Real English Conversation about the American Holiday Thanksgiving -- Advanced English

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Listen to this real English conversation about the US holiday Thanksgiving. This is for the advanced level. See if you can follow our conversation about celebrating Thanksgiving in the US. We talk about our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, why we love Thanksgiving, and how to celebrate Thanksgiving in America. Enjoy!

Hi Advanced English learners!

As a special “THANK YOU~!” to our 1,000 YouTube subscribers and Podcast listeners, we decided to share a real English conversation with you. This conversation evolved naturally, it was not planned or rehearsed. A few moments before filming we decided to talk about Thanksgiving as the holiday is celebrated in a few days! As you watch and listen, you might notice that we are speaking at our natural pace, which might be faster than what you are used to. But I encourage you to listen as best you can and challenge your listening comprehension. Here are the topics we discuss:

  • Our favorite Thanksgiving dishes
  • What's special about Thanksgiving
  • Celebrating Thanksgiving abroad
  • What we love about Thanksgiving
  • Why Thanksgiving is an inclusive holiday in the US
  • Favorite family traditions on Thanksgiving
  • The true meaning behind Thanksgiving
  • How to participate if you have dietary restrictions
  • How you can celebrate Thanksgiving

Below you can find the actual transcript of the real English conversation. You'll notice that there is a lot of overlapping speech, so it's best to follow along (watch/listen) as you read the transcript. Alternatively, you could put subtitles on when you watch the video.

Pay attention to the vocabulary, expressions, and idioms we use. Feel free to comment on the YouTube video with new phrases you learned! Hope you enjoy this real English conversation.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, however you decide to celebrate :) 


00;00;00;10 - 00;00;13;10
Hi, everyone, welcome to this advanced English lesson, I'm joined today by Greg, we're really excited to be doing this format today because it's going to be a real English conversation that we're going to have the two of us.

00;00;13;19 - 00;00;34;12
Nothing is planned. Nothing has been rehearsed. It's just natural flow of conversation. And we're doing this because we want to say a big thank you to our 1000 subscribers here on YouTube. So we're super stoked about that. And for all of you who've been joining us through our podcast, thank you so much.

00;00;34;27 - 00;00;57;20
So without further ado, let's jump right into this real English conversation. All right, here we go. Today, in this real English conversation, we're going to talk about one of our favorite topics Thanksgiving, which is an American holiday that we celebrate in the U.S..

00;00;58;24 - 00;01;16;13
All right. So, Greg, what are you looking forward to with Thanksgiving just around the corner? Yeah, and for me, what I most look forward to with Thanksgiving is the food. I'm joking. It's family. Yeah, it's getting to see family.

00;01;17;02 - 00;01;43;08
You know, we travel a lot. And all of us are busy. And so it's hard for the family to get together and Thanksgiving, sometimes even more so than other holidays provides a really strong impetus to gather a really strong drive to gather for everyone to come together and to celebrate being a family and being together.

00;01;43;20 - 00;02;03;00
It's and the food is part of that, too. It's a huge part of it. Yeah, because the food serves as this kind of magnet that draws everyone, even though they're coming for the company. The food gives an excuse and a nice sort of format, a nice canvas to have a family gathering.

00;02;03;01 - 00;02;22;10
Yeah, I totally agree with that. It's it's an excuse to have a wonderful meal and to really ultimately get together with family and people that you might not see throughout the year because, like you said, everyone's busy. And in terms of just like the dishes, I think there are some of my favorites, but I want to first

00;02;22;10 - 00;02;38;28
hear from what your favorites are like. What are some of the favorite Thanksgiving dishes that you look forward to? Oh gosh, there's so many, I think, well, there's a main course dish that I really like. There's a dessert I really like.

00;02;38;28 - 00;02;52;23
Yeah, and then there's a pre thinks giving meal that I also really like. OK, so you want to start the pre Thanksgiving meal? Yes. So this isn't technically on Thanksgiving it's the day before. Well, it's a family tradition.

