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12 things from the USA we can all be thankful for

Leaving politics aside for the moment...

By Alison Lynch, 24 November 2016
12 things from the USA we can all be thankful for

Today (24th November), millions of Americans will down tools and tuck into some tasty turkey and trimmings (including sweet potato topped with marshmallow, which we don't really understand but still really want to try).

That's because, in America, this Thursday is Thanksgiving - a major public holiday that kicks off the whole festive season for our friends over the pond. In fact, for Americans, Thanksgiving is as big a deal as Christmas. 

The celebration day dates back to 1621, when the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans to celebrate their first harvest in the New World with them. What began as a harvest festival was then declared an annual public holiday by George Washington in 1789. 

It has henceforth been known as a day for 'thanksgiving and praise'. 

So, in the spirit of the day, here are some things we'd like to thank our American friends for. 

1. Thank you for the music

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We gave them the Beatles, One Direction, Coldplay and the Spice Girls. In return, we got Elvis, Madonna, the Backstreet Boys and Beyonce to name but a few.

To be honest, for Queen Bey alone, we are truly thankful. 

2. Burgers

The hamburger is believed to have originated in the USA in the early 20th century. We're not sure exactly how it came about but, one day, someone obviously had the genius idea of putting a beef patty between two bun slices and adding a few trimmings. 

The burger is now arguably the American national dish and, in recent years, has been taken to almost ridiculous levels with the 'dirty burger' trend. 

If you want to pay tribute to the humble hamburger this Thanksgiving, we suggest trying this ultimate burger recipe and topping it all off with some sweet mustard - another Yankee invention that has proved popular over here - because we can't all take the good ol' British variety. 

3. Friends

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That's the programme, not our actual friends, although Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, Joey and Monica often felt like our real friends as we spent so much of our life watching them in the 90s (and then on repeat in the noughties).

While we're at it, we'd also like to say thank you for ER, Breaking Bad, The Simpsons, OITNB, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The West Wing and Stranger Things, among many others. 

4. Peanut butter

 

A photo posted by Sarah (@brightsidesarah) on

They may not have invented it (that was probably the Aztecs), but peanut butter is synonymous with American cuisine. No other country has done so much with the nutty spread.

They put it in their sandwiches with jam (or jelly as they insist on calling it), they put it in their pancakes for all-American breakfasts and they put it in their American-sized milkshakes

Plus, as we all know, it also goes very well with chocolate - well, what doesn't? So this Thursday, why not treat yourself to one of their iconic sweet treats - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?

5. Hooray for Hollywood

Where would we all be without the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for a little escapism from the everyday?

From the days of Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant, to today's stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, they sprinkle a little stardust over our lives - and give us something to watch on cold wintery afternoons indoors. 

6. Root beer

 

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Root beer is the ultimate American drink, made using the Sassafras tree, or the vine, to create the flavour. It can be alcohol-free or alcoholic and usually has a thick foamy head when poured. In its most common form, it is a fizzy, fruit-flavoured soft drink. 

Over in the US, people particularly love to drink it poured over a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, to create a root beer float. Delicious. 

7. On-the-go technology

It all started with American company Apple. In 2001, Steve Jobs produced the first iPod, which let people carry 1,000 songs in their pocket. Now we wouldn't know what to do (and we'd never get anywhere on time) without our smartphones and tablets that double up as entertainment systems

8. New York cheesecake

 

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They do desserts better than anyone and the baked New York cheesecake is the ultimate after-dinner treat. You can either make your own using this recipe - or you can just skip to the good stuff and pick one up here

It's up to you whether you want to share. 

9. Relentless enthusiasm ya'll!

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From their total lack of sarcasm, to their cries of 'have a nice day' wherever you go, there's something to say for the American spirit - even if it does start to grate with us grumpy Brits after too long. 

10. Bagels

 

A photo posted by The Bagel Store (@thebagelstore) on

The bagel originated within the Jewish communities in Poland and is now the most popular bread product in America, particularly in cities like New York which have large Jewish populations. 

Visit a New York bagel shop for breakfast and you'll be overwhelmed with choice - you'll also have a guy behind you shouting for you to hurry up.

There's the traditional salmon and cream cheese, the scrambled egg and cheese option, or you can even get a rainbow bagel. Naturally.  Just grab a bag of bagels and start experimenting (we recommend this pizza bagel recipe.)

11. Xmas kitsch

No one celebrates Christmas quite like the Americans. They have year-round Christmas shops, they pipe cinnamon into their malls and you can't move for scented candles. There's something so uplifting about their festive excitement, especially when you consider they hardly get any time off (most only get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off as standard). 

12. Ben & Jerry's 

 

A photo posted by Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) on

Last but not least, we give you Ben & Jerry's ice cream, the perfect pick me up when you're feeling blue. All you need is your sofa and your spoon. 

And while you're at it, why not raise a spoon to our American cousins - for all they've given us. 

Happy Thanksgiving guys! 

You will find everything you need for a Brit-style Thanksgiving at Asda.com or at your local store