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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Thanksgiving Thoughts in Russian

25433Lots of things still don’t compute for our kids, home from Russia now for 4-5 years except for our oldest.  When it comes to holidays, it can be a comedy of errors as far as what they understand.

I send forth my first verbal volley.

“What’s a traditional Thanksgiving meal consist of?” I wonder aloud.

“Turkey!” they enthuse correctly.

“What else?  What about stuffing?  And what’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?”

Sashenka, the youngest at 13, pipes up.

“Dressing is what you put on the turkey,” she explains.thanksgiving-turkey

I decide to clarify.

“That’s how you cook it, on top of the turkey?”

“No, you put it on the turkey, so it doesn’t get dry,” she points out.

“Oh, like salad dressing-?”

That’s it.

thanksgivingThis is when I realize that she thinks that dressing is gravy, similar to salad dressing.  Usually, in our house, the food comes already served, prepared on their plate, and they don’t have to ask for things by name.  This could explain a lot.

“No,” I tell her, as well as the other teens who haven’t even ventured a guess, “stuffing is cooked inside the turkey, and dressing is either baked by itself in a casserole dish, or cooked on the stove.”

“What else?” I ask.

“Squash soup!” they call.

“You’re right, that’s what we enjoy, but probably not the majority of Americans eat this on Thanksgiving.  How about thanksgiving dinnerside dishes?”


“No,” I laugh, “that would tend to be ‘us’ again.”

So, I end up telling them about green bean casserole with mushroom soup and French fried onion rings on top.

Benedetto further elaborates, “It’s the American way to take a perfectly healthy vegetable and turn it into a high-fat, high-calorie part of your meal–.”

sweet-potato-casserole“And then there’s sweet potato casserole, where you take the inside of the sweet potato, cook and mash it with butter, add brown sugar and marshmallows on top, before baking it in the oven,” I add, ignoring him.

“Is it a dessert?” they wonder.

“Should be, but it’s not,” I try to stifle my smile.

“But where did the pioneers get the marshmallows from–?” Pasha, generally a day late and a dollar short, puzzles.

“These are traditional Thanksgiving foods from our time, not from the Pilgrim’s time,” Petya tries to help him.  “They didn’t have the technology back then for marshmallows.”

I wonder what marshmallow technology might involve, and ask Plimoth Plantation Recreates World Of The Pilgrimsinstead,  “Anything else you can think of in terms of Thanksgiving foods?”  I try one last time.

“Root beer floats!” another tries, and we decide to call it a day.

Soon enough, they’ll get to savor it all for themselves, building memories that hopefully will last till next year this time.


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