00;02;52;27 - 00;03;10;12
Yes. Yeah. The day before, my family has a tradition of pea soup, a very simple meal that's just pea soup, bread and cheese. And there's like some sausage in there and the pea soup has sausage. And again, it's very simple.

00;03;10;12 - 00;03;27;22
It's designed to give the chefs a bit of a break before the big day. Yeah, but also just to, you know, before you have a big piece, it's nice to do something simple so that you're hungry enough for the meal that awaits. Exactly it gives the next day more meaning.

00;03;28;13 - 00;03;47;08
And I happen to love pea soup, so that's that's my first thing that I love. Yeah. On the day of it's a close call between my mom makes really good fresh roll, so she needs the dough and everything. She let's them rise. Let them rise. So it's a multi-day affair.

00;03;47;12 - 00;04;05;07
Yeah. And so those are fresh rolls. They're almost like a brioche. They’re really nice. Yeah. I also love squash, butternut squash. I'm a big fan now, too. I wasn't like that into it for a long time, but recently, I think in the last few years I've started really liking it.

00;04;05;07 - 00;04;20;15
And I remember last Thanksgiving it was a much smaller, smaller gathering because of everything going on with the pandemic. But we had the butternut squash with the mushrooms that she puts on there, and it was spicy. And I think I had second helpings of that because it was so, so good.

00;04;20;15 - 00;04;34;02
It's very rich. It can be. Yeah, the way we make it is. So for those who don't know, butternut squash is it looks a bit like a pumpkin. Yeah, but it's nice and orange, and it has the same texture as pumpkin.

00;04;34;29 - 00;04;56;13
Really good, but it's just a little more narrow. And ovular, if you actually see the the fruit, I guess itself, the vegetable. I'm not sure what you would technically call it starchy vegetable, but it is delicious. It is really good, and my family makes it with creme so you basically I've made this before you cut into cubes roasted

00;04;56;16 - 00;05;12;09
squash, you peel it because it keeps you do not roast it. You put the raw cubes in a pot with cream. Oh my gosh. Heavy cream, heavy whipping cream. And you just stir and stir and stir for, you know, it has to be at least an hour.

00;05;12;12 - 00;05;29;15
Yeah. And slowly the squash breaks down and turns into almost like a soup. Yeah, it's like a puree. Yeah, yeah, that's really nice. And then you add the spicy peppers and you put some hot pepper chili pepper. Very good with the pepper.

00;05;29;15 - 00;05;42;23
And then, yeah, my mom, I said, cut some portabellas portabellas and you sprinkle those on top. Yeah, I really like cranberry sauce. I love it with very, very low sugar. Or I try to every year convince people not to put sugar in it.

00;05;42;23 - 00;05;59;03
So if you're a mom or if it's my mom, making it I'll be like no sugar, please. But then it's a little bit too acidic, so I think you still need a little bit. But we sometimes use Allulose, which is a great substitute anyway, we can do more on that in another video.

00;05;59;10 - 00;06;16;24
But the idea is that I definitely love the cranberry sauce. And that I really like the orange zest that they sort of like, add to it, that flavor is so good, there's something about it and there's like the sour taste, the flavor, and it goes really well with the turkey.

00;06;17;10 - 00;06;33;24
It does. Right? Yeah. Cranberries, this funny thing. I haven't really seen it outside of the U.S. much. Yeah, it's hard to come by. But do these little tart berries red round tart berries and you can get cranberry juice, which they often load with sugar?

00;06;33;25 - 00;06;45;21
Yeah, it is yummy. If you especially, you can find low sugar variety. And then you have cranberry sauce. And typically people like to have it with their turkey. Yeah. And it's yeah, it's it's a great. It is really good.

00;06;45;22 - 00;07;07;24
And of course, there's the turkey. I love that. Yes, everything's giving has a big roasted turkey. Some people deep fry their turkey. I've never had a deep fried turkey. We typically just do roasted. Yeah, yeah. Turkeys, they come also in all different sizes so you can get a little turkeys.

