The Americanization of My Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving
(Snapshot of the Thanksgiving dinner table – and it’s only partially full!)

After spending close to a week in China for work, followed by a brief but wondrous 3 1/2 days in Taiwan (alas, a trip too short), I finally landed back on U.S. soil on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. I barely had time to unpack before having to pack again the next day to fly out to DC to join AK’s family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Although AK’s parents are immigrants, the second generation kids (AK and his sister CK) have fully adopted this American tradition.  Thanksgiving dinner typically entails the family (mostly CK) cooking all day and night, churning out dish after dish of old favorites.  CK really is a fiend in the kitchen, and this year, over the course of just one day (she had the stomach flu the days prior and could not get an earlier start), she served up delicious turkey and stuffing, accompanied by homemade gravy and cranberry sauce, as well as mashed potatoes, sweet potato mash, sweet potato biscuits, hominy (a Southern corn-based dish similar to polenta/grits – I had to look it up too so feel free to click on the Wikipedia link I provided) and pumpkin pies (note the plural).  AK also contributed a tasty beef stew with “lardon” (French-style bacon) and macaroni & cheese (topped with homemade bread crumbs).  Side note:  Homemade mac & cheese should not be mentioned in the same breadth as that from a Kraft box.  It’s like comparing In-N-Out to McDonald’s, or the grocery-store Hostess powdered “donettes” to Krispy Kreme or the mochi donuts at Mister Donut (the one in Taiwan or Japan, not the US franchise).  Oh, but I digress…

Thanks to Hui, I also was able to add to this bonanza our token vegetable dish – green bean casserole – and my personal favorite, candied yam (forgot to take a photo – although I may have stuck an extra stick of butter into it due to miscalculation, so perhaps it’s better not to document the surfacing and hardening of the butter).  I think my green bean casserole turned out pretty well, although I may have been a little heavy-handed with the crispy French onions:

Green Bean Casserole
(My first attempt at green bean casserole)

The funny thing is, before marrying into AK’s family, I have never had a fully “American” Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanksgiving means Chinese food or, very often, hot pot (seriously, what’s better than cooking food in piping hot broth on a wintery day?)  In fact, I remember one year when I made cranberry sauce for the first time to accompany the turkey (or was it chicken?) from 99 Ranch – which conveniently offers an annual “Thanksgiving Package” of turkey, sticky rice and other Chinese delicacies – Small N questioned my “whiteness” (he is not the most PC, to say the least) and declared that no one in the family would eat it.  And he was right.  Did I also mention that JL famously declared that he would never move to an area without a 99 Ranch store?  (He has since moved to Taiwan, so I guess that proclamation is moot.)  You get the idea about my family.

All these dishes were prepared for a family of only FIVE.  Of course we could not finish, although we ate until our hands were tired from lifting our forks.  No wonder the average American gains 8 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I better start my work-out regimen again soon…

It was once again a great Thanksgiving, full of wonderful food and good family time.  We even ventured out to Lebanese Taverna in Bethesday (delish!) and saw the movie “Australia” with AK’s parents (not bad, but too slow and too long…though no question Hugh Jackman is a sexy beast – “sexiest man alive” according to People Magazine).  The only bit of misfortune was that I came down with the cold right after Thanksgiving – between the extreme cold weather, the general lack of sleep and the international jet lag, my body finally broke down in protest.  But with many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I suppose this is just a small setback.  Hope I recover soon so I can start working off the extra weight I am certain I have gained from China/Taiwan/Thanksgiving!

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8 thoughts on “The Americanization of My Thanksgiving

  1. 我一直在等妳寫台灣聚會的文章,先過感恩節了呢!
    妳真是天下第一孝女,就扛著那三十斤茶葉回美國了,值得表彰!
    每次回台灣時間都太短了,不過這次已經搶到不少時間了,
    聖誕節又要到三姨家大吃特吃了!

  2. Yes, I will write about the Taiwan trip very soon. Since you already included such details on both days that the family got together, I thought I have a little bit more time…haha. You are such a fast blogger!!! I will try to learn from you as my new role model. 🙂

    The tea is probably not 30kg, but more like 30 lbs… Thankfully 2nd Aunt too 1/4 of the package back with her, and thank you for helping me drag the box to my hotel!

  3. you should all know that c3 later gave addiitional things for c2 to carry. her bags felt like a ton…. (a British ton, so heavier than an American ton…)… CM, a reminder, you might leave out certain photos in order to avoid unnecessary controversies… hint: CS posted them already… Nice Thanksgiving! That is my favourite holiday… nothing compares. I need to get me one of those all-American Thanksgiving dinners one of these days.

  4. I feel that this blog entry can be more aptly entitled, ‘I married a banana and other bedtime twinkie stories.’ i should endorse a link the blog “what white people like.” okay, gotta go, i’m going to go do the white clap-and-shift dance.

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