pies were also pecan pies with a scoop of bourbon cream on top. Yum!! Although we were all ridiculously full from all of the incredible meat and vegetable dishes, we had to squeeze in one of each of the pies. It would’ve been rude not to!
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Have you ever experienced a Thanksgiving dinner? I’d love to hear your stories and traditions 🙂