When it Comes to Thanksgiving, Stick to the Classics


Photo by Natali Brito

Rebecca Lim, News Editor

   As you and your family members each lug a serving dish filled with deliciousness to the dining table, and arrange them in picture-perfect fashion, you see it out of the corner of your eye; the odd one out: a plate of Korean BBQ amidst the legendary American Thanksgiving feast consisting of turkey, ham, stuffing, and a plethora of other side dishes–both savory and sweet. Immediately, the sense of disharmony stops you in your tracks. On one hand, it’s one of your favorite dishes, on the other, it’s Thanksgiving Day, so what in the world is that dish doing here? 

   For Americans who grew up immersed in two or more cultures, it’s extremely rare to have a meal that is fully monocultural, from either side. As a Korean-American, I eat some type of American food every day. I also eat some type of Korean food every day. I’ve gotten used to this mix of dishes over the past 16 years, but it doesn’t mean that I necessarily like this cultural clash when it comes to food. 

   On any other day of the year, you can enjoy your favorite multicultural dishes. For my family, that means Asian (usually Korean) dishes typically decorate our dinner table. Thanksgiving is the only break I get from this year-round multicultural culinary experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how hard my mom works to prepare these dishes, and I love almost all of these dishes. But they have no place at the Thanksgiving table. 

   Thanksgiving Day should first and foremost be a Thanksgiving meal. There are 364 other days in the year for you to enjoy your favorite multicultural dishes, so why taint Thanksgiving with them? Junior Jenna Garcia agrees, “I believe that keeping with a traditional variety of food for thanksgiving is my personal choice because we already do so many culturally inspired festivities, keeping with a tradition gives us something that we can enjoy every year with our families.” Just for one day, let’s enjoy the classic ham and/or turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, savory stuffing, and green bean casserole. Sophomore Abby Santos adds, “I think that the traditional side is the better side when it comes to Thanksgiving. I feel like Thanksgiving is all about family so I think that keeping the traditional family recipes is important,” she states. 

  Plus, when you either completely remove traditional Thanksgiving dishes or have a mix of traditional and multicultural, it ruins the spirit of the holiday. Imagine having a Christmas party and watching a horror movie instead of a Christmas movie? It’s the same concept. For such a food-centric holiday, bringing non-traditional dishes from cultures outside of American is a contamination. Junior Chelsea Ugwuozor expresses, “Personally, I really enjoy doing traditions/activities that put me in the holiday spirit. Food is one of the biggest parts of Thanksgiving, so traditional dishes are a must-have”; Thanksgiving simply isn’t Thanksgiving without the inclusion of traditional foods in the feast. 

   We don’t need the stress of culinary fusion on top of all of the Thanksgiving day stress, but whether you have a multicultural Thanksgiving spread, a completely non-American feast on Thanksgiving Day, or a completely traditional Thanksgiving with all the delicious classics, make sure you fill up– and save room for leftovers!