This year was the first Thanksgiving that I did not have a traditional Thanksgiving feast. This was partly due to the fact that I did not realize that Thanksgiving was on Thursday until Wednesday morning. Therefore, by the time I googled ‘Thanksgiving Dinner in Shanghai 2017’, most of the venues said ‘reserve at least 72 hours in advance’. The few places I was able to make reservations at told me the list of foods that they offered and to my surprise, none of them provided the two Thanksgiving dishes I was craving the most, stuffing and mac & cheese.
Every year since I was little, whether it was in the States or Tokyo, my family would either buy or prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal. During my time at boarding school, we had a dinner before we were off on Thanksgiving break called ‘March of the Turkeys’ where the Turkeys we raised from poults and then served as the main course. Everyone would help to prepare the meal, and the teachers would then serve it to us during the grand feast. No matter where I was, Thanksgiving has always been filled with an endless supply of my favorite comfort foods and being unable to find them hit me pretty hard this year.
I called every Thanksgiving dinner place available in Shanghai asking if the had ‘stuffing.’ A lot of the people who answered my call had no idea what I was talking about and kept responding with “Yes, we have turkey” in Chinese. After poorly explaining to them what stuffing was, most places said “I’m sorry we don’t have that” or if they did they responded with “We’re full for tonight.” Another place that was recommended to me by friends was so busy that night that they weren’t even able to pick up the phone. I began searching for grocery stores that carried premade Thanksgiving fixings, but stuffing and mac & cheese were unavailable or sold out.
Right when I was about to settle for pizza, I stumbled across ‘Dutch Pies’ which was a pie store that had thanksgiving specialty pies. I placed an online order with them for pumpkin pie, expecting that they’d also be ‘sold out. However, they called me back within 30 minutes saying that they could make a delivery that night. I was super excited and decided to go out to the local foreign grocery store right before they closed to grab a box of mac & cheese to make myself. The only downside was that the pie shop was only selling large pies for Thanksgiving and it was a splurge considering I just had one other person to share the pie with. Nonetheless, even though I wasn’t surrounded by a large group of friends and family eating a turkey feast like before, it was worth it because I was so happy to share the night with someone I cared about while eating pumpkin pie and mac & cheese. Before the weekend ends, I plan on making stuffing myself for the first time, so we will see how that goes!
- Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie: Yuka Niwa