Thanksgiving in Sweden

This week, Thanksgiving is celebrated on Thursday, the 26th of November, in the United States. What you might not know is that Thanksgiving takes place a whole month earlier in Canada! Hence, on the 12th of October (i.e. prior to the new COVID-19 restrictions being implemented in Stockholm), I had my own Canadian Thanksgiving lunch with two friends, in accordance with the public health recommendations at the time. In this blog, I will tell you where you can find all the right ingredients to commemorate Thanksgiving in Sweden, which recipe to follow for the best-roasted turkey, and finally how you can adapt some old traditions in a new country.

First and foremost, if you come from anywhere other than North America, this entire holiday may seem very foreign. However, I like celebrating Thanksgiving because it is an excellent opportunity to reflect upon and appreciate the things and people in your life that you are grateful for. If there is anything 2020 taught me is that it is important to be thankful for all the blessings you are lucky to have.

Me pretending to help my friend Nora in the kitchen

If you are looking to venture into the kitchen and cook a proper Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, you should be familiar with Mr. Stuffed Turkey and the best way to tackle such a challenging bird. I was able to find a 4 kg frozen turkey at one of the bigger ICA’s in town and I got really lucky because it was the last one on the shelf! It is crucial that you plan ahead of your Thanksgiving celebration to allow the turkey to thaw properly, otherwise you are looking at a bad case of food poisoning! For this reason, I let the turkey sit in my fridge (not freezer) for 48 to 72 hours (usually the recommendation is 24 hours for every kilo) before the date. The last hour prior to you placing it inside the oven, you should let the turkey sit at room temperature on your kitchen counter.

Prepping the turkey

Next, you need my favourite thing of all – the STUFFING! When I say I could survive off of eating stuffing for life, I am not joking! But where to find the box mix filled with this magical stuff (pun intended) that back home is always on sale at every Walmart? Well, the only place I found that sells it is The American Food & Gift Store according to Charles located on Sveavägen 106. They sell everything you need for Thanksgiving, including the same brands of cranberry sauce and gravy mix that you would find in North America.

Now, the scariest part of this whole experience – actually preparing and cooking the turkey. I had Googled the “easiest” (i.e. most painless) recipe to cook a turkey and this one was what I followed in the end. I must say it worked out better than I (and my friends lol) ever expected! For our first time cooking a whole turkey by ourselves, we ended up with this lovely result:

Roasted turkey

The side dishes were much less nerve-racking, of course. We cooked some normal and sweet potatoes in the oven (sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic spices), boiled some green beans, and made the stuffing and gravy in a small pot on the stove. In my opinion, the final aesthetic (see below) was worth the 4 hours in total it took us to get the entire meal ready, which was devoured in less than 30 minutes haha.

Finally, we did my favourite Thanksgiving ritual that involves going around the table and saying the first thing you are thankful for that comes to mind. It’s a cheesy display of emotion but I really enjoyed doing it with my new-found friends!

Where’s my Michelin star at?

All in all, it was nice to share this holiday tradition with two of my new Scandinavian friends here in Sweden. We were all so amazed at how well the whole lunch turned out haha, we might do it again once the pandemic is over! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Francisca Leonardo - Molecular Techniques and Life Sciences

Francisca Leonardo - Molecular Techniques and Life Sciences

Hej! My name is Francisca. I come from the faraway land of the supreme maple syrup, aka Canada. I’m the blogger for the Master’s Programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science at Karolinska Institutet. I love to write about my experience as a student in my programme, a newcomer to Stockholm, and a rookie at life in general. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, making music, sketching the city’s landscapes, and reading about anything and everything that interests me.


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