American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November every year, while Canadian Thanksgiving falls about a month and a half earlier, on the second Monday in October.
At least in the US, Thanksgiving is all about food. Fall is one of the best times of the year food-wise. Anything -wise is a pretty hard expression for non native English speakers to master, so once you read through the explanation, you get a free Thanksgiving recipe to try as a little reward. You could just scroll down for the recipe, or you could stick it and out and try to learn a new expression. Ready?
Adding “-wise” behind nouns can mean “with reference to…” or “in terms of…” So “food-wise” means “with reference to food/in terms of food.” That’s a pretty awkward expression, which is why we just say “food-wise.” This is spoken English, not formal, written English and is useful when another construction would sound strange. There is no one rule that can tell you when you can use it–it is just a feeling that you have to develop.
I’m doing terribly bad homework-wise. (I’m doing badly with my homework.)
There’s nothing around downtown dinner-wise. (There’s nothing to eat that would be suitable for dinner.)
I’ve made no progress job-wise. (I’ve still got no prospects for my job search.)
What’s he like, appearance-wise? (What does he look like?)
They all kept up with me, drinking-wise. (They could all drink as much as me.)
Did I do the right thing etiquette-wise? (Did I behave properly?)
He seems ok, health-wise. (His health seems ok.)
Here are some other uses of “wise” that are common enough to be one word (no hyphen):
clockwise (“in the direction of a clock”) and counter-clockwise
piecewise (“in pieces”)
Now, for the food
One of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes is for cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is a delicious accompaniment for meat, not only for turkey, but for any wild game in the fall. You can buy this in cans in the US, and when it comes out it looks something like this:
Mmm, appetizing, no? No? Well, it does get better. You can also make your own cranberry sauce that is 100 times tastier (if only because it doesn’t come out of a can).
The following recipe is easy and delicious. You can buy fresh cranberries (from Maine!) at the Albert Heijn this time of year. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Fresh cranberry sauce
1. one 340g bag of fresh cranberries
2. 3/4 cup – 1 cup white sugar (175-225g, depending on your sweet tooth)
3. juice and zest of 1 orange
4. 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
5. a good pour of kirsch (45-60ml)–if you don’t have it, use grand marnier or even rum to great effect 🙂
Put the cranberries and sugar in a saucepan. Zest the orange (grate the rind of the orange into the pan, like this) and then squeeze the orange juice into the pan (don’t add the seeds to the pan though). Add the freshly grated ginger if you like ginger. Turn the stove on medium-high until it starts simmering and then turn it down to low. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have popped. Add the kirsch near the end of the cooking time.
The sauce will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it’s a bit thin when you turn off the stove.
Vocabulary to remember:
a sweet tooth: a craving for sweet things (“I’ve got a sweet tooth.”)
the rind: the hard outer layer of fruit, cheese, bacon, etc.
to zest: when you scrape off the rind of a citrus fruit in small pieces (you can zest a lemon or an orange, but not a kiwi or a banana, yuck!)
to pour: when liquid streams out of a container. a good pour means that you should pour the liquid directly into the pan in the amount you like. You don’t have to measure it, just “eye it”(~guess/estimate the amount that you think is right)
the stove: also called the cooker or the cooktop, this is the hot gas or electric burner that you put the pan on.
simmer: to cook gently at a slow boil, or just below the boiling point. You should see bubbles coming up, but only few and slowly.
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