On November 24, the United States, Canada and some Caribbean islands celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving. A celebration of thanksgiving for the past year’s harvest during which families gather around a good meal. As the event grows in popularity in France, cook, creator and author Héloïse Brion of Miss Maggie’s kitchen reveals its secrets and recipes for a successful party!
On September 16, 1620 the Mayflower leaves England with 120 passengers on board, including many Puritans called the Pilgrim Fathers. Their leadership? The New World, this land discovered two centuries earlier by Christopher Columbus. Two months later they landed on Cape Cod and created the second English colony after Jamestown. In this territory there are the Wampanoag Indians with whom they quickly sign a mutual aid treaty.
The first winter is harsh and half of the Pilgrim Fathers succumb to cold, hunger and disease. When the weather is nice, the Wampanoags teach them everything there is to know about planting corn, hunting and fishing. To celebrate the following winter’s good harvests, Governor William Bradford invites the Indians to their table for a festive meal. Thanksgiving was born. However, we had to wait for President George Washington who formally decreed in 1789 a day of family action and pardon on November 26 of each year.
Over the centuries traditional dishes have taken over the tables, such as sweet potato fries and mashed potatoes, cranberry, cornbread, corn on the cob, pumpkin pie and of course, the famous stuffed turkey, one of which was pardoned a few days earlier by the President of the United States.
Thanksgiving according to Miss Maggie’s Kitchen
Like Halloween, Thanksgiving is increasingly exported to France and fascinates cooks. This is the case of Héloïse Brion alias Miss Maggie’s Kitchen. Passionate about French terroir and Anglo-Saxon culture, this self-taught “lover of sharing” has created her own brand “Miss Maggie’s Kitchen” with which she distributes her recipes and her advice on social networks. Building on her success – she has almost 100,000 subscribers on Instagram – Héloïse Brion launches Parsley, a collection in the field of living arts, she publishes two cookbooks To Miss Maggie’s kitchen And My art of receiving (ed. Flammarion) and signs the menu of the Printemps Femme restaurant “Bleu Coupole”, until the end of January 2023.
Imbued with the French terroir but also fascinated by Anglo-Saxon culture, Héloïse Brion celebrates Thanksgiving every year with her family, a holiday that is particularly close to her heart: “It is a celebration that evokes the idea of sharing, where all hands in. A rare opportunity to thank loved ones and enjoy the good things life has to offer.”
A perfect Thanksgiving table
While the designer pays particular attention to her table, she encourages all decoration enthusiasts to get started and shares her secrets with us to amaze her guests: “For Thanksgiving, the ideal is to use raw materials, such as a linen tablecloth or simply to leave your wooden table bare. Don’t hesitate to bring nature into the interior, arranging fallen leaves from trees or small sticks found in the forest around the plates.”
As for the colours, Héloïse Brion insists on “warm and comforting tones” which symbolize autumn. Orange, yellow, red and green should be dominant. Furthermore, he insists on relief, “playing on the heights of the candles” and inserting key dishes of the season, such as pumpkin: “You can use mini-zucchini, or a larger one, on which you can go to write the Thanksgiving menu in gold marker , for instance.” Simple and practical ideas, to avoid bad taste!
Some easy recipes
Ingredients for 4 people):
250 g of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
50 g of dried blueberries
The zest of an organic clementine
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 c. creamy honey
3 pinches of fleur de sel
2 pinches of 5 crushed berries (or pepper)
Method : to deposit the ingredients in a bowl and mix everything together. Form one or two rolls and place them in the baking paper to cover them like large candies. Put the roll in the fridge for at least 30 min. Take out 5 minutes before serving.
Miss Maggie’s advice: Cranberry butter goes perfectly with toast, cheese, or an omelet.
Spinach and apple salad
Ingredients for 4 people):
60 g of pecans
2 tbsp. Brown sugar
The juice of half a clementine (or orange)
Fleur de sel and pepper
150-200 g of new spinach
1 red apple
100 g of smoked bacon
1 small red onion
30 g of dried blueberries
Organic cider vinegar
Old fashioned mustard
Method : Place the pecans in a small skillet with the brown sugar, clementine juice, and 1 Tbsp. water. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes. As soon as the juices have reduced and the pecans are well coated, pour them onto a sheet of parchment paper and separate them from each other with the help of a spoon. Sprinkle them with fleur de sel. Reserve.
Brown the thinly sliced smoked breast in a fat-free pan then set aside on absorbent paper. Put the baby spinach on a plate. Sprinkle with cranberries, thinly sliced onion, pecans, brisket chunks, and crumbled feta. Cut the apple into thin slices (half a centimetre) and arrange them everywhere.
In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp. cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. old-fashioned mustard and 3 tbsp. spoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, mix and pour over the salad just before serving.
Miss Maggie’s advice: To make the vinaigrette more runny and fluid, just add a mini drizzle of water.
Cinnamon clementine cocktail
Ingredients (for 1 cocktail):
2 tbsp. cinnamon syrup
5 cl of vodka
A few large ice cubes
1 cinnamon stick
For the cinnamon syrup:
100 g of sugar
10cl of water
Half c. cinnamon powder
2 cinnamon sticks
Method : Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Leave to infuse and cool. You can keep it for ten days in the fridge in a closed container. Squeeze the juice of 2.5 clementines into a glass. Add cinnamon syrup, vodka and mix. Fill with ice cubes. Taste.
Miss Maggie’s advice: In order not to spoil anything, you can add the quarters of the remaining half clementine and then the cinnamon stick as a decoration.
Alcohol abuse is dangerous to health. Consume in moderation.