I grew up in an area outside of Paris that's known for two things: Euro Disney and a creamy cheese called Coulommiers. Food was a huge part of my family's life (amusement park rides not so much): my grandfather managed restaurants, my father trained as a chef, and my mother was the kind of woman who thought nothing of spending three days preparing a single meal. § When I moved to the United States as an exchange student at the age of 16, I was homesick for the long, leisurely meals I grew up with. Then came Thanksgiving, and suddenly, for one holiday weekend, everything about the way my host family ate changed. There was all this planning and shopping and cooking, flower arranging and table setting, all of it leading up to the kind of wonderful meal I wished would never end. It seemed to me that this holiday was the one day of the year when Americans allowed themselves just to sit around the table to feast, drink, and enjoy one another's company—in short, to eat like the French.