Thanksgiving meals are more than just turkey and gravy

Justyce Mirjanovic

Thanksgiving is a holiday spent eating, celebrating and spending time with family. The food plays a very important role in this holiday, with turkey being the main dish.

America is very diverse and many cultures have their own type of food they choose to eat on Thanksgiving. Some cultures do not even bother making a turkey and instead choose to make what they consider a feast.

Senior chemistry major Ashna Prasad comes from an Indian/Hindu home and their Thanksgiving consists of a variety of Indian food.

“Personally, my families don’t like turkey so as a substitute we bake a chicken,” Prasad said. “Along with the baked chicken we have different varieties of curries that include lamb curry, goat curry and my favorite, duck curry.”

Prasad said in Indian festivals they usually stick to a vegetarian diet, but this holiday does not require them to do. They still make a variety of vegetarian dishes to accommodate those who are vegetarian.

“My favorite part of Thanksgiving, and I am sure it’s everybody’s, is eating,” Prasad said. “I don’t really like to cook, but on this holiday I make sure I pick out a dish that I will make personally as a contribution to the dinner.”

Francis Macias, junior biology major, said her mom’s side of the family usually sticks to the traditional Thanksgiving meal. On her dad’s side of the family, her grandmother makes tamales, which she only makes on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“To not eat at least three tamales is like committing a crime and bringing shame to the family,” Macias joked.

Macias has the pleasure of having two Thanksgiving dinners, one at her grandmother’s and one at her aunt’s house. She loves the green beans her aunt makes and only gets to eat them on Thanksgiving.

“I would say my favorite part of Thanksgiving is having my family together,” Macias said. “Some family members can only come together for major holidays so it’s a pretty big deal.”

Senior sociology and women’s studies major Edgar Cruz comes from a Chicano home and also has tamales as a part of his Thanksgiving meal. They will make them out of chicken or turkey and they also eat posole.

They make their posole out of chicken or pork, and is a kind of red stew that blends different types of chilis. Cruz usually adds cabbage, lemon, onion and oregano after the stew simmers for awhile.

As a part of the meal, they eat a lot of traditional Chicano foods such as beans, rice and tostadas. Tostadas are made with a deep-fried tortilla topped with beans, meat and vegetables.

“I’ve always kind of seen the turkey and the mashed potatoes and the cranberry sauce as very kind of like American,” Cruz said. “However, I am taking an ethnic studies class and I learned that a lot of those are very native foods.”

He mentioned how he is going to have a different perception toward the food because he comes from a chicano home.

“My family might not be aware of the reasons Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, but it’s more of like family getting together,” Cruz said. “Usually we have 50-60 family members, it’s kind of like a big pot luck.”

Cruz’s favorite part of Thanksgiving is getting together with all his family and eating the food. He said his brother makes fried turkey, which is one of his favorites.

When making the perfect Thanksgiving feast, it seems most people like to stick to their own traditional cuisines.

Thanksgiving is about good food and getting together with family no matter what culture one comes from.