Friday, November 23, 2007

No turkeys in Finland

Yesterday was the US holiday Thanksgiving. Wikipedia has more on the history of Thanksgiving, which is an interesting read, especially if you like discovering hidden history.

Thanksgiving is the last Thursday in November, and starts the Christmas shopping season. (Friday is usually crazy in the department stores and shopping malls.) In the US, we celebrate by spending time with our families, eating turkey with stuffing (or dressing, as they say in the southern US), mashed potatoes, cranberries (jellied, in the shape of the can it comes in, or berries, and pumpkin or pecan pie (a southern favorite). Thanksgiving dinner has always been one of my favorite meals. So much so, that I have been known to make a Thanksgiving dinner at weird times of the year, just so I can enjoy the food.

Unfortunately, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Finland. And, the last three years I have been in Finland on Thanksgiving: 2005 for my interview, 2006 and 2007 having moved here.

It gets worse. Finding a whole turkey ready for cooking in Helsinki has been quite the challenge. You can find turkey in the lunchmeat section of the grocery stores, and, occasionally find a turkey breast in the frozen or fresh meat section. We found a meat market in Hakaniemi that will place a special order for you, but when we ordered it last weekeend, they said the earliest they could get us the bird would be in early December. So, it looks like I will finally celebrate Thanksgiving in early December.

We have a can of cranberry sauce in the closet from when Stockmann's department and grocery store was having its fall sales period "New York state of mind", where they sold all kinds of stuff from the US. Potatoes are easy to come by in Finland, and we have made some very good stuffing in the past for roast chickens. So, we should be all set to go when Timo the Turkey arrives.

Anyway, my loving fiancee Yvette, recognizing that I missed out on my favorite meal of the year, took me out to a movie and then for Italian dinner at Don Corleone's in Kamppi. We both ordered the italian sausage, another specialty food that is next to impossible to find in Finland. So, although we didn't sacrifice a bird last night, we celebrated Thanksgiving in a unique way.

Image from


At 10:12 PM, Blogger angie said...

Now I thought that stuffing went in the turkey but dressing is when you make the same mix of things but don't put it in the turkey.

My favorite sandwich (discovered in Dublin): roast turkey (though I often substitute chicken), dressing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. I call it the Thanksgiving sandwich.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger stindu said...

I have once celebrated Thanksgiving with my neighbors while I lived in the states (Virginia). I have found it increasingly confounding that many of my American friends ask if finnish people celebrate Thanksgiving. I was taught in elementary school (in Finland) that only Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and the story behind it. I find it funny that my American friends' foreign friend has to teach them about Thanksgiving. :) -Toveri


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