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Food: An Expat Thanksgiving

How an American brought the most American of holidays to Paris

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published November 26, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.

"While living in Paris for several years, my husband and I faithfully traveled back to Arkansas every Thanksgiving to join the family at my parents’ house for a traditional Thanksgiving feast," writes Rebecca Sabounchi.

"The many friends we met while living in Paris — not only French, but many other nationalities from the far corners of the world — were fascinated with the idea of 'La Fête du Thanksgiving.' For the French in particular our Thanksgiving meets all of the French criteria for a grand holiday event: 'un grand repas' (a great meal), a family gathering, and a reason to celebrate that is traditional and, in a sense, patriotic. 'Le patrimoine' is the French word that describes the shared sense of tradition, cultural heritage and history that surrounds and envelops our Thanksgiving celebration. As it turns out, our Thanksgiving is not only the most American, but the most French, of all our holidays.

"As we described to them the various dishes that compose a traditional Thanksgiving meal (Southern style, of course), I suddenly found myself volunteering to bring Thanksgiving to Paris, to our new friends, who were so caught up with the idea that it seemed a shame not to share the experience with them. That very evening, I locked myself into preparing a Thanksgiving meal for a multicultural group of Parisian friends on the approaching holiday. There would be no pilgrimage to Arkansas this Thanksgiving. For the first time, we would spend the most American of holidays in France."

To find out how, read Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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