An American’s guide to Thanksgiving in Beirut

So a few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea of blogging about how to prepare a Thanksgiving meal in Beirut.  This was our 6th Thanksgiving in Lebanon, so I figured I had a pretty good handle on what was available and where.   I was going to talk about how canned pumpkin starts disappearing from the shelves around the end of October, but fresh pumpkins are in season through mid-November.  I was going to tell you that the cranberry sauce is on the top shelf of the baking aisle, just above the chocolate chips and sprinkles at TSC Verdun.  Spinney’s Hazmieh was the best place to get a turkey, as they have a wide range of sizes, though you should plan on spending around $40 if you need one more than 3 kilos.  I was also going to mention the whole display of Thanksgiving foods, including boxes of Stove Top stuffing, in the exotic food aisle at the same Spinneys.

That’s what I was gonna blog about.  I headed to Spinneys Hazmieh to get a picture of the Thanksgiving shelves to include in my post.  And. it. wasn’t. there.  Nor was there any cranberry sauce.  In any of the six grocery stores I visited.  No orange sweet potatoes anywhere either.  The only turkeys we could find were between 3.1 and 3.9 kilos and wouldn’t you know it, cans of pumpkin were literally everywhere.

So, my advice to Americans living in Beirut looking to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving?

Hoard it.

If you see it on the shelf, even if it is the middle of July, buy it.  Buy it all.

This is not Beirut.  If it was, I'd be in big trouble.

This is not Beirut. If it was, I’d be in big trouble.

In the end, it all turned out more than okay.  A desperate facebook plea led to an exchange of canned pumpkin for cranberries.  I found a guy who told me he had orange sweet potatoes.  I bought three kilos, but discovered that only one was actually orange.  But they still tasted great.

See the little orange ones in there??

See the little orange ones in there??

And the turkey…  well, I’ll allow Ruby to let you know how the turkey was…

due to rainy weather and ridiculous upload times, this video is currently unavailable

No football to watch, but we had a great lunch with fun friends, and even if I’d never found the cranberries and ALL the potatoes were white, we still have so much to be thankful for.

Hope your holiday was just as full as ours!


3 thoughts on “An American’s guide to Thanksgiving in Beirut

  1. I hear ya. We usually bring our canned pumpkin, box of Stove Top Stuffing and canned cranberries in our suitcase 9-12 months in advance. We too, do our share of hoarding.

  2. Do you ever shop at Metro in Galaxy Mall? They had (I think still have) canned pumpkin in abundance and often have stove top stuffing mix, though I just make my own stuffing from scratch in my slow cooker. I’ve seen cranberry sauce in Metro and our local Bou Khalil, though I wasn’t responsible for cranberry sauce this year, so I wasn’t really on the lookout recently.

    • Never been to Metro, though we did check Bou Khalil for cranberry sauce. I also made the stuffing from scratch this year, but I actually really like the Stove top stuff, haha!

      Seems the stores finally figured out the necessity of canned pumpkin this time of year, haha, I’m seeing it everywhere right now! Makes me feel a little silly for stocking up on it all summer! :)

      Hope you guys had a good holiday!

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