Friday, December 3, 2010

Post 42.1: Thanksgiving Means Turkey... Not Hot Pot

A tour guest recently asked me what a Taiwanese Thanksgiving feast is like.  Hmmm... I had never really thought about it... but I can't speak for other Taiwanese or Taiwanese-Americans.  

For me I guess I always took Thanksgiving to mean turkey, and anything Taiwanese would be saved for the remaining 364 days of the year.  Anytime any family member proposed to have hot pot for Thanksgiving, I put up strong opposition, and that usually led to our having a turkey at Thanksgiving.  

The one year that hot pot was elected over turkey, my cousins and I boycotted dinner with an I Love Lucy style hunger strike.  There was much yelling, but there was even more silence.  Not that my family ever ate hot pot on a regular basis, but hot pot was too typical of a meal for me... it wasn't special enough for this once-in-a-year holiday.  I mean... I don't particularly like turkey, but Thanksgiving without turkey is like Old Glory without the stars and stripes.  Thanksgiving meant turkey, and my cousins and I would find a way to get our roasted bird no matter what it took.... even if it was compromised with sticky rice stuffing.

This was the spread at Aunt Christy's house this year. 

Cream of mushroom soup with a swirl of sour cream and Pillsbury croissants.

Ham from Honey Baked Ham Company.
Condiments are champagne honey mustard and pineapple marmalade.

Originally prepared as asparagus in garlic and olive oil.
But later tossed into a salad of mixed greens and crispy bacon.

The golden turkey.  No stuffing... but surrounded by mini potatoes.
My aunt made the Cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries and added orange zest to it.

The seafood dishes are must haves in our family.
Shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce on ice.  Linguine and clams with a forest of parsley.

Sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and pecan crust from Ruth's Chris.
No mashed potatoes this year? No problem.  Bye bye flat stomach.

If Aunt Jessica were stateside this year, there be two or three Marie Callender's pies on the table too, which probably makes our feast probably indistinguishable from from any other typical family's Thanksgiving feast... so I'm not sure if that answers the question, "What is a Taiwanese Thanksgiving feast like?"

But to throw in a little variation... how about another Taiwanese-American Thanksgiving feast from across town? Aunt Li doesn't eat turkey, chicken... or anything that walks on two feet, and her Thanksgiving dinner guests don't eat beef.  The compromise? Pork ribs from Tony Roma's. 

What was your Thanksgiving feast like?

ML - 20101202/20101125


  1. I'm pretty much the exact opposite. I've never had a traditional Thanksgiving feast and if I'm back home with family, we usually go out for sushi or Korean food since a lot of American restaurants are closed. In other words, Thanksgiving is a total non-event for us.

  2. we didn't have turkey this year, but we did have everything else-- mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and green bean casserole -- and i still feel like i got gipped!!!