Anyone who has been brought up on a diet of American films and TV knows the importance of Thanksgiving in the US. Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November this public holiday originated as a harvest festival and the event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.
With visions of plump golden turkeys, pumpkin pies and picture-postcard gatherings of family and loved ones, all giving thanks for their blessings, you can see why this ‘holiday’ is a big one in the US. But it seems that, as with so many things, this occasion has made its way over the pond to good old Blighty. With restaurants like Dirty Bones, The Breakfast Club, Jackson & Rye, The Big Easy and even the Savoy Grill jumping on the Thanksgiving bandwagon to make the most of this US tradition.
And who can blame them? The Office for National Statistics estimates that 197,000 US-born immigrants were resident in the UK in 2013 (the most recent stats to hand) so that’s an audience worth going after. MCA Insight also cites occasions as a leading driver when it comes to eating out, so why not Thanksgiving (even if it’s not native to our little island) we are after all a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, American included.
But how is Thanksgiving being affected by other trends in the market like the rise of veganism? Well it would seem even Thanksgiving turkey is not sacred, as the latest foodie fad to hit your social media feed is being proffered as an alternative to Turkey this thanksgiving. With watermelon ham making a stand to become the go-to vegan option this November. Even for meat eaters this might be one way to avoid turkey overload over the festive season, with Christmas on the horizon and the obligatory multiple Christmas dinners with work, friends and family. So whether it’s a traditional spread or a contemporary twist, next Thursday is set to be a busy one in restaurants up and down the country as Thanksgiving is celebrated. Inspired to head out and join our American cousins on 22nd? Here’s where to celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. Or if you’re in the big smoke, check out these top Thanksgiving menus in London.
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