The Courier staff shares what makes their holiday unique.
What’s my strategy for navigating through a Filipino Thanksgiving? Fill the first plate with traditional Thanksgiving fare. Then pile the second plate with Filipino dishes and other worldly food that somehow made it to the table. And if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll fill the third plate with a mix of what’s good.
This is the best thing about a Filipino Thanksgiving. The fusion of food reminds me of a quote from Filipino historical hero, Jose Rizal:
“He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”
When my dad came to Italy as a child, his family had to learn from our relatives that had already been here about Thanksgiving and how Americans celebrate it. Italians generally don’t make turkeys, so that’s something they had to learn how to do. Over time, we’ve taken American traditions for the holiday and also incorporated our own. We make lasagna and meatball soup every year, along with a turkey, fried zucchini, sweet potatoes, and corn. My dad makes his stuffing with apples, cranberries, and hot Italian sausage. We not only eat the stuffing on the side, but the turkey is also served with the stuffing inside of it.
When I was working in Disney World all my friends and I couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving, so I decided to cook it. I did what any brave 18 year-old would do sans family for the holiday: cook a 25 lb. turkey for 20 of my closest friends. Made the whole spread: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin and pecan pies – I even brined the turkey! . I set the table with chargers and wine glasses – even name cards. Thanks to my mom on constant speaker phone, I had a Thanksgiving straight from my house in Chicago to my apartment in Orlando. We were having such a good time we even forgot there was salad still in the fridge!
My Thanksgiving is really special because my grandma cooks an amazing meal and my great Uncle Howie (98 years old!) gives a blessing. My grandma’s house holds a special place in my heart because of her nostalgic Christmas tree and decorations. She also makes everyone a handcrafted gift each year, and is the most giving and inspirational person. I feel so lucky to have her in my life and to be able to spend holidays with her and our family all together. My husband and I will be married two years this November, and we have started to create our own traditions as well!
Back home in San Diego, my Thanksgivings were spent at my grandparents’ house. My grandma runs an amazing catering business, so the food at the table is always delicious. At least thirty friends and family members enjoy the meal. From cheesy potatoes to an amazing cranberry dish, there is so much food and plenty of leftovers. Don’t forget the football. The TV room is crowded with people watching the games. Overall, in my family, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be with the ones you love.
Haven’t been able to have Thanksgiving as a whole family in almost eight years. However, last year my brother came home from the army for Thanksgiving and I was able to see everyone together in Outer banks, North Carolina. So last year was really special.