Week 48: Thanksgiving and Zibelemärit dinners

A week of yummy, American and Swiss food festivities. What could be better when blending celebrations? Well, aside from, of course, the stretchy yoga pants I need to live in for a while.

Onion braids, a popular decoration found at the onion market, hung in homes through the fall

First, Thanksgiving. We decided to introduce Dominique’s family to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner the weekend after the holiday.

Turkey. Stuffing. The works.

Trouble is, I’ve never made Thanksgiving dinner for anyone other than my partner and myself.

The plan was fine but, there were two missing ingredients.

Most noticeably absent from my local super market was the star of the show. Apparently, the turkey makes few appearances at Swiss tables. In fact, the only cuts of the big bird I could find were not even whole breast, but very thin cutlets. There aren’t many recipes out there for cutlets so I had to merge a few and cross my fingers.

Also missing from the Swiss kitchen — lard. I wanted to make some biscuits but everything I’d read said that while you can substitute butter, lard results in a fluffier, flakier (read yummier) biscuit. But outside mass production factories, baking fat was nowhere to be found.

On the actual holiday, Dominique’s and my stomachs were the test subjects. I tried a new recipe — turkey with mushrooms, tarragon and paprika — with cranberry orange sauce, non-fluffy biscuits, potatoes with gravy and pumpkin pie.

Pretty yum and we didn’t get sick! Sadly, the pumpkin pie looked like someone had.

I sent Dom back to the two separate markets where we (I mean, he) finally found the pie ingredients and round two, with the in-laws, was a success, including the pie.

A day later, in Bern, was Zibelemärit, the annual onion market. It’s said to be a centuries old celebration that honored residents of neighboring Fribourg. Bern allowed them to sell their onions in the city in honor of their help after The Great Fire of 1405 burned much of the city.

From this grand tradition comes market stalls that open at 4 a.m. and end in late afternoon with a big confetti fight in the over-packed streets. Somewhere in the middle you can find all sorts of onion based goodies. I wasn’t able to go this year, but we were able to partake in the spoils.

Our Zibelemärit dinner comprised Chaschuechli (cheese quiche) and Zwiebelkuchen (onion quiche). Delicious. And our kitchen is now adorned with a traditional onion braid.

I love starting the holidays through my stomach!

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About Tara McLaughlin

I'm a stay-at-home mom to two girls in my boyfriend's hometown of Bern, Switzerland. Life as a new mom in a foreign country has been, in so many ways, rewarding and challenging. I will document that journey here, on Another 52 Weeks.
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One Response to Week 48: Thanksgiving and Zibelemärit dinners

  1. I’ve been a SAHM in a foreign country for the last nine years or so, so I hear ya.. The hubs is French and we moved to France shortly after having our first daughter in 2004. I can totally relate to trying to get together a traditional thanksgiving feast in a country that doesn’t recognize the holiday. The hardest for me is usually finding a whole turkey, and cranberry sauce. Everything else can be improvised or made from scratch. But, thankfully, we live close enough to Paris that we can get the hard-to-find items like pumpkin filling and cranberry sauce at an American epicerie. Sounds like you had a successful dinner!

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