Monday , March 1 2021

Turkey and Tamale: People of color share their multicultural thanks

I walked on my Instagram feed last year when I saw them: a photo after the photo of Thanksgiving tables of POK's friends who were hidden not only with turkey and stuffed but with the traditional dishes of their culture.

A Korean family served bright red kimchi rice; an Egyptian family prepared dozens of stuffed grape leaves; and a Taiwanese family included the tofu takeout map – probably an addition of potluck by a visitor.

For many immigrant families, Thanksgiving is the time to participate in an American tradition, but it is also a great excuse to gather and eat the food of their culture with your friends and family. For some POCs, this is the best part of holiday – a time when you can literally soak the cultures together on your plate, as a friend of the Philippine wrote on Twitter:

I asked five immigrants and second-generation Americans to share what is Thanksgiving to their families, the dishes they look forward to – and what they mean for them.

These interviews are issued for length and clarity. And I'd love to hear your stories and see pictures of your food! Share them with Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag # MyPOCHe will be glad and we can label them in the NPR next week.

"The first time I had a cranberry sauce, I was 35"

Brenda Abdelall goat cheese and onion is an annual basis of thanksgiving and is based on flavors from her Egyptian heritage. He calls it "American Pie". (Brenda Abdelall)

Brenda Abdelall, 37, is an American Egyptian from Oakton, Va. He is the founder of United We Eat, a series of short films on migratory food in the United States. MidEats.

Growing up in Michigan, I had no divine and divine to visit during Thanksgiving as many my friends [did]. So we spent it with our family friends, a collection of Egyptian-American immigrants who moved here in the 70s and had a slideshow. There was always turkey. My mom tried to make it as traditional as possible but somehow [the bird] always had some Arabic flavors, like cumin. People would bring tabbouleh [an herb salad], baklava, and someone would always bring kofta [a ground beef kebab].

Today, my Thanksgiving Day is very much like a traditional one, but I use ingredients from the Middle East: green beans with pomegranate molasses. onion with goat cheese. The first time I had cranberry sauce, I was 35 years old. We never had it on the table to grow up. Now, I make a version using pomegranate seeds and anise. I look forward to potatoes.

As a daughter of immigrants, Thanksgiving has become a central tradition in my family. We appreciate the traditions of my parents, the tastes and the foods that teach us and continue to teach it to our children.

Turkey; I was never really in it "

Juan Diego Ramirez, 30, was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. He moved to South Los Angeles when he was 10 years old, where he grew up. Today, he lives outside of Portland and is a producer for a food and culture podcast called Raccotic sandwich and working for the Migrant Education Program in Hillsboro, Ore.

I do not celebrate Thanksgiving until I come to the US It is not a holiday in Mexico. When my family celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time, I did not know what it was. We saw it as soon as time to be around our family. We did not have a turkey but a grilled chicken. And there were tamales, salsa and a drink called atoll.

As the years passed, the food began to change. We embedded turkeys and potatoes. We had taken the turkeys to the local church or to the neighboring community center where they were given away. Turkey? I have never really been to this. I never get seconds. But if there are additional tamales, I'll take seconds on it.

"We just went to the Boston market"

Robin Ha and her mother, Cassie, at an airport in South Korea, on the way to the US in 1995. (Robin Ha)

Robin Ha, 37, is a Korean-American living in Washington, DC. He was born in Korea and moved to the United States when he was 14 years old. He is an artist and a writer Cook Korean! A comic book with recipes, and works on a graphical memory called Almost American girl.

When I and my mother moved to America for the first time, it was only us. So, it seemed funny to go through all baking turkey. So, we went to the Boston market and bought chicken and turkey there and we had a little dinner for ourselves. Turkey does not excite me very much. It is dry and mild. The cranberry sauce was something new to me. It is strange that people in America cook sweet fruits and put it on the top of the meat!

Today, we celebrate the thanks in the house of my mom's friend. He is white and his family lives in Virginia since 1800. The first year, the food was very traditional: pureed potatoes, sweet potato potato, green beans. But as the years passed, people began to bring non-traditional foods. Mom and I bring Korean chickens. Currently, I'm dating a half-Persian and American guy, and it comes to this Thanksgiving day, and she makes Persian rice jewelry.

I really like turkey now. I look forward to the remnants of putting a sandwich – with the cranberry sauce!

"We have to be filled!"

Carine Umuhumuza, 30, is a Rwandan-American living in Washington, DC She and her family moved to New Hampshire from Rwanda when she was 7. She is a communications communications partner at Devex, an international development news agency.

Thanksgiving is the moment when our family is cooking traditional foods that need more time isombe [a cassava dish with peanut sauce] which lasts about eight hours. It's not something you eat for a week. Rice is always part of Thanksgiving, and a meat sauce made with onions, tomatoes, calf and laurel leaves. In the culture of Rwanda, you can not have a meal without sauce!

Our family always had turkey and potatoes – but over the years, we have warmed up on other dishes. One of my aunts married a white man and now we have cranberry sauce. And as I and my brothers got older, we started fitting with the stuff that we learned about these very artificial meals with the thanks we had in school. I would say to my mom, "We must have a filling!" I was not talking about filling from scratch – I was talking about Top stuffing sponge.

For diaspora coming to the US, Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that do not feel alien. Families of all generations and ages that meet? That is what happens in Rwanda anyway. It is the best entry point to American traditions.

A Philippine meeting … with turkey & # 39;

Thanksgiving by PJ Policarpio spread last year. The feast includes the Philippine paella, a tomato plate called palabok and lumpia, the fried eggs. (PJ Policarpio)

PJ Policarpio, 33, is a Filipino-American from San Francisco. He moved to the US from the Philippines when he was 13 years old. He is one of his co-editors Pilipinx American Library, a collection of literature, poetry and writers from the Philippine diaspora.

Thanksgiving is a Philippine collection … with turkey. Three or four families gather in one place – the uncles are drunk, Titus and the uncles speak – to eat endless foods. He is very Filipino. Lately there has been a kind of preamble on holidays. We design names for Secret Santa.

Some of our thanks bases: my uncle's roast beef, which I look forward to most. Sometimes my father makes paella – it's a Spanish dish, but we do it in a Filipino style. And there are lots of desserts. My aunt makes a leche flan, and my cousin makes a cake. There is also lumbia [egg rolls] and pancit [a noodle dish].

This is the only excuse of our family to engage in a larger American tradition, so we insist on having a turkey, although it is certainly not the most popular dish. We all know that no one will touch it. But every year, we have it.

Your turn

Which traditional dishes will be on your family table? Which dish you are looking for most food? Share multicultural Thanksgiving with us on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag # MyPOCHe will be glad and we can mark it in the NPR next week.

Copyright NPR 2018.

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