American-born Rus Kirchner has fond memories of Thanksgiving.
It's always been his favourite holiday, because for him, it's about family.
"For me, Thanksgiving was always about family," said Kirchner, who lives in Mayfield with his wife Elizabeth and three children. "It was about three Fs - family, football and Fritos - I don't think the Fritos and cheese dip will translate here in Australia, but I really liked it. It was more based on hanging out with our family.
"We'd go to my grandmother's place [in Missouri] and all the aunts, uncles and cousins would be there. There would be 30 of us."
The feast would include turkey, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and much, much more.
When he moved to Australia, he chose to continue the tradition, inviting 60 people to the couple's Sydney apartment for his first Thanksgiving.
Now, his own family has grown and Mayfield is home, and they still celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and expat Americans - he's expecting up to 30 for this year's celebration which he will host this Saturday.
In America, Thanksgiving is traditionally held on the fourth Thursday in November [November 23 this year]. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modelled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by early settlers and the local indigenous tribe.
Preparations have already begun, and cooking will get serious on Friday, Kirchner said.
As is common tradition, most everybody coming to Kirchner's Thanksgiving will bring a plate of food. Kirchner will cook a turkey, make sweet potato mash and supply some American-style sweet pumpkin pie among other things. Someone always brings potato bake, salads, and he's certain there will be a green bean casserole.
The Australian touch means there's always a pavlova for dessert.
And his own unique dish - asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.
And yes, he will have an American football game on the TV out the back somewhere.
He expects a few folks will bring guitars, and as the celebration meanders into the evening hours, a few John Denver songs will be sung by all.
"My wife usually does the turkey and the pumpkin pie," he said "But she's going to be too busy this year, so it's left up to me. It could be a traditional overcooked dry turkey, like my grandmother used to cook. In the family tradition, it could be a turkey that needs a little gravy, or butter to make it edible."
There's one more important tradition at the Kirchner Thanksgiving: at some point, everybody will gather in a circle, and one by one they will each say what they give thanks for this year.
Todd Bruell of Belmont, another American (originally from Cleveland, Ohio) in Newcastle, hosted his annual Thanksgiving event on Saturday with his partner Gary New. They had 85 guests and all the traditional foods.
"The first year, you're invited you come empty-handed," Bruell said. "After that, you're assigned a dish. Some of our Aussie friends have been coming for 10 years and perfected their dish."
The menu included turkey, stuffing, cornbread, Mac and cheese, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, salads and a grazing table of meats, cheeses, dips, grapes and crackers.
There is a circle of thanks before the meal, Bruell said, which this year lasted for more than half an hour.
For Guia Taylor of Fern Bay, it's a tradition with a unique Filipino twist.
She was raised in the Philippines, but her mum's sisters moved to America, and when they came home to Manila for holidays, they brought the American Thanksgiving with them. The tradition grew in its own way in her family home, eventually including relatives from both her mother and father's sides of the family, plus close friends.
Her mum always cooked all of the food for meal, which began with everyone giving thanks.
Fast forward to the present, and Taylor has forged the tradition in a new way. She calls it "Friendsgiving" at her home, with an evening meal on Thursday (Thanksgiving day) that she cooks for the 10 women in her book club.
"I do roast chickens stuffed with chorizo and rice, Filipino baked ham, corn casserole, fruit salad - Filipino style, pasta salad, and potato gratin," Taylor said.
And yes, they will discuss a book. This year her choice for the month of November is The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. It provides a robust conversation about what people might be grateful for, Taylor said.
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