Thanksgiving is Saved

By Meredith Mani

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving 2020 will be a chance for all of us to focus on the “thanks” part of the holiday and less on “giving” friends and family a lavish dinner. This year, we are allowed to celebrate with just family and maybe a friend or two. Paring down Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean doing without. In fact, with a bit of creativity and planning, this might be your most memorable Thanksgiving yet.

Setting the scene

Whether this is your first Thanksgiving in the Netherlands or your 25th, this year is unique and offers an opportunity to celebrate this holiday as intended — from the perspective of gratitude. Set the scene for this gratitude by creating a table that encourages everyone gathered to express their appreciation for the bounty they have received over the last year.

Flowers are a simple and beautiful way to set the tone. Luckily, Amsterdam has fantastic and inexpensive flowers everywhere. Russet and jewel-colored flowers and branches make beautiful arrangements this time of year. You can also go out into nature and gather some large colorful leaves to scatter on the table or line a hurricane lamp.

Member Sherrie Zwail, a decorator, offers several resources for finding themed décor. “I usually buy autumn leaves at the flower kiosk next to AKO,” Zwail says. She also suggests ordering online from Beekwilder, Pipoos and Seizensdecoratie.

Zwail, who has lived in the Netherlands for years, has some creative ideas for setting a grateful table. “I ask everyone to send me a message ahead of time of what they are grateful for. I print each out and randomly place the message under each plate. During the dinner each person reads the message under the plate out loud,” relates Sherrie. She also collects small rocks and puts one at each place setting along with brightly colored nail polish so each person can write what they are thankful for and take home the rock after dinner. Sherrie also suggests printing out random Thanksgiving facts and putting those at each place setting, as well, then having people read them out loud during dinner. It sure beats talking politics with family!

Cooking your own bird

Dutch ovens weren’t built to cook large turkeys, so over the years, members have devised several clever ways to get around the problem of too-small ovens. Some will split open a turkey so that it cooks flat. Others roast a chicken or individual Cornish Game hens instead of a big bird. Karen Savage suggests trying the turkey hack of buying only the breast from your local butcher or market. Cornish hens can be found in many places; even Hanos and Albert Hein have them. Wonderful Cornish hens can be found at the Paul de Wit stand at the Saturday market in Oud Zuid.

If you’d like to try roasting a turkey yourself, Chris Kip at the Albert Cuyp market is extremely popular for fresh turkeys. The sizes of turkeys here in the Netherlands are smaller than the massive Butterball turkeys we are used to seeing in the States. Martha Canning has years of Dutch turkey-buying experience and says, “Slagerij de Leeuw is the Gold Standard when it comes to Thanksgiving, but there is a price attached! AWCA member Cyndee Rose uses Chris Kip and makes the good point that, “More than ever, we should support local businesses; these market vendors are still there everyday, doing little business.”

In Amstelveen, Laura’s Poelier/Traiteur is one of the well-known places for sourcing your turkey. If you have children at the International School of Amsterdam (ISA), you will have had their Thanksgiving/American breakfast. Those turkeys are provided by Wagenaar Poelier Traiteur. Wagenaar Poelier is also famous for their chicken balls (they are addictive little things) and is located very close to the ISA.

For our members living outside the city, ‘t Gooi Area Rep Hélène Garofalo recommends De Larense Wildhandel. She swears this will be “the best turkey you’ve ever had!” Floor Poelier is also a good source for turkey, she adds.

Near Haarlem, Slagerij Rob in Zwanenburg has been the go-to turkey provider for years. Rob will order the turkey based on your size specifications, and he will even roast it for you in his large oven. He will stuff the turkey using his recipe or you can drop off your secret family recipe and he will use that. Pick-up needs to be arranged in advance. Taste of Home on Gedempte Oude Gracht in Haarlem has canned pumpkin and other imported American and English specialties!

Let someone else do the cooking...

Sometimes, it’s just easier and more efficient to have the entire meal delivered. Martha Canning continues her recommendation of Slagerij de Leeuw: “You can order a turkey from them [that is] free range from France, and it will be the best turkey you've ever eaten in your life — seriously. You can also have them cook the turkey for you, and choose between you delivering your homemade stuffing to them ahead of time to stuff the turkey, or letting them stuff it with their own stuffing. This is a great option for people with a small oven. They also offer side dishes, gravy, etc., so you can basically order your whole Thanksgiving meal from them. Be sure to order ahead of time, as last minute is not an option.”

