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”A womans journey through life, picking up history, culture, flavors,

and - most importantly! - recipies, makes an interesting read in itself.

Add in humorous anecdotes, referances to friends and family steeped in

love, and a charming Laura-Ingalls-meets-Astrid-Lindgren narrative style,

and you have a beautiful read. A gift for the senses.”

Britta Rønnow

ISBN 978-87-973246-0-8

En Route My Road to Thanksgiving Elke Marie Hou Carleton

My Road to

Thanksgiving

Stories and Recipes

from an American Abroad

Elke Marie Hou Carleton



Prologue........................................................................................................6

My Journey to Thanksgiving..................................................................7

1976-1996 - The power of observation.....................................................10

Denmark 1996-2021 - The influence of all that is “hygge”...........22

Thanksgiving............................................................................................27

Appetizers.................................................................................................. 41

Mother’s Crab Dip............................................................................................... 44

Homemade Crackers......................................................................................... 46

Homemade Knækbrød (Danish crispbread)........................................47

Æggesnaps (Egg Schnapps)........................................................................... 48

Eggnog (Danish-influenced)......................................................................... 50

Eggnog........................................................................................................................ 51

Starters.......................................................................................................52

Grandma Fern’s Shrimp Cocktail.............................................................. 54

Danish Rejecocktail........................................................................................... 56

Prawn Salad............................................................................................................57

Prawns on Danish Rugbrød..........................................................................58

Salmon Steaks....................................................................................................... 59

Pumpkin Soup......................................................................................................60

Turkey and Stuffing.................................................................................62

Turkey and Stuffing (the Traditional Way).......................................... 66

Stuffing Baked Outside the Turkey..........................................................67

Turkey my way..................................................................................................... 68

Stuffing Baked Inside the Turkey............................................................. 70

Trussing the Turkey ..........................................................................................72

Stuffing the Turkey.............................................................................................73

Roasting the Turkey...........................................................................................74

Roasting Times......................................................................................................75

Turkey Gravy (Thick American Style)................................................... 76

My Turkey Gravy..................................................................................................77

Danish Brun Sovs (Brown Sauce)...............................................................78

Cranberry Sauce.................................................................................................. 79

Cranberry Chutney............................................................................................ 80

4


Potatoes......................................................................................................82

Sweet Potatoes......................................................................................................84

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes..........................................................................87

Creamy Mashed Potatoes...............................................................................88

Boiled Potatoes..................................................................................................... 89

Sides............................................................................................................ 90

Green Bean Casserole....................................................................................... 92

Creamed Corn....................................................................................................... 94

Celery-Root Puree with Leaks and Truffle Butter.......................... 95

Apple Walnut Salad with Cranberry dressing................................... 96

Dinner Rolls...............................................................................................98

Dinner Rolls..........................................................................................................100

Pumpkin Rolls..................................................................................................... 101

Shaping the dough: 3 options.....................................................................102

Biscuits.................................................................................................................... 104

Cornbread.............................................................................................................. 105

Dessert......................................................................................................106

Pie shell................................................................................................................... 108

Pumpkin Pie..........................................................................................................110

Pecan Pie................................................................................................................. 112

Apple Pie.................................................................................................................. 113

Sage Ice Cream..................................................................................................... 114

Whipped Cream with Spices....................................................................... 115

Mulled White Wine (Gløgg).......................................................................... 116

Acknowledgments................................................................................. 119

Glossary of Translations and Metrics...............................................121

5


Prologue

Traditions are the roots of our heritage and culture. They give us

a fast foothold in the unknown, the changing, and that which is

different. They are a manifestation of who we are and where we

come from, and we can take them with us wherever we venture

in life. As we experience the world and meet new people, our traditions

will be enriched with new experiences. They will change

and we will grow, and from there our roots will also grow.

This book, En Route, is a journey to explore the many influences

we have in our lives that nourish our roots - the ones that form

the core of our identities and act as cultural markers. It is also my

own journey of self-discovery, traced through the food cultures

and rules of etiquette that I grew up in.

One of the most defining elements in a society is its food heritage

and culture. That is as true for nations as it is for individual families.

Food unites the few and the many, and it tells a story about

traditions that link us to a certain place and time.

En Route is an account of my personal story seen through the

lens of one of the most important holidays of my youth - Thanksgiving.

