Everyone comes from here, there and everywhere...somewhere. In spite of being blessed with immigrant grandparents, I grew up with the traditional turkey, stuffing, brussel sprouts and pumpkin pie Thanksgiving table (my mom did brussel sprouts justice and I welcomed them as part of our Thanksgiving meal).
There are many wonderful foods we've all grown up with at our thanksgiving table. But the beauty of America, the melting pot, is we're a country with tons of cultures mixed together. Many Thanksgiving tables speak to their heritage and traditions...about who they are.
One couple, who found asylum in the United States as Hmong refugees from Laos three decades ago, see November as the time of new rice, a cause for feasting. Thanksgiving is a way to be American and Hmong at once. On their farm in Junction City, Wis, they raise and slaughter the turkey themselves. They next rub the turkey with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and fill it with vermicelli egg roll stuffing (bean-thread vermicelli), shredded carrots, cabbage and cilantro doused with fish sauce, as if it were an egg roll. Their table is heavy with mashed potatoes and gravy but no cranberry jelly...”very sweet” she says. Desert is coconut pandan jellies and pumpkin pie.
Grape leaves, rolled up with seasoned rice are made with infinite regional variations throughout the Middle East. Eprax is a carefully layered casserole of grape leaves and other stuffed vegetables (cabbage, tomatoes, squash, potatoes) and a row of lamb chops running through the center. It's elaborate and takes time to prepare but eprax is always tipped out onto a platter of flatbread at this family's Thanksgiving, joining the roast turkey and stuffing. Either way, it is tradition to place a tablecloth on the ground so everyone can gather on the floor and share the feast. "You can be your own culture, you can be your own religion but at the end of the day, you're an American”.
Those words speak louder than anything I've heard in a while. If we think about it, we were immigrants before America was given a name (an Italian from across the waters).
Whatever you do, wherever you're from, it doesn't matter. Grab a fork and enjoy this day my friends!
Thank you so much for joining us today!
Stop by Thursday for our next blog post
Quote to take with you for the week:
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
-William Arthur Ward
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