Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving in Tokyo

Nothing will make you miss home more than the holidays. For me, this especially means Thanksgiving. I totally get being annoyed by the stress of Thanksgiving. The travelling. The family. The football. But until you've been separated from the tradition at least once in your life, you won't truly appreciate what you have. Last year, I pretty much ignored Thanksgiving. I thought at least that way, I could pretend it never even existed and it wouldn't hurt so much that I wasn't with my friends and family. It only semi-worked. So this year, I tried my best to embrace it. On Wednesday night, I baked 2.1 pies for my co-workers in the hopes of bringing some holiday spirit to my quiet and semi-antisocial officemates. I baked until 1am and suffered my first baking casualty ever - a little burn on my arm from taking the pies out of the oven. Youch!

The taste of home was much appreciated (even by the Aussies in the house, who eat pumpkin pie at Christmas before they go swimming on the beach - weird, right?) with the exception of a few needy folks who asked if I also brought whipped cream. I told them the same thing I tell 4 year olds: You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. 

 Some leftover batter for a teeny tiny pie. 

For Thanksgiving Day, I made reservations at Beacon in Aoyama. They do a really nice Thanksgiving dinner every year. I ate here for my first birthday in Japan last year so I knew I was in for a treat. To make things even more fun, I got to treat my Japanese friend to her first Thanksgiving dinner ever! It was adorable. 

 Smoked salmon with curried egg salad on rye toast and mixed baby greens. Just like Thanksgiving at home, salad is just a formality. This came after a pretty mind blowing cream of seasonal wild mushroom soup. 

 Peace! (At Thanksgiving) 
 Beacon did a nice job with the sides. Very seasonal, very earthy and very Thanksgiving. Brussel sprouts with shiitake, creamed cauliflower and pearl onions, whipped candied yams with sour cream and toasted pecans. 
 Oh, why hello there Mr. Turkey! Thank you for invited your friends apple, chestnut and sausage stuffing and cranberry-persimmon relish. Please make yourself at home!

Cute story #1: After eating her turkey, friend exclaimed "I just don't understand why we don't grow Turkeys in Japan!" 

Cute story #2: I tried to explain the tryptophan-induced turkey coma thing at dinner but it was really loud and I had a hard time explaining why it makes you sleepy. When we parted for the evening, I told her that she'd probably fall asleep on the train. She emailed me today and said: 

i was so sleepy on the train as you said.  it's turkey magic?

Pumpkin cheesecake with pumpkin gelato. No gracias on the gelato but the pie was very good and I much prefer it to the recipe I used for the 2.1 I baked the night before. I've come to the conclusion that I like pumpkin cheesecake pie better than regular 'ol p-pie because it's lighter and creamier. And yes, it was better with whipped cream. 

Blammo had a work related thing to do so he missed the Thanksgiving outing. Thankfully, the portions were so big that I could bring him home leftovers, thus completing my quest to recreate Thanksgiving in Tokyo. Leftovers are the best part anyways, right? 


  1. Many years ago my husband and I had our first Thanksgiving together (married) and I wanted to cook a traditional American feast. Getting the food ingredients right wasn't a problem because we were in the Marine Corps so we shopped at the base grocery store. However, trying to cook all of the stuff on a little bitty japanese stove and oven (the turkey ended up being too big) was a challenge. :o)

  2. You're really brave for at least attempting to cook a turkey in Japan. Do they sell Cheerios at the base grocery store? That is probably the one thing I feel the need to order every month on Amazon.