1. Track down a turkey – or choose not to
As you may have noticed, there aren’t exactly rows of frozen turkeys on offer in German supermarkets as in the US come November. But there are still options if you’re set on noshing on some slowly roasted North American fowl.
High-end department stores, like KaDeWe in Berlin, often provide the pricey opportunity to scoop up a frozen turkey, but you can also try calling up a local butcher to order one in advance.
An alternative is to settle for a whole chicken or goose – much more common in grocery stores – or simply pick up part of a turkey, called Pute or Truthahn in German.
2. Find food substitutes
Cranberry sauce is a classic accompaniment on Thanksgiving. Photo: Deposit Photos.
As with turkey, sometimes you can’t always find the right ingredients you need for American fare. Take cornbread, for example. The most important component is cornmeal, but this doesn’t really exist in German cuisine. The best substitute that this American has found is called Maisgrieß – and it always turns out delicious.
On the other hand, thanks to globalization there are ever more North American products on offer in German supermarkets, especially Edeka, Lidl and Kaisers, many of which often have small ‘American’ sections.
I’ve spotted cranberries in Kaisers for the past several years, and even once in Aldi. But a substitute can also be Preiselbeeren, known as lingonberries or cowberries in English. They have a similar taste to cranberries and can be found already jarred as a jam or preserves in many German supermarkets.
3. Find the right equipment
Tracking down a proper pie dish can be another challenge since apparently this treat is not so common in Germany.
For future reference, if you love making pies, it’s probably a good idea to have an American bring a pie dish along on their next visit – or pick one up yourself when you’re in the US.
But when you can’t get your hands on one in time, try getting creative with a tart or torte pan, or Tortenbodenform.
4. Learn to convert into metric measurements
If you’re looking to use grandma’s traditional cornbread stuffing recipe, but realize you have no clue how to measure out the right proportions using the metric system, don’t worry.
There are plenty of online converters to do the hard work for you – like the one on Allrecipes.com
And if you’re really in doubt, try using a similar recipe by a British website instead (which like the BBC tend to have grams and ounces).
5. Go to an already planned Thanksgiving dinner
If you decide to just skip the hassle of tracking down ingredients through multiple stores, there may be at least a couple pre-arranged Thanksgiving events in your area – even some with (American) football on offer. Take a look at any local American bars, hotels or restaurants to see what they have planned.
Here’s a list of some to consider, and some may require reservations. Some also take place over the weekend, and one belated celebration in Cologne occurs on December 7th.
Hard Rock Cafe Thanksgiving lunch celebration
November 28th, starts at 12 pm
Thanksgiving cooking course at Kochwerk
November 28th, from 6 pm to 10 pm
Thanksgiving Buffet at Dasclubhaus
November 28th, from 6:30 pm to 10 pm
The American Club’s Thanksgiving Dinner
November 28th, from 6:30-10:30 pm
Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at Das Auswanderermuseum BallinStadt Hamburg
November 28th, from 6:30-11pm
Veddeler Bogen 2
Thanksgiving Dinner at Grand Hotel Hessischer Hof
November 28th, from 6:30 pm
American Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet at Champions
November 28th, from 6:30-11:30 pm
Hamburger Allee 2
Thanksgiving at Schloss Vollrads
November 28th, from 6 pm
65375 Oestrich-Winkel / Winkel
Thanksgiving Dinner and American Football at The Kennedy’s
November 28th, from 5 pm
Friday Thanksgiving Dinner at Meatingraum
November 29th, from 7pm to 10 pm
Thanksgiving Buffet at Tivoli Restaurant
November 28th, from 6 to 9 pm
Sunday Thanksgiving Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe
December 1st. Menu available from 12 pm – 10 pm
Belated Thanksgiving Dinner at Restaurant Mederanno
December 7th, from 7 to 10 pm
Article updated November 27th, 2019.