00;07;07;24 - 00;07;19;27
If it's just a couple of people, you can get massive turkeys. Of course, you need a huge oven and to cook that would take hours, literally hours again. It can. And I mean, it depends how you cook it.

00;07;19;27 - 00;07;36;08
So many different cooking styles, so you can quick cook it or slow cook it. You can also spatchcock it, which means you open up turkey. Yes, you kind of like, Wow, yeah, and that really reduces the cooking time. Yeah. But I have a funny story, which is when I used to live in Beijing, China.

00;07;37;20 - 00;07;52;04
I also wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving there with my friends, right? But of course, you can't get fresh turkey there because no one really eats turkey it's hard to get. Yeah. And so you would have to order one of these frozen turkeys from a food import store.

00;07;52;14 - 00;08;10;13
Do you know where it would come from, from us? Oh, yeah, yeah, they imported from the US. And the the challenge was you had to get on a list, a waiting list because there were only so many they could import and all the foreigners in Beijing would all converge on the store to try and get me my

00;08;10;13 - 00;08;24;29
Thanksgiving turkey. But the other challenge with it is you don't have a frozen turkey. Yeah. And typically, if you have a frozen piece of food, you stick it in the fridge for a day or two to defrost. And so if you want to be safe, you do two days and then you're ready to go.

00;08;25;12 - 00;08;39;25
Well, what I've learned is that a frozen turkey takes a lot longer than just two days. So what are we talking like a week? Like at least four days, I would say. Yeah, that's about all I know is every time I've done this, I underestimate the amount of time it takes.

00;08;40;06 - 00;08;58;05
So every time I've had to cook with a turkey that's already that's still partially frozen. Yeah, but it turns out it works out fine. Yeah. It's to evoke that that the feeling that we get on Thanksgiving. Yes. No matter how the turkey turns out that, I mean, it is about the food is also not about totally like

00;08;58;06 - 00;09;13;09
you can make it as much or as, you know, not about the food, if you want. I think also that what's really great about Thanksgiving is that, first of all, it's a holiday that it's not tied to a religion or a faith.

00;09;13;18 - 00;09;32;21
And so you get it's very inclusive and that everyone can celebrate it. If you're in the U.S. and you want to celebrate and of course you can right there, it's a very inclusive holiday, which I love, but it's also not tied around like a commercial like exchange almost, or it's not about presents.

00;09;33;05 - 00;09;50;20
It's not about trying to buy somebody something or to exchange gifts. It's really about the food and the time and the togetherness. I think that's what's really nice about it. That's a really good point. Virtually every other holiday in the US has been totally commercialized.

00;09;50;22 - 00;10;12;06
Yeah, right. Christmas, probably the most. But you also have Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day or Easter every for every one of those holidays, the shops filled with all kinds of goods and services to sort of maximize the profits from these holidays.

00;10;12;14 - 00;10;28;18
Whereas you’re right, I mean, Thanksgiving, it's it's more pure. Yeah. And it really is just about being thankful for being alive, being thankful for having people who you love and love you all around. So, yeah, I would agree with that.

00;10;28;18 - 00;10;43;01
I think it's the purest of the holidays we have. Yeah, it's really cozy. So in my family, we would go around the table and say what we're thankful for and what we're grateful for, and it's like a nice way to sort of connect with those feelings and to voice them and to be with the people that you

00;10;43;01 - 00;11;00;11
love. And so it's a really a warm and fuzzy feeling. Yeah. Then what about dessert? What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? I know. So yeah, the capstone for me is always the pumpkin pie. Yeah, but the problem is I'm the only one in my family.

00;11;00;12 - 00;11;17;10
I started liking it too. Likes pumpkin pie. I'm glad you joined the ranks. Yeah. Didn't used to, but I started liking good girls, so I have another I have another teammate in terms of because I always have to try and convince everyone else to make a pumpkin, because if you're the only one eating it, then you have

00;11;17;10 - 00;11;30;18
this big pie and it goes to it and it will go to waste. I mean, you will put it to good use and you can. And there's Freeze. Yeah, but I don't know if you can that. I think I've never tried to be a nice science experiment.

