By Indira Midha
Thanksgiving is a very American holiday. It’s all about American family values and American food. But what do you do when your family isn’t American? What do you eat when you have a vegetarian family member who doesn’t eat turkey and gravy?
Being the first generation of my family born in the United States, I take great pride in my Hispanic and Southeast Asian roots. The majority of my family does not live in the United States – they are all in Spain or India, and so Thanksgiving dinner is not a huge family event for me.
It usually consists of my mom, my dad, my grandpa and I eating around the same table that every other meal is eaten in my house. Each of my parents comes from a different corner of the world with a different religious background. Since my household is not religious, there are no religious rituals, but we all express our gratitude for each other. In a family that is so spread out around the world, it is easier to express how thankful you are for one another because seeing each other is not a usual thing.
In terms of food, my parents deserve an award for the spread they put out every year. My mom tends to make some of the more traditional American Thanksgiving foods: turkey and some sort of potatoes. My dad will make some sort of heavier, filling dish that involves lentils or beans, good sources of protein for vegetarians. Additionally, he makes a mean baked mac ‘n cheese. As for desserts, we always buy pumpkin and pecan pies from our local bakery. Our meal is always a good mixture of adopting American traditions while integrating our own cultural elements.
Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, and that is something that is blind to all races, ethnicities, family structures, and dietary restrictions.