Food for Thought


The time is almost upon us when we must break out our special pants and make room for that Thanksgiving feast. As a self-diagnosed foodie, I love the different dishes that come out during Thanksgiving, but there is something I have always wondered: what about the people that don’t put out the turkey, the mashed potatoes, or the pumpkin pie? What do they eat for Thanksgiving? I had no choice but to answer this question for myself. Here are three other cultures in the United States that celebrate Thanksgiving in a different way:
1.Latin Americans
Having a variety of Latinos in the United States, I discovered that a good portion of Latinos do not put out a turkey during this holiday. In fact, more traditional foods are made for this occasion. Mexican families tend to make tamales, pozole, and flan for dessert to bring together the family. Puerto Ricans provide a table filled with tostones (deep-fried plantains), mofongo, and pavochón (Puerto Rican style turkey). Peruvian families will normally eat Peruvian ceviche and Guatemalans will make their chuchitos (Guatemalan tamales).
Aside from bringing in new dishes, Latino families also add their own twist to traditional American dishes. For example, some families will stuff their turkey with chiles, mofongo, or adobo. Others will decide to replace the pumpkin pie with a pumpkin flan and drink a warm cup of punch. These Latino families bring a new twist to an American tradition, allowing their cultures to mix and introduce new flavors to American foods and culture.
2.Asian Americans
Asian Americans are no exception when it comes to the change and addition of holiday recipes. The type of dishes presented on the table depend on which part of Asia the family comes from. Taiwanese Americans will have Peking Duck, Chinese sausage, and sticky rice stuffing. Korean Americans decorate their tables with San-jeok (beef and vegetable skewers), Songpyeon (rice cake), and salted fish. Chinese Americans eat roast duck, while Indian Americans will have a Murgh Musallam (Masala roasted chicken).
These new tastes also allow for an infusion of flavors between old traditional American dishes and Asian recipes. For example, the pumpkin pie in Thai households becomes a steamed pumpkin custard and simple green beans are transformed into green beans with miso and almonds. Over the holidays, Asian Americans combine traditional flavors with American foods in order to tie in both cultures.
3.Middle Eastern Americans
American Thanksgiving traditions wouldn’t be complete without the Middle Eastern American families. In some Jewish communities, families make matzo ball soup, quinoa, and kosher turkey. Iranian families will either make Persimmon mini tarts or Sib Zamini ba Hel (cardamon potatoes). Other Middle Eastern foods that tend to come out during Thanksgiving are couscous, Deek Rumi (organic turkey) with a cranberry-pomegranate sauce, baklava, or Sanneyet Batata Fil Furn (sweet potato casserole). Overall,these dishes provide a homey feeling to help bring families together.
 From across the globe, families have adapted an American holiday around their own traditions. No matter where you’re from, the spirit of the holiday is the same. The only difference is the type of food brought to the table. Whether you eat turkey or Peking duck, pie or flan, the true value of the holiday is the family and friends by your side.