How To: Have Thanksgiving in a Country with No Turkey and a Dorm with No Oven

Happy Thanksgiving from Amsterdam! I was getting really sad being so far from home on this holiday. The biggest struggle was coming up with a game plan on how to make (or where to go out for) Thanksgiving dinner. When I say there is no turkeys in the Netherlands, I am not kidding. On Thanksgiving the only way to get a turkey is to talk to a butcher and have them pick one specifically for your family size. This was way too extreme for me, so I moved onto the next option. Turkey burgers. Is it a surprise that the Netherlands doesn’t have those either? Next option?! Any type of bird. Because we couldn’t find a rotisserie chicken at any grocery store (c’mon Netherlands this is one situation where you can take advice from America), we picked one up from a butcher.

Step 1:

Frantically search to try and put something together that reminds us of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Step 2:

Settle for any type of bird, and pick up a rotisserie chicken from Slagerij Buhrs, a butcher shop with an abundance of chicken.


Step 3:

To make it feel like a home cooked meal, we made traditional holiday vegetables, green beans with almonds and onions. Of course we also made some cranberry sauce with orange juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Step 4:

DESSERT. We all know this is the most important part anyways. Since I still have no freezer or oven, the options were limited. We decided on doing a sweet potato dish with brown sugar and marshmallow, and an apple with oats dish that tasted more like apple pie to me. I’ll be sure to post these recipes soon.

Step 5:

No thanksgiving dinner is complete without going around the table and explaining to your guests what you are thankful for. I am extremely thankful to be where I am today both physically and mentally. My past was a lot of heartache but its gotten me to the person I am today, and for that, I am thankful. Second, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to study abroad, specifically in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has truly felt like home and I will always have a deep love for this city.

There were many times throughout the day I was stressed at the thought of preparing all the food for my company but I realized I lost sight of the purpose of the Holiday. I needed to be thankful and not stressed. This is something I will work on for future holidays and when I travel.


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