It is a holiday I have carried with me across oceans into

adulthood in a changed but recognizable way.

My wish in writing this book is three-fold. First and foremost,

this cookbook is a gift to my children and my Danish niece and

nephew. It is an embodiment of hope that they will carry our

family traditions with them always, no matter where in the world

they venture. I also hope to give my entire family on both sides

of the Atlantic - even those who have taken me in just for a short

time - a book of beautiful shared memories and insights into how

those moments have shaped the life I live today.

Secondly, for my American friends, Thanksgiving is no stranger.

My hope is to give some perspective on why I took this tradition

with me “across the pond” and offer inspiration for your next

Thanksgiving Day meal.

Lastly, for my Danish friends, I hope to share with you an introduction

to one of the American traditions that I celebrate to this

day with my Danish family. American holidays like Halloween,

Black Friday, and Valentine’s Day have wiggled their way into the

Danish calendar, but Thanksgiving hasn’t. Maybe it’s too closely

tied to U.S. history and culture, but a day of thanks with family

and great food certainly feels like a perfect fit for the Danish love

of hygge.

Love, E lke

Both miles and years have influenced the Thanksgiving recipes in

this book. Familiar dishes have been spiced with new traditions,

adapted to changing taste buds, flavored with new ingredients

when traditional ones could not be found, and infused with an

abundance of inspiration from my multicultural life.

When living a life like mine, holding on and reaching out go hand

in hand. To thrive, the “why” in everything you do becomes very

important. So does learning how to invite others into your life

when you want them to grab ahold of traditions that are yours

and could be theirs. After all, without a community to keep them

alive, traditions fade.

6


My Journey

to Thanksgiving

7


8

Some of my best memories are of the times

I rode with my dad on his motorcycle.

Sometimes, on a long-haul trip, it would

rain all day.But these trips taught me

that endurance and a positive attitude can

have great rewards - like when I finally

saw the sun come out above the tree line on

the Blue Ridge parkway after one of those

day - long downpours.


My Journey

Although my life journey, with detours, could literally be tracked

on a map, there is no doubt that the influence of people - those I

have met on my way, and the sum of their cultural diversities -

have left a much more memorable and deeper footprint on my life.

I’ve been to many different places. Some for long periods of

time, and others for just a short while. Each and every place has

influenced me in some way: the local culture, history, language,

traditions, holidays, nature…and of course the food.

In all the places I have lived and visited, the most life-changing

experiences have always been centered around my relationships

to people, learning from them. And, surprisingly, many of the

memories I have of those experiences come from the ordinary

moments: the food that we shared or the conversations we had

while sitting around the table or in the kitchen, riding in the car,

or visiting different places together.

My anchor to people has always been my curiosity and acceptance

of things that are different, a readiness for change and

my ability to welcome new influences into my life. This same

openness is also seen in my ability to share things that matter

with others; what I know and what I believe, and my love for the

traditions that I observe - both those that I have inherited from

my childhood and those that I have adopted along the way.

These journeys and experiences have undeniably changed me,

but more than that, they have enriched and nourished every

memory from my past, giving them life in my present.

This book is not about my entire life’s journey thus far. Instead, it

is about the experiences that brought me to where I am today and

how these have influenced one of my greatest passions: cooking.

Along the route from my past to my present, I have met many

people that encouraged my passion for cooking and baking. A few

of them stand out because of the way they sparked my interest in

a world bigger than the one I’d known or imagined to that point.

In becoming part of each other’s kitchens, we became part of

each other’s worlds, although I’m not really sure which came first.

What I know is that the more I learned about the world, the more

I wanted to know about the way other people lived in the warmth

of their kitchens and dining rooms. At the same time, whenever

someone invited me into their home, the more I wanted to understand

the wider world they lived in.

This book is full of teachers. Some of them openly shared their

knowledge or their recipes with me, but others I learned from

by merely observing what they did and how they lived. All my

teachers have shown up at different times, and they come from

all over the world.

9


12


26


Thanksgiving

I grew up with the story of the first Thanksgiving. The story I

heard was focused mostly on the Pilgrims who had sailed over

from England on the Mayflower and settled at Plymouth Rock.

The first winter was hard, but those that survived the sickness

and famine were befriended by the Native Americans, who taught

them to cultivate corn, squash, and beans in the New World. In

celebration, and to give thanks for the first successful harvest,

they held what came to be known as the First Thanksgiving with

the Native Americans.

