Family, food and fun: How we celebrate Thanksgiving

Photo of tamales
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Thanksgiving does not only signal the close of November or that it’s time to play Christmas music, but it’s also a day that means something different for every person. On Thanksgiving Day, many kitchens fill with laughter and many take a moment to appreciate what they have. Whether you’re at home or staying with family, we know this Thanksgiving is a little different for everyone. So, a few of us at the Clog decided to share what Thanksgiving is like for us — in our homes, our cultures, our families — to bring some Thanksgiving right to your screen.

Thanksgiving with Isabella: A family potluck

In my family, Thanksgivings are always filled with early mornings, late nights and cleaning. The day begins with us waking up at 5 a.m. to begin the turkey! However, in my family, turkey is usually a side dish. We spend the hours that follow whipping up deserts —  brownies, cookies and pumpkin pies are the staples in my household. Then, like clockwork, members of my extended family begin to trickle into our house, bringing their own dishes to cook in our already busy kitchen. They bring their own staples: My abuela brings tamales, my uncle brings his famous grape jelly mushrooms, my Nana brings enchiladas and my cousins bring fruit salad. My home, once filled only with the smell of pumpkin pie and stuffing, then becomes a home for 25 people and their recipes (some from Mexico, others from a magazine). By 5 p.m., we end up with five tables filled to the brim — three reserved for my family and two for all the food we have — and our hearts are as full as our stomachs will be. We then say one thing we are grateful for and dig in.

Thanksgiving with Jazmin: A holiday rooted in family

In my family, our Thanksgivings differ each year! We live in Mexico but we are half South American, so sometimes we have a traditional Thanksgiving feast (turkey, stuffing, potatoes and the works) and other years we come up with random elaborate feasts! One memorable year, my mom and I made filet mignon with blue cheese sauce with a side of coconut curry rice. It was an eclectically delicious combination and is representative of the cultural diversity within my family! Regardless of what is on our table each year, one thing we always focus on is spending quality time together as a family: cooking elaborate meals, setting the dining table and enjoying a family movie afterward. 

Thanksgiving with Natalia: A day filled with fun and food 

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and way too much gravy pretty much sum up my Thanksgiving every year. With 30 Italians in my Nana’s house, the atmosphere is full of laughter and terrible dad jokes. Every year we have an olive eating contest, in which all the kiddos stick olives on their fingers and we all watch to see who eats one first — it’s so tempting! We pretty much have one meal for the entire day because everyone gets seconds and thirds. Of course, before anyone is served, we go around the room and every family member says one thing they are thankful for. This is my absolute favorite time of the year because all the jokes and laughs are put aside, even if only for 15 minutes, while we all give thanks and appreciate those around us. Eating loads of food and spending the day with the people I love most in the world — how can it get any better than that!

Thanksgiving with Kristie: A feast of both traditional and new recipes

Every year, Thanksgiving tends to look like this: My mom spends the whole morning cooking up her signature Taiwanese sticky rice. My dad grills rib-eye steak, vegetables and fish in the backyard. My sister and I are in the kitchen, baking holiday monkey bread or other fun recipes that we’ve found. My brother runs around helping here and there. My aunt arrives at around noon with more food and sometimes an extra dessert, too. The apple cider and pumpkin pie sit waiting in the fridge. We have a pumpkin pie obsession, so it’s probably our second or third one this month. This year, however, our menu consists of hot pot, teppanyaki and a Russian honey cake. While our Thanksgivings vary year to year, there are a few things that never change. My family spends the day eating and drinking and then lugging our stuffed selves out on post-meal walks. We laugh and smile, bellies full and warm, grateful for our time together.

From those of us at the Clog, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected], Jazmin Cubilla at [email protected], Natalia Brusco at [email protected] and Kristie Lin at [email protected].