More Than Turkey: The Fusion of Cultures and Families at Thanksgiving in the U.S.

Chopsticks are an option at my family's Thanksgiving meal!

Chopsticks are an option at my family’s Thanksgiving meal!

My Nana (left) and her sister help prepare her much anticipated soup that she makes every year.

My Nana (left) and her sister help prepare her much anticipated soup that she makes every year.

My Nana dishing up her soup for everybody.

My Nana dishing up her soup for everybody.

Besides the traditional turkey, dressing/stuffing, green beans etc., my family incorporates our Taiwanese culture into holiday meals such as Thanksgiving. Pictured above is my Nana's delicious sticky rice!

Besides the traditional turkey, dressing/stuffing, green beans etc., my family incorporates our Taiwanese culture into holiday meals such as Thanksgiving. Pictured above is my Nana’s delicious sticky rice!

My cousins absolutely love my Nana's noodles. I'm thankful that she is still sharing her culture through food  so that my family can celebrate the different cultures that make us who we are.

My cousins absolutely love my Nana’s noodles. I’m thankful that she is still sharing her culture through food so that my family can celebrate the different cultures that make us who we are.

My mom (left) and aunt (right)

My mom (left) and aunt (right)

By: Kendal Feider

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7 thoughts on “More Than Turkey: The Fusion of Cultures and Families at Thanksgiving in the U.S.

  1. christopherjduclos

    This post reminded me of a Thanksgiving I had when I was either in the 5th or the 6th grade..I cannot remember.

    I went down to San Diego with my family to visit my relatives that lived on a military base. We’re Filipino. I remember the day we arrived we ordered and picked up a massive amount of pancit, lumpia, adobo and other commercial Filipino food. Thanksgiving was then slow and uneventful in my opinion back then. I remember asking my mom “Are we going to have Thanksgiving?” she said “This is Thanksgiving..are you hungry? go eat.” I wasn’t hungry because I was not in the mood for Filipino food for Thanksgiving. This was my first Thanksgiving where I did not have any American food.

    My point being that I had this preconceived notion at the time that Thanksgiving was all about the turkey, stuffing and so on. The innocence that was my age, I was also absorbed in this opinion that Thanksgiving was all about the food, when really – it wasn’t. In short, its about family..regardless of what kind of food you eat that could be aside from the traditional turkey and stuffing.

    I brought up this particular Thanksgiving and its sentimentality last year when my mom and brother came over to my apartment for an emergency Thanksgiving. I cooked spam fried rice for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  2. sreyabhowmik

    These pictures are beautiful! I love how you used such a traditional holiday like Thanksgiving to show the diversity in your family. This holiday is especially about being thankful for what we have, and even though I am not a part of this culture, I can appreciate the sentiment behind it. These pictures also reminded me of the Bengali New Year we celebrate in Bangladesh. Race and religion stop mattering, and we all just share meals and have fun with family, friends and the rest of the community. I love that you could express that feeling through the images. The picture with the dinner plate, chopsticks and steak knife is especially beautiful.

    Reply
  3. ssyun1014

    My family also has chopsticks on the table regardless of the food we’re eating. I haven’t had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family since I don’t live with them, but my friends and I do a Thanksgiving potluck every year. Besides turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, we also have soup, noodles, and Korean side dishes. I’ve always thought, why turkey? But I guess it’s just one of the traditions or beliefs that people in America, no matter what race, share in common.

    Reply
  4. William Hadibowo

    All pictures look so pretty! I love the idea of representing your ‘mixed race’ through a celebration of Thanksgiving. It shows other facets of reality about Thanksgiving; that it is not only a celebration that is celebrated by certain dominant group but also a celebration for the mixed race generation in America. Additionally, I think the pictures also generate a set of story that is clear for the audience. Great job! 🙂

    Reply
  5. wanshang

    Her photos are really great. From her photo essay, I can tell what people in families do on Thanksgiving in the U.S. She uses different kinds of photos, such as people, delicious food, and chopsticks. Before I saw this photo essay, I thought American people would only eat turkey in their families on Thanksgiving. Now, I realized that Thanksgiving was not all about the turkey. In the U.S., Thanksgiving is a special festival for American people. It reminds me of what we do in China. For Chinese people, Chinese New Year is the most important festival to spend.

    Reply
  6. vanessaashleytadena

    This photo essay reminds me a lot of the Thanksgivings that I’ve had when I used to live with my parents back home in Hawaii. We basically never had an American Thanksgiving before. In fact, I never really had turkey or ham for Thanksgiving until this past Thanksgiving. I totally feel like I’ve been missing out because American food is so good! Ugh. But anyways, I always ended up having Filipino food for Thanksgiving since that’s pretty much all my mom knows how to cook. Since my dad always worked on Thanksgiving day, my mom would always make the dishes herself and occasionally my grandma would help out too. We’d have pork adobo, lumpia, chicharon with tomato and patis, tilapia, pinakbet, kare kare and for dessert we’d have halo halo, puto, and sticky purple rice. When I saw your picture of the sticky rice, it definitely made me think of the sticky rice I’d always have for dessert. Definitely makes me miss home… And now I’m also craving for some good home cooked Filipino food. Or maybe just food in general because of your photos!

    Reply
  7. chellemiii

    The photo essay also reminds me of the Thanksgiving I’ve had since I started to study here! On last Thanksgiving table, my friends prepared turkeys for more than 10 of us. It felt like a family even I was far away from home. Like you said, we also had chopsticks and other Chinese food on the table. It is interesting the food on the table reminds us of who we are even we are far away from home. Food from my home country always comforts me and reminds who I am. The food looks so yummy!
    -Michelle

    Reply

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