Here I go writing about food again, but how can I resist when Thanksgiving is right around the corner? I have always had an affinity for Thanksgiving.  It may just possibly be my most favorite American holiday. We had the same lovely tradition for so many years of traveling to my grandmother’s house where all of my wonderful extended family would come together on a (usually) pretty snowy day and celebrate with loads of turkey and all the trimmings. The best bit of it all? The PUMPKIN PIE of course!

Now, as far as I can tell, pumpkin pie would not be something that the Irish necessarily love…even though the famed Jack-O-Lantern has it’s roots in Irish lore, the pumpkin does not get the same celebrity status as in the USA.  I’ll never forget the time when Richard and I were still dating and I was visiting Ireland during Thanksgiving. I decided on a whim that I would make Thanksgiving dinner for his whole family. I mean you can’t NOT celebrate Thanksgiving, right? I brought over pumpkin and cranberry and other pantry items to be on the safe side..along with my trusty Martha Stewart recipes that I had chosen for that year. We used a turkey from the farm (don’t ask the details about that) which was lovely and I began making this extravagant meal that I thought everyone would surely love and appreciate. Well okay, maybe I just wanted them to love and appreciate ME.

So. The first thing that went wrong was that I was oblivious to the fact that there would be differences in oven temperatures. Here, we use celsius, not fahrenheit so I had to do some major conversions which drove me a bit mad. Then, the same with the measurements! Everything is in metric so instead of cups I had to work in mls and grams. The last time I used grams for anything I cannot discuss here, but let’s just say it was a long time ago so as you can imagine converting ounces to grams to mls to cups and back again completely did my head in.  Still, somehow I sorted it out and made a gorgeous meal for everyone.

We sat down in the formal dining room and started to eat. I was happily taking in all the compliments and actually feeling a little chuffed when I was posed with the question of “So, Imen, is Thanksgiving a Jewish holiday?”.  Huh?  I told myself not to giggle. I answered eloquently, explaining the history of Thanksgiving (Charlie Brown style, of course) that no,  it was not Jewish, but that Jewish people do, in actual fact, observe the holiday with all the other Americans. They were fascinated and nearly ate every last morsel that I had prepared. Success!

But then came dessert. The famous pumpkin pie. I wish I had videotaped the faces on everyone as they took their first bite of this yummy sweet/savory delicacy that we love so dearly in the USA.  Surprise. Delight. Terror. No expression just fast gobbling. Sheer happiness (me).  And then, out of the blue, a quote uttered by Grandma McDonnell, “Tis Different”.  A phrase which I learned much later had meant “It’s Rotten”.  I find this quite humorous and touching. She actually thought it tasted rotten, but ate it all and never said a bad word to me.

Oh well, it’s still my favorite. And Richard and Geoffrey love it too. (Really!)

Mind Yourself,


Photo courtesy of Food Network

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6 Responses to ““Tis’ Different””

  1. DC says:

    Just discovered your blog and absolutely love it! I, too, am an American married to an Irishman and this post in particular resonated with me. My husband’s Donegal farming family was a little skeptical when he announced he was marrying a city American, until one evening when, on a whim, I made them dessert in the form of Bananas Foster (my native New Orleans’ specialty) for them. It was a hit and they suddenly saw me in a different light! We’ve been a happy clan ever since, and they still ask me (in the distinctively Irish way of not directly asking but heavily hinting) to make Bananas Foster when we come to visit. :-)

    • imen says:

      Yooooom Bananas Foster! I write about that in my book actually! Banoffee reminds me of B Foster. Donegal is gorgeous, lucky you! I swear we should do a meetup sometime, there are so many expats here now from the States!

  2. Ana Day says:

    Your post reinforces my belief that Irish people appreciate one’s effort. One of my favourite desserts is ¨doce de abóbora¨, which you can Google (pictures) and find out it’s made of pumpkin. Nice post!

  3. […] 18:30 Irish Reaction to Pumpkin Pie – ‘Tis Different […]

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