There are also plenty of restaurants that would appreciate your business. Frank’s Smokehouse normally has a week of Thanksgiving-themed meals, culminating with a Sunday buffet. If coronavirus rules ease, Frank’s restaurant will be open for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, their deli is open and they are taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving delivery. They are still able to cook and deliver a complete Thanksgiving feast, offering turkeys in two sizes: 3 kilos (serving 4-6 people) and 5 kilos (serving up to 14 people). All the turkeys are imported from France and are organic, free range turkeys. They stuff them with a vegetable based, gluten-free stuffing or can leave the stuffing out. The turkeys are smoked, which creates a juicier, tender bird and will fill your home with a wonderful aroma. In addition to the turkey you will get gravy, a sweet potato dish, potato gratin, cranberries, and either NY cheesecake or pecan pie. They deliver all over the Netherlands so, no matter where you are, you can still gobble up this deal. Frank’s is also offering AWCA members a 10 percent discount on all purchases for the remainder of the year, including Thanksgiving. Just use the code AWCA2020 at checkout.

Pendergast is a smokehouse barbeque restaurant in Amsterdam — “inspired by the culture of Prohibition-era Kansas City” —  that is owned by an American. He offers smoked turkey and pecan pie all season long. Contact them to order if you’d like to try Thanksgiving from Pendergast. It might be fun to do something other than turkey since it’s been an unconventional year anyway. Maybe a Thanksgiving brisket will right the world again.

...or do it yourself after all

Love to cook and can’t imagine not providing the full spread yourself? We have your resources! Kelly’s Expat has a store here in Amsterdam and another in Wassenaar. But let your fingers do the shopping by ordering online and have holiday fixings sent to you. It’s best to order as early as possible if you’d like to snag canned pumpkin or Stove Top stuffing. Tjin’s in de Pijp also has Thanksgiving staples like marshmallows and pie filling. Eichholtz Delicatessen on the Leidsestraat sells products for Thanksgiving and all major holidays. Lindenhoff is a gourmet food delivery service and market that offers many items for your holiday table. Why not mix your American traditions with local Dutch products? Lindenhoff sells fresh cranberries from Terschelling.

And don’t forget the drinks!

What would Thanksgiving be without good wine and spirits? Fortunately for us, we have two members who are experts in this area. Julee Resendez is a Master Sommelier who will find wines that pair perfectly with your meal and deliver your order to your doorstep. “Wines, you can get through me. Rieslings, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabs are great with turkey. We can even do American wines, and support wineries that need our support due to fires and Covid…everyone is hurting there,” says Julee. She added, “This month's box is female winemakers... so [it’s] quite a fun box.” You can contact Julee through her website www.vanbelleacademy or by messaging her on our Facebook site.

It’s been a tough year, so maybe you’d like something a bit stronger than wine. Member Bianca Kahlenburg has a line of all natural, no-added-sugar, gluten-free, infused vodkas. Her company, Starship Spirits, is offering AWCA members a special Thanksgiving Cocktail kit with all the ingredients to make your very own Pumpkin Spiced Mules at home. The kit, including a 70cl bottle of Starship Spirits Ginger Lime vodka and recipe card, can be delivered for €60 by emailing Bianca at

Be thankful!

Whether your table has a Cornish Game hen for one on it or a turkey for as many people as the law will allow, this year it is vital that we all count our blessings and be thankful for what we have. Be thankful you have the opportunity to live abroad, that you have your health, that you live in a world with technology that allows you to FaceTime and Zoom with loved ones far away, and that we are all in this together. Some of us have dealt with loss this year or are experiencing professional uncertainty because of Covid. Not every day is easy, and it can be hard to find gratitude when you feel things are out of control. Know that we at the AWCA are grateful to have you in our sisterhood. We are here to raise a glass in friendship or to lend an ear in hardship. Together, even during difficult times, we are here for each other and support each other. In the words of Mother Teresa, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”

Where to Go Shopping: Markets in Amsterdam and Beyond

Amsterdam Markets

Before Covid-19, Amsterdam markets used to be crowded, bustling places. Now stalls must be spread out, and many vendors are operating with fewer stalls. Check the market status before visiting, and be sure to follow current government guidelines for the coronavirus.

