“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.)
Photo of kimchi by blue.tofu
2. How about sweet corn humitas — Ecuadorian tamales — instead of the creamed corn?
Photo of humitas by serenide
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).
Photo of harissa by jules:stonesoup
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?
Photo by Kirti Poddar
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Photo by arvindgrover