When I was young, we celebrated this historic harvest feast every

year in honor of the alliance between the Pilgrims and the Native

Americans. We made turkeys out of construction paper, using

our hands as a pattern. We colored pictures of Pilgrims with big

black hats and shoes with buckles. We colored pictures of Native

Americans with buckskin shirts and pants. We read stories that

described what they ate at the feast and looked at pictures that

depicted them sitting together as they ate, talked, and laughed.

And then, when Thanksgiving Day came around, we had the day

off from school, watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and ate

tons of yummy food.

The things I remember most about Thanksgiving at home are

Grandma Fern in her apron and cardigan, my mom basting the

turkey in her pretty clothes and apron, my dad being home with

us, and my sisters and I helping to set the table and put the food

out. Our favorite pastime while waiting for dinner? Putting the

black olives on our fingers and eating them - you know, the same

olives we were supposed to set out on the table.

Years later, when I had my own family, I read my children the story

of the first Thanksgiving and we celebrated the holiday every

year. We still do. Some years, I have been lucky enough to celebrate

the day with my family at home in the U.S., even bringing

my daughter along once. Since my childhood, however, as many

others my age have also experienced, the story of Thanksgiving

has changed. My perspective has changed. And the reason that I

celebrate Thanksgiving has changed.

27


55


61


62

Turkey My Way- page 68


Turkey and Stuffing

It’s time for the turkey - the star of the show.

The one dish that you absolutely don’t want anything to go wrong

with because there just aren’t any second chances. No one wants

a re-enactment of the dried-out turkey scene from National

Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, because if your turkey were to go

that wrong, it wouldn’t be comic on any level. But should the very

worst happen on your Thanksgiving, try to look on the bright

side. There is so much food on Thanksgiving that nobody will

starve. Besides, I’ve been to a lot of Thanksgiving dinners in my

life, and I’ve never been served a turkey that was so dry that it

couldn’t be eaten. That’s what the gravy is for!

I learned to roast a turkey by watching my mom and Grandma

Fern. When I started roasting my own turkeys, I followed the

memory of that, as well as some instructions from an old American

cookbook.

After all the work that goes into cooking that turkey, it’s no

surprise that many Americans treat the carving of the bird as

the highlight of dinner. In my house, it was always my dad that

carved the turkey from the head of the table where he sat. Today,

I always walk out with the turkey and show it off to my family,

but then I take it back into the kitchen. Instead of carving it, I pull

the wings and legs off. Then I pull the rest of the meat off in small

and large chunks and serve it on a platter with the stuffing.

This tradition started when we celebrated our very first Thanksgiving

over seventeen years ago. At that time, our apartment,

and therefore our table, were so small that the only place there

was room to carve the turkey was in the kitchen! Bringing the

turkey out for show-and-tell may have come out of necessity,

but it stuck and it’s now one of the most memorable parts of our

Thanksgiving dinner.

My mom always cooked the turkey in a roaster, and she basted it

all day. I’ve never seen a roaster in Denmark (though I could probably

find one if I wanted to), so for now, the oven it is for our birds.

I don’t baste the turkey, either. Instead, I add a layer of butter

under the skin for both flavor and moisture.

Although turkeys are not commonly eaten here, you can find

them in well-stocked supermarkets, and most butchers can get

them for you. For many years, we have driven out to a local turkey

farm here in Denmark to get ours. I think this is the coolest thing,

because I certainly never did that in the U.S.

63


Tip!

Cranberry sauce, jelly, and chutney are great with all

types of meat. We eat them on bread after Thanksgiving

too– they taste especially good as a spread on turkey or

roast beef and horseradish sandwiches.

Jelly tends to be sweeter, good for spicy or salty meats.

Chutney is more savory-sweet, good to balance richer,

sweeter foods.

81


Tip!

I use one 25-ounce bag (4 1/2 cups) of frozen

green beans, cut in half while still frozen.

I like this dish thick and saucy!

Play with the amount so you get the consistency

and texture that you like. Using the mushrooms,

rosemary and thyme gives you that cream-ofmushroom

flavor.

92


“There is nothing in

the world

so irresistibly contagious

as laughter

and good humor.”

