A couple of my classmates and I planned a Thanksgiving potluck at school to celebrate this wonderful American tradition. This was only my second Thanksgiving spent away from my family, so I was definitely feeling a little homesick. The potluck was a huge success! My classmates and I had a fantastic time eating our hearts out and feasting on an international array of food, including Chinese tea eggs and French cheeses. We literally demolished all of the food. One of my classmates made 5 kilos of beef (almost 9 lbs. of meat) and we licked that pot clean. Another of one of my classmates made homemade pumpkin pie, including making the pie crust from scratch and cooking a real pumpkin for the filling. I explained to her that in America, we tend to make pumpkin pie from a puree that comes from a can. I was so impressed with everyone’s contribution.
For the potluck, I wanted to make mashed potatoes so I researched online and found the absolute best recipe for mashed potatoes. The trick is to steam them and not boil them. It’s amazing how different the consistency of steamed potatoes are. My mashed potatoes were smooth and naturally creamy. I had to refrain myself from eating the entire pot. I posted the recipe at the bottom of the blog post.
On top of celebrating at ESSEC, my alma mater, University of Southern California, also held a Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. Apparently, it’s the biggest event that the USC Alumni Association of Paris plans. We had people join us from London, Munich and Madrid! I was very impressed because the alumni association rented out a restaurant for 60 people. AND, our free-range turkeys were flown in from Italy! While Paris does have roasted turkeys for Christmas, most butchers don’t have turkeys available this early in the year. Leave it to USC to get creative to make sure we, Americans, got our tryptophan fix.
On top of a great meal, there was also a fun trivia game and our table won (go team 5)! There were definitely some memorable moments like dancing to PSY’s “Gangam Style” and Christophe serenading the room with Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” Our prizes were USC alumni T-shirts, which is perfect because I didn’t bring any USC gear with me to France. Thanksgiving in Paris was a blast and I’m glad that I was still able to celebrate with friends and family (because at USC, we are all part of the Trojan family).
Best Mashed Potatoes of Your Life
- 1.5 pounds of potatoes (some argue Yukon gold potatoes make the best mashed potatoes)
- 3-4 tablespoons of salted butter (cut into smaller slices)
- Wash and peel potatoes
- Cut into quarters (or smaller pieces if potato is large)
- Steam potatoes for 25 minutes (In a pot filled with water, I placed a small porcelain plate upside down and then a larger saucer plate as my steaming plate. I cracked my smaller plate whilst steaming. I recommend you get proper steaming equipment like a silicone steamer.)
- Drain potatoes in a colander
- Mash potatoes with a fork, add butter and as much salt as desired