The Dutch Connection to Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US and I won’t be celebrating as I have in the past, since I’ll be working. (Take pity on me working on a “holiday” and come visit!) Since I’m usually starting the cooking today (cornbread, pecan pie), I thought I’d reblog this old post about the Dutch connection to Thanksgiving, particularly as it’s been getting a few hits in recent weeks. Also, if you’re in Utrecht and looking for baking soda or molasses, or corn meal, I recommend visiting one of the tokos in town. There’s one across from Blokker by Hoog Catherijne, and there’s a new one that has opened across from Tivoli-Vredenburg (next to a Chinese restaurant). They’re the best places to find baking soda and corn meal (I use the dry polenta). There’s an expat food shop on Steenweg, but be prepared to spend an arm and a leg on anything there. I think €6+ was the going price for one can of Libby’s pumpkin purée, so consider buying the frozen pumpkin pieces in the grocery store and making your own if you’re desperate and broke. Whether you’re celebrating or not, try to take a moment to think about what you have to be thankful for. It’s good to remember the positives.

A Flamingo in Utrecht

Old Greensboro

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and happy Thursday to those who don’t. Regardless of your nationality, it’s always nice to take a moment to think about the good things in your life and be thankful for them, be they big or small. It’s a nice reminder when things aren’t always going so well.

Although Thanksgiving is seen primarily as a North American holiday (our Canadian neighbors to the north celebrate a few weeks before we do in the US), there still is a Dutch connection to the holiday. In fact, the Pilgrims spent approximately 12 years in the Netherlands, around Leiden, before actually heading to the new world. There’s even a Pilgrim museum in Leiden, which gives a bit of history on their time there, and includes information about the origins of the Thanksgiving celebration, which may have begun during their time in the Netherlands. As mentioned in

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4 thoughts on “The Dutch Connection to Thanksgiving

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you, even though you won’t be celebrating 🙂
    How strange about the pilgrims!! I had no idea. And I’ve never seen that museum, in spite of living in Leiden for a year!

    • This was a not-so-happy thanksgiving this year, but hopefully next year will be better, though still on a Thursday, which won’t help. 😉 I still remain astounded that I never learned in school about the Pilgrims coming to NL first. Were there separate groups of Pilgrims? One group came here and the other went straight to the new world? Or was it just a US-centric education? Who cares that they went anywhere else! Oy.

  2. Hi, I am new to the Netherlands from the US and I love to cook, but it has become a evil thing for me as I can not find products that I normally use. I want Velveeta Cheese Blocks (not slices), any idea where to find those and cheddar blocks? I found your site because I was looking for cornmeal to make cornbread muffins and hushpuppies, would you mind sharing any thoughts via email as to where are best places to buy American items? Thank You!

    • Welcome to the Netherlands! Unfortunately, finding a lot of American products isn’t easy. I’ve never seen Velveeta in any form at any expat shop. For cheddar, your best bet is to find a local cheese shop and buy a chunk of cheddar that you can cut up yourself. It certainly can be challenging and you’ll probably find that you have to change some recipes or just get rid of them all together, unfortunately. I honestly don’t know where to buy American items outside of Utrecht (and even here, there’s only one store on Steenweg that is a mix of UK and US foods and extremely expensive). Your other best bet is to find some of the Asian market stores near you. They’re the ones that sometimes carry some familiar American items. Good luck!

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