Thanksgiving can be a tricky holiday to prepare for even at home in the states! All the preparation….finding the perfect turkey…fighting over the last can of pumpkin pie filling in the grocery store aisle! And all this in the country who stocks up on the specific Thanksgiving meal ingredients in preparation for the holiday rush. It is MUCH more difficult to coordinate a Thanksgiving meal in a country that is shocked to find that Pumpkin Pie is a sweet dessert and not something savoury and also only ever eat Turkey on Christmas. Below are some of the tips we’ve learned over our past few Thanksgiving in Sydney.
1. The Turkey
Plan to order your turkey at least one week in advance from your local butcher. We order ours every year from our beloved Hudson Meats. In recent years, Woolworths has stocked frozen turkeys, but it’s not a guarantee and who knows about the quality of those turkeys. That being said, butcher ordered turkeys are not cheap. Expect to pay at least $100 for a good sized one. They also do not typically include the giblets that we like to use for gravy so ask them if they can include them for you.
2. Pumpkin Pie
This is just not a think here. Australians eat a lot of pumpkin, but it’s more of a savoury thing here. And you obviously can’t use real pumpkin to make your pie or else it won’t have that sickly sweet fake pumpkin taste that we’ve grown up with…Let’s be real here – Libby’s canned pumpkin is the only way to go. Again – not easy to find. If you’re organised enough to plan ahead – you can order it from USA Foods or make a trip to Costco to buy a pre-made pit. Otherwise, some grocers that stock Libby’s in Sydney are David Jones Food Hall, Salts, Meats & Cheeses, and Thomas Dux Grocer.
3. Pie Crust
Another thing that is a randomly difficult thing to come by here. I’ve yet to find Graham Cracker Pie Crust anywhere – Graham Crackers are just not a thing here. Maybe the closest thing is a Digestive Biscuit? Anyways…forget it if you’re looking for Graham Cracker crust, but if you just need a regular pie crust – you may be able to find frozen ones at Coles.
4. Pie Crust Ingredients
If, like me, you never go to Coles because Woolworths is way closer so you’ve actually never seen a frozen pie crust…you may decide to make your own. I love this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but it includes some ingredients that aren’t common in Australia. One of those ingredients is Crisco – not available here. So substitute with either Lard or Vegetable Shortening (the two brands I’ve used shown below).
5. Cranberry Sauce
If you’re ambitious – you can attempt to make it. We found frozen cranberries at Thomas Dux and I’ve never been able to find them, but we were told that fresh cranberries can sometimes be purchased at Harris Farms. Personally, it’s not Thanksgiving without the jiggly canned blob – so we actually found the ghetto Ocean Spray kind at Salts, Meats and Cheeses.