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Talking Turkey With A French Accent

Not long ago, Elissa Leibowitz, a travel writer for the Washington Post contacted me for information about Thanksgiving in Paris. She was working on an article and had heard that we (the Parler Parlor Conversation Group) did a Thanksgiving Dinner for our members.

We did, I explained…when Sharon Morgan had her Soul Food restaurant called Bojangles, but Sharon closed the restaurant this past Spring and moved back to Chicago, leaving us with her Thanksgiving cookbook (an electronic copy is available by emailing Sharon) and no home for our Thanksgiving dinners except our own.

Thanksgiving is that good old secular American holiday that we Americans don’t want to live without, so we manage here in Paris to conjure up our own parties, whether they be in restaurants serving it up, organizations that pool their members or just at home with a few friends and family.

Turkey in France is expensive…a whole turkey is a specialty item one must order from the butcher in advance. Last year’s turkey was just under 5 kilos (11 pounds) at 5.80 euro a, kilo, about $34. That equates to about $3 a pound. Dudley Price, a staff writer for the Raleigh, North Carolina News Observer reported that “consumers are seeing the lowest retail prices in years…” He reports that Butterball brand turkey was cut from $1.49 a pound to 99 cents a pound. What a bargain, by French standards!

But, inspite of the expense, as an experienced cook of turkeys both Stateside and in France, I am here to tell you that there simply isn’t a tastier turkey than a French one. Last year’s turkey was as large as an American model twice the weight, which I speculate is because the meat is leaner and not as dense. This may also explain why French turkeys cook in half the time! The meat is darker and juicier.

Morgan concurs: “You are SO RIGHT about the French turkey (“la dinde”). If the French ever decided to sell them here, they would corner the market…they are so tender, juicy and delicious — not to mention that they cook in half the time, as you said.”

For sweet potatoes, canvas the African markets (Chateau Rouge and lots of others) and for cranberry sauce, you can opt for making it from scratch with real cranberries (“canneberges”) or visiting one of the American markets in Paris for the traditional canned variety (try the department of American products at the Grande Epicerie de Paris of the Bon Marché department store at 38 rue de Sèvres, 7th).

If you’d rather not cook at home, France-Amériques is giving a Thanksgiving Dinner and Dance Party on Monday, November 24th, 8:00 p.m. at 9/11 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 8th. The Embassador of the United States, Mr. Howard Leach, and his wife, will be in attendance. The cost is 65 Euro for Cornell Club of France members and 75 Euro for all others. Reservations are required, contact Curtis Bartosik

The AUC Club Thanksgiving Dinner is Tuesday, November 25th, organized by the AUP, Cornell, Princeton, and Wellesley Clubs with
Guest of Honor Cornell Alumnus Sheldon Austin, Cultural Attaché to the US Embassy. Apéritifs are at 7:30 p.m., dinner at 8:30 p.m. for a traditional Thanksgiving buffet and live musical entertainment featuring the Torcy Jazz Combo! The cost is 35 Euro and takes place at the American University of Paris, 31, avenue Bosquet, 7th. Reservations are required, contact Curtis Bartosik

And if a restaurant is more your style, check the most recent issue of France USA Contacts (FUSAC) for restaurant ads.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. Be sure to read Elissa Leibowitz’s November 16th article titled “Drumstick, S’il Vous Plait, Americans in Europe Can Feast on Thanksgiving Day — With an Accent”

* * *

* Further resources:

* Max’s wine of the month is a bargain not to be missed.

* Foreigners can borrow up to 80% on a home loan. Find out how easy it is.

* Get to know the American Artists in Paris.

* Dream of working and living in France? Don’t know how to go about simply DOING IT? Rose Marie Burke tells you how!

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