  • Albert Cuyp Markt — This famous market is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00. It is one of the largest markets in Amsterdam, with produce, flowers, food vendors (fresh stroopwafels and Belgian waffles, yum!), clothes, household goods and more.
  • Dappermarkt — With over 250 stalls that offer fresh produce, clothes, plants, and specialty foods, this market is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00 on the Dapperstraat in Amsterdam East.
  • Flower Market — Floating on the Singel canal, there are probably more souvenir stalls here than flower stands these days. It is open daily for your shopping pleasure, Monday through Saturday 9:00 - 17:30 and Sunday 11:30 - 17:30.
  • IJ-Hallen — Located in Amsterdam Noord, this is “Europe’s largest flea market.” Unique products such as home furnishings and clothing are offered, but it’s a good excuse to take the free ferry from Central Station. There is an entrance fee to the market, however.
  • Museum Market — Usually held on the third Sunday of the month from 10:00 to 18:00 on the Museumplein, this market has lovely, quality goods and international food stands, too. 
  • Noordermarkt — Three markets in one! Open on Saturday from 9:00 to 16:00, the Noordermarkt offers antiques, decorative objects, art, textiles, books and more. There is an organic market, as well, with food and goods, and the Lindengrachtmarkt has fresh fish, flowers, fruits and more. The Noordermarkt is also open on Monday from 9:00 to 13:00.
  • Pure Markt — This market travels between three Amsterdam parks (and occasionally Hilversum) every Sunday from March through November. Most stalls are food-related, and the other 30% are a mix of home, lifestyle, fashion and accessories. 
  • Sunday Market at Westergas — This is a great market for art, fashion and design. There are places to eat indoors and out, and there is live music. Set within the Westerpark, it makes a great outing for the entire family. Open the first Sunday of every month from 12:00 to 18:00.
  • Ten Kate Markt — This market is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 to 18:00 in Oud West, next to the Food Hallen. Stalls sell produce, flowers, freshly prepared food, household goods, and other products.
  • Waterlooplein — The oldest flea market in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands) is located near Amsterdam City Hall and takes place Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to 18:00. It features a truly eclectic mix of junk, treasures, and everything in between.

Markets near other AWCA areas

Haarlem There’s an organic market the first Saturday of each month from 10:00 to 15:00. The Grote Markt takes place on Monday and Saturday from 9:00 to 16:00. It’s got a bit of everything: food, flowers, household goods, etc. 

You’ll find the Botermarkt on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, generally from 9:00 to 16:00, and each day features different products. Second-hand and vintage clothes are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays feature books and antiques, and a wide variety of organic wares are for sale in the farmer’s market on Fridays. On Saturdays, it becomes a general produce market with a wide range of flowers, vegetables, fruit, cheese and bread. 

For occasional markets (special antique markets or Christmas markets) in Haarlem, you can check Haarlem’s special market page.

Heemstede has a market each Wednesday from 9:00 to 16:00 on the Valkenburgerlaan.

‘t Gooi and Nearby

Amersfoort — There are several markets in this lovely city.

Baarn — The Brink market is open on Tuesday from 8:30 to 14:00 and offers fresh fish, bread, produce, prepared foods, and home goods.

In Bussum, market day is every Thursday from 8:00 to 16:00 on the Wilhelminaplantsoen. Market Day in Naarden-Vesting is on Saturday from 7:00 to 13:00 at the A. Dortsmanplein. Great to combine with shopping at the quaint boutiques on the adjacent Marktstraat!

Hilversum — This twice-weekly market (Wednesday and Saturday, from 8:00 to 16:00) is an easy 5-minute walk from the main Hilversum train station. It offers cheeses, bread, fish/meat, produce and delicatessen items as well as other typical market products, such as clothing/textiles, flowers and household goods.

Utrecht On the Vredenburgplein there is a farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and an organic farmer’s market on Fridays. The oldest flower market in the Netherlands is every Saturday from 8:00 to 17:00 at the Janskerkhof. There is a massive fabric market (lapjesmarkt) every Saturday from 8:00 to 13:00 on the Breedstraat (for everything from clothes to curtains and upholstery). For more information on exact locations and times, visit Gemeente Utrecht.

Do you have any questions, comments, or more markets to share? In the American Women’s Club member's only Facebook group, you can join the lively conversation! Not yet a member? We’d love to have you!

Applying the Lessons Learned from our Mothers

By Meredith Mani

These days, everyone is trying to stretch the supplies they have on hand. People are baking their own bread, looking online for recipes that use canned goods, and finding hacks to get around missing ingredients like yeast. The Greatest Generation — the one of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers — pioneered these skills during the Depression and in periods of shortages during WWI and WWII.

What can we learn from these wise women and apply to our life now? When resources are scarce and time is plentiful, there is actually a wide variety of things you can do. Here is a short list. What can you add to help out our members?

