The Melding of Cultures on Thanksgiving

By: Béatrice Peltre

Related To:

La Tartine Gourmande Thanksgiving Inspiration Board

When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what's inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor's recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

I first discovered the traditions surrounding Thanksgiving when I moved from France to the United States fifteen years ago. I had come to teach at an American university, and my friend Margaret invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I still remember how cozy and warm the holiday felt to me; how the food – though different – was similar to some of the dishes my family ate while I was growing up.

I come from a rural area in Northeastern France where in these months, we grow plenty of winter squash ( red kuri squash being a favorite), as well as apples, pears and root vegetables like celeriac and parsnips. Our cooking is filled with walnuts, chestnuts and mushrooms. To me, these foods are reminiscent of France in the fall.

Amazingly, where I currently live in New England, autumn is similar: the trees are magnificently colorful, apple picking abounds and we’re surrounded by beauty. These elements – and lingering memories of rural France – inspire my cooking.

Over the years, we've often attended Thanksgiving at friends’ houses, but this year, I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's Irish family. And I sure am excited.

While some of our foods will follow tradition, I’ll be adding my unique twist. We'll start with small appetizer verrines that will showcase layers of ricotta mousse and squash purée with greens and nuts. A kabocha squash and apple soup with spices will follow. I will prepare a red cabbage, celeriac and apple salad, and will bake a potato, celeriac and butternut squash gratin with turkey and stuffing. And for dessert, we'll most likely indulge in something with chocolate and fruit, like chocolate and pear clafoutis. My menu will be a hybrid of my French roots and my American home – simple, delicious foods that speaks to our varied backgrounds.

We will be thankful to be sharing this special moment together, combining our French, Irish and American cultures. I hope you all have a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving, too.

For more Thanksgiving ideas, visit our Thanksgiving Inspiration Board Gallery.

Béatrice Peltre is the food writer, stylist and photographer behind the award-winning blog La Tartine Gourmande, wherein she tells stories about her life and food, illustrated by recipes and photographs. She is the author of the book La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life (Shambhala Inc.), currently on pre sale. Béatrice was born and raised in rural France, from which she draws her love for locally homegrown produce and nature.

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes from Cooking Channel

Next Up

Everything You Need to Ace Thanksgiving

Follow our schedule to get ready for Thanksgiving with recipes, how-tos and tips.

Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine share their Thanksgiving traditions, creative ways to spruce up desserts and inspiring ideas for splitting up the workload.

Thirsty Thursday: Give Thanks with The Casserole Cocktail a.k.a. The Sweet Potato Cocktail

Start the holiday season off right with this cocktail capturing the flavors of the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole.

Taking Charge of Thanksgiving

Irvin Lin shares his favorite things about Thanksgiving, from planning the menu to who he invites to his Thanksgiving table.

Top 10 Thanksgiving TV Episodes

Here's some of the most-memorable Thanking television that you'll probably watch while eating leftovers.

Don't Forget to Decorate: Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Get ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving table (traditional, modern and rustic).

Party in Five: Modern, Rustic Thanksgiving Dinner

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year's feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we're bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Appetizers

Serve a few simple snacks before your Thanksgiving feast to keep guests happy and out of the kitchen.

On TV

Taco Trip

8am | 7c

Taco Trip

8:30am | 7:30c

Food Truck Nation

9:30am | 8:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

10am | 9c

Unwrapped 2.0

10:30am | 9:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

11am | 10c

Unwrapped 2.0

11:30am | 10:30c

Good Eats

12pm | 11c

Good Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Good Eats

1pm | 12c

Good Eats

1:30pm | 12:30c

Man Fire Food

4:30pm | 3:30c

Man Fire Food

5:30pm | 4:30c

Man v. Food

6pm | 5c

Man v. Food

6:30pm | 5:30c

Man v. Food

7pm | 6c

Man v. Food

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Man v. Food

8pm | 7c

Man v. Food

8:30pm | 7:30c

Man v. Food

9pm | 8c

Man v. Food

9:30pm | 8:30c
10pm | 9c
11pm | 10c

Man v. Food

12am | 11c

Man v. Food

12:30am | 11:30c

Man v. Food

1am | 12c

Man v. Food

1:30am | 12:30c
2am | 1c
3am | 2c
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Sundays 10|9c

So Much Pretty Food Here