00;11;30;22 - 00;11;41;19
I feel like why not? Anyway, you could try it. But the problem is pie dough. I think once you cook, it is part of who knows? Who knows? I'm willing to try my experiment, but it doesn't have to be a pie either, right?

00;11;41;19 - 00;11;58;00
I just like the pumpkin stuffing. Well, and so last year you made the chiffon. The pumpkin chiffon. Yeah, which is basically like a mousse. The pumpkin mousse, that was excellent, and that's really, really good. Yeah. But again, I happened to be the only one that seemed to really like it in you and me too.

00;11;58;22 - 00;12;14;24
I like cheesecake. That's not really a Thanksgiving. That's not really Thanksgivingy. You say that. But it turns out for this Thanksgiving, you're making a pumpkin cheesecake. Yeah. Well, I'm looking forward to that because one, I love cheesecake and now I've started really liking pumpkin.

00;12;14;24 - 00;12;30;14
So that's amazing, provided that it's not too sweet because we try to cut down the sugar, but the other ones that I really like and this is more traditional the apple pie, obviously. And I guess pecan pie or pecan pie is really nuts.

00;12;30;15 - 00;12;49;03
Yeah. But again, I feel like with pecan, it's a little too sweet, always for just like, go at it with the sugar. So that's all I have. Like this. I have, like a tiny little bit. Yeah, I think for people who want to participate in Thanksgiving, but maybe you might have like dietary restrictions or allergies or things

00;12;49;09 - 00;13;06;10
like I think it's it's definitely not uncommon to bring a dish to the Thanksgiving. Let's say you're invited somewhere to the Thanksgiving Day celebration or event if you want to call it that, because that way you can bring something that people can enjoy and then you can also eat.

00;13;06;10 - 00;13;19;19
If there's nothing else there for you to eat, like, let's say you're vegetarian or let's say you're on a sugar free lifestyle, then you can bring something that you will eat. But that will also be a nice addition to whatever feast there is.

00;13;19;29 - 00;13;37;09
Yeah, that's a clever way to not impose your dietary restrictions on everyone else, but still be able to eat some of the stuff you like to eat, for sure. Yeah. So yes. However you celebrate it. Or if you are thinking about celebrating it, why not just get a bunch of people together?

00;13;37;09 - 00;13;53;04
You don't even have to be, you know, I feel like with Thanksgiving, you don't even have to really try that hard to get people together because it's like good food, good company. Just you don't even have to do the traditional Thanksgiving fare, right?

00;13;53;05 - 00;14;13;02
Just get some people together. Go around the table saying what you're grateful for, if that's your jam, and it's just like a fun time to connect with people and have some good food. Absolutely. Yeah. So if you get the chance and the inclination, we strongly encourage you to have your own Thanksgiving wherever you are.

00;14;14;07 - 00;14;32;28
And I think no one would regret it 100% with you there. All right. So hopefully, you enjoy this real English conversation Advanced English learners. Let us know, is there anything that was a little bit confusing? What was something that surprised you about the way we spoke again?

00;14;32;28 - 00;14;49;06
Nothing of this was planned or rehearsed. We just decided right now that we want to talk about Thanksgiving, given that it's happening in a few days. So that's why we chose this topic. And thank you so much again for being here, for being a loyal subscriber for listening to our podcast.

00;14;49;17 - 00;15;05;23
If you would like to help our channel continue to grow feel free to subscribe, share with the other people in your life that want to improve their English communication skills. And also, if you are listening to the podcast and you really liked the podcast, then feel free to leave a nice review because that also really helps the channel

00;15;05;23 - 00;15;12;27
out. Yeah. All right. Thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you in the next Advanced English bye everyone.