  1. Regrow your grocery scraps. Seriously, this is easy and is much faster than starting from seed. There are two types of scraps you can regrow: tops and bottoms. Bottoms include celery, bok choy, romaine, spring onions, fennel, leeks and garlic. Tops include beets, carrots, radish and turnips. The principal for both is the same: Cut or leave the veggie with 1-3 inches intact, fill a small jar or bowl with 1 inch of water and place the top or bottom in it, and put in a sunny space, like a windowsill. Then all you need to do is change the water every day. You are now growing your own food and reducing food waste.
  2. Get creative. No yeast to be found? Sourdough to the rescue. It takes a week to start but then you have all the rise you need to bake everything from English muffins to baguettes. You can also make bread with beer or bake a cake with Coca Cola. If you do have some yeast, stretch your supply by making a Poolish (also called pouliche, a bread starter) from 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, ¾ cup room temp water and ¼ teaspoon yeast. Mix in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and wait 12 hours. the mixture will then have the lift of a full package of yeast. Remember to subtract the flour used in the Poolish from the recipe you’re using it in.
  3. Start a Corona victory garden. Many veggies are easy to grow in pots on a balcony or rooftop. Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers are the easiest. Save your old egg cartons and either sow directly in soil in each cup of the carton or put soil in an empty and clean eggshell half and then put in the carton. Water as needed until your sprout is a few inches high. Then you can easily replant in a pot in the garden by either cutting around the carton and planting each cup or by delicately transferring the individual eggshell halves, cracking the shell lightly as you plant. Eggshells provide the added bonus of feeding the roots as the plant grows. More start-a-garden tips from NPR!
  4. Waste not, want not. Grab a big zip top bag and start slowly filling it up with vegetable scraps and peels and herbs to make your own broth. Throw in onion skins and tops, carrots and celery that’s wilted, thyme that has gone off-color, those itty-bitty cloves of garlic in the middle of the bulb that are impossible to peel, and even chicken bones. Keep it in the freezer until the bag is almost full and then toss it all in a medium-sized pot along with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar if you have bones in the broth; simmer for several hours. Let cool and then strain. Freeze in pint size bags and/or ice cubes trays. Ice cube size broth is perfect to throw into rice or add to a recipe that just calls for a little. If, for some crazy reason, you have leftover bits of wine, these also freeze nicely in ice cube trays and are great for adding to a recipe that needs a splash of wine.
  5. Repurpose glass jars. Glass jars can be used as containers, drinking glasses, pretty votive holders on the porch, or storage containers for nails. I like to use them to make quick jars of pickles or small batches of jams. Save your orange and citrus peels and you can make an easy marmalade to store and use in the refrigerator — no pectin required.
  6. Extend, extend, extend. Make the most of your meat by extending it. Add diced potatoes or a can of black beans to taco meat. Lentils or oatmeal can easily be added to meatloaf or meatballs to stretch a meal. Give new life to old food by bringing back Sunday Soup. To make this soup, put all your leftovers and odds-and-ends veggies into a pot, add a can of tomatoes and some spices, maybe even some rice and noodles, and you have a delicious dinner and a clean refrigerator. Remember: THE MOST EXPENSIVE FOOD IS THE FOOD YOU THROW AWAY.
  7. Make it at home. Sure, this is true for food but there are also lots of personal care items you can whip up in your kitchen. You can make dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, room spray and multi-purpose counter spray at home using simple ingredients like corn starch, essential oils and white vinegar. While you’re at it, stretch your soaps by adding a little water to the bottle when they are 1/3 of the way down. Today’s products are highly concentrated, so you won’t lose effectiveness but you’ll gain many more uses.
  8. Wear an apron. You realize you have now officially become your mother, right? I know, I know, but wearing an apron while you are cooking or doing messy tasks will keep your clothing from getting stained.

We all need to be creative throughout the home and in our kitchen to help family members adjust to being quarantined. Thankfully, as expats, we have had to learn to adjust before and are all the stronger for it. There are no tricks or hacks for the mental fortitude it takes to get through an event like we are currently living though. Reach out to friends and family through FaceTime or Zoom to stay connected. Ask for help when you need it and know you are not in this alone. AWCA women have always taken inspiration from the women who went before us. They have handled wars and crises and upheaval we can’t even imagine. But they stayed strong and relied on each other to get through while they were far from home. You got this.


Your Local Food Delivery List

As part of the AWCA's efforts to encourage physical distancing, flattening the curve, and staying safe and healthy, we are sharing our favorite local food and grocery ordering resources. We have a Google form where you can submit your best ideas, and an always up-to-date list of those responses.

Don't forget our Benefit Partners and your fellow members! There are lots of great food and drink products on these pages, and supporting them supports us: