Turkey hand crafts and duck confit

So I’m breaking with chronology a bit here (I’ve still yet to post about my trip to Spain last weekend. It’s coming, I promise! And I’m way behind on catching you up with how things are going on the teaching front and with my recent forays into French bureaucracy), but I feel like Thanksgiving is slightly more time-sensitive than the other topics.

Today marked my second Thanksgiving in France (and thus away from the fam). My first was directly preceded by an all-nighter spent writing a glorified book report about France’s colonial ambitions in South America and ultimately involved an attempted (and failed) traditional Thanksgiving celebration organized by IES.

And last time, I was surrounded by Americans.

This time, I was really, 100 percent on my own.

I went into today planning to do a fun an informative turkey-hand Thanksgiving lesson with les enfants before coming home and eating some mashed potatoes.

But after my first two festive lessons this morning (and upon receiving a Thanksgiving card from my cats—thanks, mom!), I decided that even though I’m a lone American in a country that’s already getting jazzed for Christmas (Every time I leave the house there are more lights up! Don’t they know that the earliest you can get away with putting up X-mas decor is Black Friday?!), I was going to do Thanksgiving justice.

So I went to the market and bought some out-of-the-ordinary (for me) items—mostly just a cuisse de canard confit and some brussel sprouts—to add to my preexisting assortment of potatoes, a butternut squash, onions and walnuts.

I started cooking during my lunch break so that I wouldn’t be cooking into the night. Then I finished everything up when I got home from work around 5 p.m.

Finished product: Duck confit; garlic mashed potatoes; gravy made from some duck fat; mashed butternut squash seasoned with honey, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (it tasted like the lovechild of sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie filling); brussel sprouts sauteed in duck fat with garlic, onions and lemon juice; pomegranate seeds (in lieu of cranberries); and a roquefort-walnut scone from the market.

And as an added bonus, some of the kids gave me their turkey hands as gifts! Naturally, I put them on the fridge. The turkey on the left was done by one of the teachers’ aids, the one on the right was the sample done by yours truly, and the one below was done by a seven-year-old.

Bonne fête de Thanksgiving, all you crazy kids!



  1. I’m so glad you decided to celebrate Thanksgiving! That meal looks way better than the one I am going to prepare over here in the old U.S. of A. (And I’m happy to see that your cats back home are properly festive.)

  2. Also, I adore the turkey hands. Good for you, mlle. teacher!

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