Culture & Community

A Bulgarian “Friends-Giving”

To all of our stateside readers, we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving this past week!


Last year we had a very quiet thanksgiving, since it was our first year abroad, we had yet to discover where to buy all the food essentials and did not yet have many friends. This year, however, we had quite the opposite experience 😂!

Since Thanksgiving is something many of our friends here have never experienced, we decided to open up our home for a “Friends-Giving” this past Saturday and ended up hosting 18 people (including ourselves) for a grand Thanksgiving lunch!


With the help of one of our American friends here, we managed to find turkeys and cranberries (which are both rare in the Ruse stores) as well as all the other essential ingredients to make our beloved American Thanksgiving dishes. Also, it should be noted that you cannot buy any Thanksgiving foods pre-made in Bulgaria so “yes” that means that we had to make everything from scratch (including the fried onions and cream sauce for the green bean casserole!!)


Of course we quickly realized that Bulgarian kitchens are not well designed for American styled food holidays (such as Thanksgiving), so with the help of a few friends, some extra ovens and two full days of cooking before the big event….we managed to successfully pull off hosting our first Thanksgiving as a married couple and in Bulgaria no less 😊!

Also, I feel it appropriate to note that this was the first time I have ever cooked a turkey on my own and Kevin and I both agree that they both (yes we cooked TWO!!) turned out to be some of the best turkey we have ever had!! (Many thanks to my grandma’s tip of covering a turkey with a cloth and THIS recipe from the blog Half Baked Harvest)

We truly enjoyed sharing this holiday with our mix of international and Bulgarian friends here in Ruse and everyone loved trying all the new foods (that many of them had never had before) such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, green bean casserole and pies!

It is probably a good thing that Thanksgiving only happens once a year as it was quite the undertaking to pull everything together and we discovered that 18 is probably the maximum number of people for hosting in our small apartment 😉!


We shall see if it works to do this again in the future but either way we thoroughly enjoyed our first Bulgarian “Friends-Giving” and we hope you enjoy some of these photos from our festive day!

Happy belated Thanksgiving and Happy early Advent!


10 thoughts on “A Bulgarian “Friends-Giving”

  1. The two of you are incredible! How did you manage to find turkey? Were you able to find cubed bread or did you have to do that from scratch? What about cranberries? As you can see I am fascinated by your ability to pull this off! Were your guests all fellow musicians?Perhaps I’ll get a chance to see you when you make it the East Coast in late December. My 4 year old (almost 5 year old!) twin grand daughters will be visiting at the same time so it may not work out. Love to you both, Janet


    1. There is one store here that sells frozen turkeys and frozen cranberries. It is a bit outside of the city so one of our friends drove us there to buy everything. Of course the turkeys are a bit smaller than you find in America, hence why we cooked 2. We did have to cube our own bread for the stuffing, but that is something I have always done even in the states. Yes, about half of our guests were fellow orchestra members and about half were friends from church. We would love to see you when we are stateside! I hope it works out!


  2. What a grand celebration! And beautiful turkeys indeed! You will have to tell me about the cloth on the turkey…have not heard of that. Neat to use your Grandmother’s advice. (: I love the way you reach out to all of your friends and share your home. So thankful for both of you! love, Mom Carol


  3. What about the pumpkin pie? I’m sure you used canned pumpkin like we do here in the states right 😉


    1. Oh of course we had to make our pumpkin puree from scratch! How could I forget to mention that ;-). We definitely do not have the luxury of canned pumpkin here!


  4. Dear Sarah and Kevin.. it makes me miss you so much to see your dear smiling faces!!! What a joyful day you had… gorgeous food, beautiful friends and a darling baby!!! I see a book in the making some day … your writing is so winsome…
    Blessed Advent! Going to make my wreath today…
    Much love, Linda


    1. Thanks for the note Linda! I was just thinking about the one year I spent Thanksgiving with your family in CT a while back and how it was such a wonderful time together! We miss you too! I hope your wreath turned out well!


  5. Hi Kevin and Sarah! These are great pics of your great meal! Way to go! We love you both! Merry Christmas from Texas! We just moved! We will have our own blog soon!😀.


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