Last year I spent Thanksgiving in Hamburg, Germany, with an old college friend. I was living in Stockholm and needed to get away for a few days and be with Americans who understood how important it was to get fat together.
I don’t remember anything about cooking the dinner except that we carried up a heavy brining bucket from the cellar and that there were too many shallots in the fridge that would stink up the entire kitchen whenever we opened the fridge. The dinner itself was lovely: turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, biscuits, mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, various salads, wine and (delicious) beer. The company was about twelve ex-pats and their German boyfriends and girlfriends, some of whom did not speak English at all.
The day after Thanksgiving we took a long stroll along a snow-covered river and later went downtown. Overall, Hamburg is a very bougie city, but there are some very gritty parts that are super interesting, like this artist colony area where the government basically leaves them alone to graffiti or whatever they want. Buildings have no heat or locks on the doors and visitors can enter as they please; some residents offer coffee or tea for a few Euro. We wandered, not a little nervously, into a shoe cobbler’s atelier. He was young and handsome with kind, sparkling eyes. He offered us apples while we looked around, which we politely declined. I found it funny that although there were bigger problems (the heat, for example), he was grumbling over the wireless connection not working on his iBook. He told us how laborious it was to create a pair of leather shoes that would be custom fit to someone’s foot, and that because of the sale price, he could afford to work on one pair at a time and enjoy the craft. We stroked the shoes carefully, each model he brought to us. Then we thanked him and left.