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Friday, October 26, 2012

Multicultural Thanksgiving Meals and Traditions

Thanksgiving was always special for me growing up. Coming from an Asian-American household, Thanksgiving was a wonderful addition to our holiday line up. I fondly remember the sights and sounds the season brings, the Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends, and the wonderful food that was prepared.

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When it comes to traditions, there is really no set tradition aside from the Thanksgiving meal. But lately, watching The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade or a Football game has been a regular tradition for most families. Also, mostly everybody dresses in their best, fathers and mothers in their best Thanksgiving get up, girls in Thanksgiving dresses and boys in their handsome Thanksgiving ensemble. But you can do anything you want as a Thanksgiving tradition. Some of my friends play exciting and fun games with the family every Thanksgiving. I know some who made it a tradition that everyone helps out with cooking the Thanksgiving meal.

Being of an Asian-American household, sometimes we substitute the traditional Thanksgiving turkey with a roasted duck and other Chinese themed foods like dim sum and fried rice. It is funny how multicultural families here integrate their menu traditions with Thanksgiving. Here are some examples:

  • My Filipino friends would have a suckling roasted pig, wide known in the Philippines as “litson” side by side with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. They even serve a pork-blood stew called “dinuguan” which my friend says taste really good. I will have to take his word on that.

  • In Hawaii, they have their own take of the traditional turkey, the Kalua Turkey, derived from the Kalua Pig. The turkey is seasoned with Hawaiian salt or sea salt and different traditional Hawaiian seasoning and roasted in a pit. This is usually served with a Hawaiian version of Cranberry sauced which is mixed with pineapple and mango juice. Hawaiians also serve rice as part of the Thanksgiving meal.

  • Some Latin households will use traditional ingredients with their Thanksgiving meals like “chorizo” (Spanish sausage), paprika, cilantro and oregano with the turkey stuffing.

  • A Japanese friend related to me how she integrated Japanese flavors in her Thanksgiving meal. She seasoned her turkey with light soy sauce, brown sugar and a pinch of wasabi powder. She also had some mash potatoes with a hint of wasabi. Yummy!
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These are just a few examples of how many multicultural families integrates their cultural traditions with Thanksgiving, such a yummy and exciting way to enjoy the holidays.

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