5 Thanksgiving Dishes For a Melting Pot Feast

“Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what you have,” one of my students said the other day when the topic of this Thursday’s holiday arose in class.

Truly, I thought. Some 100 years ago, my grandparents were still in rural China, in Toisan county in southern China outside Guangdong. I’ve wondered what my own life would have been like if they hadn’t left. Certainly I wouldn’t be teaching ancient Greek and Latin and married to my husband (whose great-grandparents emigrated from rural Ireland). Who knows, I could be one of those workers assembling iPads in a Foxconn factory.

Amid all the acrimonious anti-immigration pronouncements and the birther talk that we heard too much of during the recent presidential campaign, I kept thinking that, unless our families are of Native American heritage, most of us are immigrants to the U.S. As the U.S. dollar bill says, this is (theoretically) a nation that is e pluribus unum, “out of many, one.”

In celebrating what we (if you’re American) are thankful for this holiday, here are some ways to make some Thanksgiving dishes all-American in the truest sense, with dishes representing the many different races, ethnicities and nationalities who are part of the U.S.

(If you don’t eat meat, be sure to check out Care2 blogger Judy Molland’s 10 Tips For An Awesome Vegan Thanksgiving.)

1. There’s a lot more you can add to potatoes than butter and sour cream such as kimchi, for Korean-style spuds. Or what about scalloped potatoes with coconut milk and chilies?


Photo of kimchi by blue.tofu

2. How about sweet corn humitas — Ecuadorian tamales — instead of the creamed corn?

Photo of humitas by serenide

3. There are plenty of options for making stuffing other than ye basic white bread, including chorizo corn-breading stuffing and Asian sticky rice stuffing.

Turkey with Sticky Rice Stuffing

Photo by turkey with sticky rice stuffing by Clemson

4. Baste your turkey with a soy sauce glaze or with a harissa (Moroccan chile spice) rub, or marinate it in the style of a traditional Yucatán dish, cochinita pibil, in citrus and annatto paste (from achiote seeds; these will give your turkey an orange hue).

harissa 044

Photo of harissa by jules:stonesoup

5. Weary of pumpkin pie? There’s Brazilian pudim de lette or, if you still want your pumpkin, there’s pumpkin flan.

pumpkin flan

Photo by senseindulgence

I’m planning on trying those scalloped potatoes with coconut milk and chilies, though I may make them mashed rather than scalloped. My Irish-American husband is glad for turkey cooked anyway and whatever side dishes there are, but the one Thanksgiving tradition he does look forward to is the mashed potatoes.

Are you planning to make any “traditional-with-a-twist” Thanksgiving foods this year?

Batata Vada

Photo by Kirti Poddar


Related Care2 Coverage

10 Tips For An Awesome Vegan Thanksgiving

Ten Steps To Waste Less Food This Holiday Season

Is The U.S. Ready For Real Immigration Reform?

Photo by arvindgrover

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Sheri P.
Sheri P.3 years ago


Joe R.
Joe R.3 years ago

The corn husks on the Sweet Corn Humitas were inedible. I ended up peeling them off and throwing them away.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago


Joanne Savas
Joanne S.3 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


rene davis
rene davis3 years ago

nice dishes.

pam w.
pam w.3 years ago

Batata Vada sounds WONDERFUL! I'm off to find a recipe!

pam w.
pam w.3 years ago

Batata Vada sounds WONDERFUL! I'm off to find a recipe!

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thank you for information

Marianne B.
MARIA B.3 years ago

The pumpkin flan sounds good, I do not like kimchi, or bok choy...