Thanksgiving: Your Own Taste


Photo by Natali Brito

Rebekah Barrera, Staff Writer

   The oven timer dings, sending both you and your growing hunger jumping up to follow the smell that lures your nose in. Combined with the cool weather, soft breezes, and the gratitude in the air of Thanksgiving Day, the smell of your dinner is only further proof of how perfect the day is. As you excitedly make your way out of your bedroom and into the decorated dining room, you wonder what home-cooked meal awaits you on the dinner table. But in place of the usual warm-colored placemats and fall-themed centerpieces, there’s a new sight to see: numerous piles of Filipino food sit organized on top of banana leaves, as if they were a canvas. In the middle of the feast: a roasted pig.

     For other cultures, the meal might be entirely different. Some at least add their own touch to the common baked turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and so on. The point is, why have a plain Thanksgiving when you have the opportunity to spice it up?

     As a Filipino-American, taking on the country’s normal practices is an everyday thing for me, but I also find true value in it. For most of my meals, I’m given a taste of the Philippines, or a taste of home. Sure, eating Filipino food everyday can get tiring and maybe even boring, and a conventional Thanksgiving dinner can provide you a break from it. But when it comes to a holiday like this, the traditions are special enough to deliver a new feeling of excitement.

     For one thing, Filipino boodle fights, in which we don’t use any utensils or dishes but eat with our hands on banana leaves, is unique in its own sense. Sophomore Orion Taleon loves this practice, expressing how he enjoys “the strong sense of family and community you get when you are all eating from the same ‘plate’”. This adds to the feeling of thanks already surrounding the day, creating a touch of intimacy that wasn’t there before.

     Orion’s sister, freshman Orwen Taleon, expands on this, saying that “The way of eating it is a fun experience, and the Filipino food is delicious.” With foods like lechon, sopas, lumpia, adobo, leche flan, and so much more tacked on to the regular American dishes, it is truly a celebration like no other.

     Food is a preference, but when it comes down to culture, it’s not something you can just put aside for one day. As tired of it as you can get some days, it’s a significant personal experience being able to emphasize your culture on holidays like Thanksgiving. As sophomore Gabriella Tolentino puts it, “I find it important to incorporate our culture into this holiday because I feel it adds a more familiar feel, making it more comfortable for all of us to celebrate it.”

     Lots of us celebrate this day of thanks with the same general routine, from the traditions we participate in to the meals we eat. This year, in honor of new experiences, add some flavor to the holiday and spice up your Thanksgiving!