Food for Thought

Turkey is the famous dish cooked every year by families across the United States for Thanksgiving, but what other foods do cultures bring on this holiday?

Mashed potatoes, stuffing, ham, macaroni and cheese and pumpkin pie are sure to delight your stomach.

Students share their culture on a plate when loved ones come together.

“My mom travels from Mexico every year and cooks us these amazing tamales,” said Daniel Ortiz, student at Pierce College. “Everything’s from scratch, you can’t find them anywhere here. Last year my dad made cactus stir fry. We eat pie, but we also have Mexican hot chocolate and eat ‘Metcha.’ It’s a dessert.”

Not all families celebrate with the same traditional American dishes.

“We don’t really have American food,” Athenna Mapile said. “My whole family is from the Philippines. We cook adobo, pinakbet, pancit, rice and lumpia. My all-time favorite is menudo and I think the longest to make is lechon. It’s a roasted pig.”

Parts of Middle Eastern heritage have sauces and wraps that bring new flavor to old-time favorites.

“We eat a lot of food like turkey and mashed potatoes,” Helen Habtay said. “We eat a lot of Eritrean food and we put Tsebhi on everything. It’s a sauce.”

“My mom makes Warag da wale(dolma), also known as mensef or kanifa,” Reem Haddad said. “Rice and meat are wrapped inside grape leaves. Palestinians put bread on the bottom.”

Gianna Renelle comes from Italian descent and said she has a family with many traditions.

“My family is huge on lasagna and wine,” Renelle said. “I help with making fettuccini alfredo since it’s easy. My Aunt makes the best gnocchi. She comes from the east coast where most of my family lives. It’s never a family party if everyone isn’t drunk off of wine.”

Some people eat Panda Express, but you’ve never had Chinese food like with David Chang’s family.

“My family doesn’t eat turkey,” Chang said. “We eat Szechuan chicken and duck. We have chow mein and fried rice all the time so it’s normal for me. As for desserts, we have sticky rice and apple pie.”

“Sometimes we have Obgusht,” Kacey Bina said. “It’s a Persian dish. It’s a soup made with garbanzo bean meatballs, broth and for Thanksgiving we put cinnamon. There’s dried lemon and chicken quarters.”

“We do homemade sweet potato pies with marshmallows on top and candied yams,” Kerry Williams said. “We make gumbo with crab, chicken, shrimp, sausage and celery. You take the celery, flour and seasoning to make the rue.”
Thanksgiving is celebrated in so many ways with many cultures that have their own special dishes. With families and loved ones across different heritages, traditions cross over to America.