“I am grateful for what I am and have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual.” -Henry David Thoreau
It is no secret that when we gather all of those we love most and get our fill of delicious food it is one of the best things ever, but I believe the most special part is taking the time to appreciate all of the gratitude and love we have in our lives.
Obviously, the Thanksgiving holiday is only an American tradition, which began 395 years ago. However, the act of coming together to feast and give thanks is a universal idea, celebrated by every country and every culture. The traditions celebrated during this holiday season are what make it such a special time of year.
When Anna Mikkelsen began to prepare her first Thanksgiving feast in the late 1800s in her new home of Chicago, chances are she made traditional Danish dishes of roast pork or duck, brunede kartofler (browned potatoes), rugbrød (rye bread), and æbleskiver (Danish pancakes), and she wouldn’t have forgotten the Risalamande (rice pudding) or risengrød (hot rice pudding).
As a Danish immigrant, and one of the twelve founding women of Foreningen for Opforelse at et Dasnke Alderdomshjem i Chicago (‘The Society for the building of a Danish Old Peoples’ Home in Chicago), Anna had carried many traditions and recipes with her to America, which made that first Thanksgiving for her family so special. The sharing of culture, new and old, create those cherished traditions.
Anna, Emma, and their friends and loved ones gathered around a beautiful abundance of sustenance for both the appetite and spirit that day. The most delicious Danish delicacies were lovingly prepared, and perhaps some newly learned American Thanksgiving recipes as well.
The most important ingredient we all will use this Thanksgiving is gratitude, so be sure to spread that on thick tomorrow!
In Danish, tusind tak translates to ‘a thousand thanks’ and this sentiment is a theme that should be visited, as Henry David Thoreau reminded us, throughout the year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from The Danish Home of Chicago!
Hej, impress friends and family this holiday with these Scandinavian phrases:
Smaklig måltid! Swedish for: Have a nice meal!
Velbekomme! Danish for Bon Appetite!
Vær så god! Norwegian for You’re Welcome!
Verði þér að góðu! Icelandic for You’re Welcome!
Hyvää ruokahalua! Finnish for Enjoy Your Meal!
Do you have a wonderful holiday tradition, recipe or story? Don’t forget to enter the Spirit of 125 sweepstakes today to win cash and prizes!!!