When I was 21 (I am now 47), I was an au pair in Paris. By Thanksgiving, I had been in Paris for about 2 months, taking care of an infant for a very nice couple. The couple was curious about Thanksgiving dinner, having seen it in movies and on TV. Somehow I agreed to cook a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixin's - even though, at the time, I could barely boil an egg. I even encouraged them to invite family. Oh my god what a disaster! To this day, I cringe when I think about it. I had to special order the turkey, which I picked up from the butcher Thanksgiving morning. When I got it back to the apartment, it hadn't been cleaned - I mean the feet were still on it, and the insides were still in it!! Back to the butcher; when I asked him to clean it, he thought I was accusing him of selling tainted meat and became enraged (my French was not the greatest). Finally, he cleaned the bird, but by then I was waaaay behind schedule. It went downhill from there . . . French flour is milled differently, and the pie crust didn't turn out right, I could not find the French word for a number of spices and had to locate cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc. by SMELL (harder than it sounds). I never could find the sage. The potatoes were boiled before I was ready to mash them. Turns out, it's not such a good idea to leave them in the boiling water for a half hour. They were a gluey mess. I used baguettes for the stuffing - turned out awful, dry and flavorless. The gravy was a greasy mess. The only thing edible was the overcooked turkey, the dry as a bone dressing, and the greasy gravy. And some French bread. I was in tears, but luckily, everyone was very kind. I mean, this was back in the day . . . no internet, no FoodNetwork, no Martha. How could I have prevented this? By preparing better, and not being a dumb, over-confident 21-year-old. P.S. I now make a terrific Thanksgiving day meal, but I plan every detail very carefully.