A Different Kind of Thanksgiving
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? We wanted to take a look at it through a different lens. Usually Thanksgiving means turkey, family, and football -- a truly American holiday. As a first-generation Indian-American, however, my family didn’t exactly celebrate that way. We asked our staff members how they celebrated growing up + heard so many different, wonderful stories filled with traditionality as well as unique flair. We wanted to share how Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be celebrated in one single way + show how different cultures have adopted this holiday into their own.
“Mom mom, can we celebrate Thanksgiving with a giant turkey?”, I exasperated as I flew through the door. I had just finished my last day of first grade before Thanksgiving break and was pumped full of energy by the fact that I had a whole four day weekend. It was our little family of four’s first year in the U.S and new traditions were just beginning.
My mom always wanted to immerse us in American culture while putting her own Indian flare to the affair. We kept the spirit of Thanksgiving every year when we brought out our finest china and cooked a feast. We started a tradition of cooking a tandoori “turkey” in yogurt, rich Indian spices, lemon, and red onions. Only years later did I find out that my giant tandoori turkey was a whole chicken! Now that I’m older, my mom’s little maneuver makes a lot of sense economically and practically (there is no way 2 kids and 2 adults could have eaten a giant turkey). In addition, we would cook delectable and creamy basmati rice which was infused with coconut milk. We would pile on scoops of rice with a hearty scoop of daal or sambar to add a lentil-based stew. My brother’s favorite Thanksgiving meal was to always top off his rice with a mixture of daal and rasam, a tangy tomato-pepper soup, with a side of roasted potatoes. With all of the Indian traditions we brought over, we also borrowed traditions from our new home country. We had the quintessential apple pie always ready to fill our dessert belly - you know the belly that is empty after your dinner belly is full! The tradition I loved borrowing most of all was going around the table and recounting what we were most thankful for every year. I am so thankful that 20 some years ago my family was able to immerse itself in the celebration of Thanksgiving and garnished it with a few of our own touches."
- Shri Karthikeyan
Here at Buttermilk, we want to acknowledge that all families celebrate differently + that’s what makes it such a wonderful holiday! We created a Thanksgiving feast for ourselves with some of our favorite childhood dishes as the centerpiece -- daal, rasam, coconut rice, and of course pie! We’re excited to share our meal with you in pictures + recipes, so you can add it to your own table this holiday season!