A Christmas Carol

118


Glossary of Translations

and Metrics

121


American English Danish Swedish

Meat Kød Kött

turkey kalkun kalkon

shrimp rejer räka

salmon laks lax

crab krabbekød krabba

Fruits & Vegetables Frugt & Grønsager Frukt & Grönsakker

orange appelsin orange

apricot abrikos aprikos

raisin rosin russin

potato kartoffel potatis

sweet potato sød kartoffel sötpotatis

green beans grønne bønner gröna böner

corn majs majs

pumpkin græskar pumpa

tomato (paste) tomat(puré) tomat(puré)

cranberry tranebær tranbär

red pepper rød peber röd paprika

carrot gulerod morot

celery selleri selleri

green onion forårsløg vårlök

onion løg lök

garlic hvidløg vitlök

horseradish peberrod pepparrot

Herbs & Spices Urter & Krydderier Örter & Kryddor

sage salvie salvia

rosemary rosmarin rosmarin

thyme timian timjan

marjoram merian mejram

oregano oregano oregano

chili (powder) chili (pulver) chili (pulver)

cinnamon kanel kanel

ginger ingefær ingefära

cloves nelliker kryddnejlika

allspice allehånde all krydda

salt salt salt

pepper peber peppar

122


American English Danish Swedish

Dairy Products Mejeriprodukter Mejeriprodukter

milk mælk mjölk

whipping cream fløde (piskefløde) vispgrädde

eggs æg ägg

butter smør smör

Parmesan cheese parmesanost permesanost

cheddar cheese cheddarost cheddarost

Dry Goods Kolonial & Tørvarer Koloniala & Torra Varor

flour mel mjöl

corn flour majsmel majsmjöl

corn starch majsstivelse majsstärkelse

sugar sukker socker

brown sugar brunfarin brunt socker

marzipan marcipan mandelmassa

Cooking Techniques Teknikker Teknik

stir røre rundt vispa (rör om)

beat / whip piske piska

mix blande blanda

bake bage baka

sauté sauter fritera

fry stege på panden steka i panna

roast stege i ovenen steka i ugnen

cool off køle ned kyla ner

Utensils & other things Redskaber Køksredskab

baking paper / parchment paper bagepapir bakplåtspapper

tinfoil stanniol aluminium folie

frying pan / sauté pan stegepande stekpanna

pot gryde pott

pie plate or pan tærteform pajform

baking sheet bageplade bakplåt

whisk piskeris vispa

123


U.S. Standard Fluid Ounces Pounds Metric Grams Dry Grams Butter

½ teaspoon (tsp) - - 2,5 ml 2,5 g -

1 teaspoon (tsp) 1/6 fluid ounce - - 5 g -

1 tablespoon (tbsp) ½ fluid ounce - 15 ml 15 g -

⅛ c (2 tablespoons) - - 30 ml 16 g -

¼ cup - - 60 ml 32 g 57 g

⅓ cup - - 80 ml 43 g 76 g

½ cup - - 120 ml 64 g 113 g

⅔ cup - - 160 ml 85 g -

¾ cup - - 180 ml 96 g -

1 cup 8 fluid ounces ½ lb 237 ml 128 g 226 g

1 ¼ cup - - 300 ml - -

1 ⅓ cup - - 315 ml - -

1 ½ cup - - 350 ml - -

1 ⅔ cup - - 400 ml - -

1 ¾ cup - - 415 ml - -

2 cups 16 fluid ounces 1 lb 473 ml - -

2 ¼ cups - - 530 ml - -

2 ⅓ cups - - 550 ml - -

2 ½ cups - - 600 ml - -

2 ⅔ cups - - 615 ml - -

2 ¾ cups - - 650 ml - -

3 cups - 1 ½ lb 715 ml - -

3 ¼ cups - - 775 ml - -

3 ⅓ cups - - 800 ml - -

3 ½ cups - - 830 ml - -

3 ⅔ cups - - 865 ml - -

3 ¾ cups - - 875 ml - -

4 cups 32 fluid ounces 2 lb 946 ml - -

4 ¼ cups - - 1000 ml - -

4 ⅓ cups - - 1030 ml - -

4 ½ cups - - 1065 ml - -

4 ⅔ cups - - 1100 ml - -

4 ¾ cups - - 1125 ml - -

5 cups - - 1200 ml - -

124

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