Thursday, November 22, 2012

InCultureParent | Creating Our Own Thanksgiving Asian-American Style

An old story I wrote about my childhood, learning from my neighbors the Shigematsus how Thanksgiving could whatever we wanted it to be--teriyaki turkey and sweet potato tempura--and creating our own Asian American Thanksgiving...dusted off from the archives and reprised for InCultureParent Magazine:
My mother is one of the world’s greatest cooks. She never reads any cookbooks, and her dishes are never fancy or complicated. Yet every night we sit down to a delicious dinner of soup, greens, tofu or bean sprouts, stir fried chicken or beef, and rice. The sounds of the vegetables hitting the oil and the fragrant smells wafting through the house call us to dinner before my mom can. Every dish complements the others in color, taste, and texture. One will be green, another white; another will have red or orange accents. One dish will be crunchy, one crisp, and one creamy. Meals are perfectly balanced, just as she wishes our lives to be.

Except for Thanksgiving dinner.

When I was growing up, my family always tried to celebrate it like other American families did. It was one of the few days my father got off from work. My mother tried to cook a rare special dinner of “American food” as a treat. And it was the only day of the year my father led us in a prayer of thanks before we ate.

I never understood why other Americans got so excited about Thanksgiving. I understood the giving thanks part. I was thankful, too, for the freedoms and opportunities our family has had in America. But it was also a holiday about food, and the food, as I experienced it, was so bland and unappetizing. How do they eat it, I wondered, let alone celebrate it?
click on link for whole article: InCultureParent | Creating Our Own Thanksgiving Asian-American Style

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