Thanksgiving Reaches the Culture of Students

Photo provided by Jamie McCloud
Jamie McCloud gets to have the best of both worlds with a half-American, half-Dominican Thanksgiving experience.

I moved to America from France at age ten; I was foreign to the country as well as its native traditions. Amongst these traditions was the one of Thanksgiving: (in North America) an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November, as defined by Google Dictionary. So, when my family moved here, the “Thanksgiving tradition” was unlike anything we already knew. We have, over time however, adapted to the American way of life and now happily spend Thanksgiving with our immediate family. We still, however, have added a European twist to how we celebrate the holiday, mainly in the form of traditional foods. We still have the traditional turkey, but it is usually coupled with another meat, such as beef. We also do not have the traditional yam casserole or stuffing, but instead we have asparagus and broccoli coupled with different salads. Lastly, for dessert, instead of an assortment of pies, we have the traditional Buche, which is a chocolate cake rolled up with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Freshmen Jamie McCloud and Ariane Drakic-Cuéllar are in the same boat as I, both having a culture diverging from the American norm. Jamie Mccloud is half Dominican. Because of this, she also eats a wide variety of non-American foods for her family’s Thanksgiving: “We have chicken, ham, and turkey, empanadas, rice and beans, flan, and tres leches.” Ariane, who is Bolivian, also has a diverse food selection for her family’s Thanksgiving: “We usually eat about the same things but with a mix of either Cuban or Bolivian food like croquetas, frijoles, milanesa and salads.” When asked if they have any traditions differing from Americans, Drakic-Cuéllar responded, “Not really, we just have a lot of people who come over,” McCloud added: “It’s a party!”

When asked about her culture, Freshman Paige Shorey had the perfect way to describe hers: “My family is as American as it gets!”  They are, what one might call the perfect model for a “traditional American family.” So when asked what her family traditionally eats at Thanksgiving dinner, the answer proved her original claim true: “The normal turkey, cranberry sauce, we always bring the Waldorf salad, rolls, mashed potatoes… I always get extra helpings of rolls.” One couldn’t find a more traditional Thanksgiving meal if Googling it! When asked of her Thanksgiving traditions, her answer was concise: “We always go to my Nana’s house. She bakes like most of the stuff.” So, whether you are French, Dominican, Bolivian, or plain American, everyone can pull away from this that Thanksgiving is a delicious holiday. One which should be celebrated in giving thanks to your loved ones, as well as enjoying the multitude of foods your family makes.

by celeste pollack–news editor