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I find it somewhat disappointing to learn that the foods associated with Thanksgiving are prepared in a European way. I have always thought of these foods as representing a moment of camaraderie between the European settlers and the Native Americans, when the settlers accepted something completely foreign to them. Although I suppose it just makes sense that they would still cook new foods in familiar ways.

 

My family eats pretty traditional Thanksgiving foods, turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin and pecan pie. The idea is that these are American foods, as opposed to the ham or sausage on Christmas, which I guess go back to our German roots. Our meal is prepared mostly by the women, with some input from the men on the meat. And the turkey is carved by a man, of course. After the meal the dishes are done by the women and female children while the men and boys watch football. Even the women of my grandmother's generation, who don't really do dishes any more, stay in the kitchen and socialize with the women. Because of this immediate separation of women and men, Thanksgiving was always one of the few times that I ever noticed gender roles. My mother is a huge football fan, yet she does her part in the kitchen before she can go watch the game. And my father cooks and does dishes daily, yet not on this day, when there are tons more dishes to do. Even my uncle, who is an excellent cook and contributes to meals on Christmas and Easter, leaves Thanksgiving to the women.

Blog Comment to Unknown Blogger- Posted at 2:06pm

I had a similar experience with my mom doing the cooking, and with Thanksgiving changing after the divorce of my parents. I think you bring up a good point about Thanksgiving being mass-media-produced. I know Rainbow Foods will match any competitor's turkey price, and some restaurants remain open to serve those who do not want to cook or have no family to enjoy the holiday with (which, as you pointed out, is a crime- Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times where suddenly everyone cares where you will be and who you will be with). Like you said, it is not acceptable to be alone during the holidays. It is the one time of year when it is made sure that the homeless have food to eat (and I believe when people are most generous with their food shelf donations).

Similar to what you mentioned about the hotel dinner, I traveled to New York City one year with my grandma, and we ate our Thanksgiving dinner at Tavern on the Green. I remember it being so-so, but it was around $100 per plate, and it's not like we were given second helpings. In fact, if I remember correctly, the portions were fairly small. But the price was so high because of the "special occasion." For it being such a special occasion, it is interesting how everyone who went to Tavern on the Green that day received exactly the same food.

Thanksgiving Food

We are lapsed Congregationalists on my dad's side of the family. You can think of the Congregational Church as a sort of pre-Great Awakening Protestant denomination, which rose from the Puritan reformation of the Church of England. Loosely translated: we were once a family of Puritan settlers.

 

One of my favorite authors ever is Sarah Vowell and she has an amazing book about the settling of New England called "The Wordy Shipmates". She makes the colonization of American incredibly interesting and incredibly funny, and bills the Puritans as fascinating, but also huge jerks. Everyone should read the book!!! My family has always felt the same way, and despite being able to trace the family tree back to the original colonists, Thanksgiving has never really been that important of a holiday outside of the food.

 

My mother is an amazing, amazing, amazing cook, but the only times she ever really does cook is for the holidays. She also never wants to cook anything plainly, but always has these fancy, gourmet twists on new recipes. It's funny because the family members that comes to Thanksgiving each year are all super picky eaters, so even though my mom always prepares this amazing mean, no one really appreciates it.

 

This week's blog questions asks about room for resistance with Thanksgiving observances, and I think this year my mom is sort of resisting people not appreciating her meals; this year, my mom is not making anything traditional, but just a hodge podge of stuff the family likes. I could not be more disappointed, and bought cranberries and stuff to make stuffing anyway.

 

I think Thanksgiving and the traditional meal refutes Tisdale's argument that there is no truly American food. Every core ingredient may be borrowed, but the way that we mix foods is uniquely American, and I think that's the same for all countries. Maybe a lot of American food is defined by big, fast, and processed, but I think there are a lot of traditional meat and potato meals that speak of regional culture. And she barely even mentioned the Midwestern hot dishes! (And on a side note, I got a bit upset when reading Tisdale's essay because she discusses a Ritz cracker casserole as being from a trailer park in Florida. I thought that was incredibly classist, especially because I love hot dishes and believe they were an important part of my Midwestern upbringing).

Blog 12

I remember that we always had a turkey, a ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet corn, usually a mixed veggie plate, bread, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.  My mom definitely "performed her gender role" and made all the food...but as soon as my parents divorced we no longer had Thanksgiving dinner.  The last time we planned to have Thanksgiving dinner together was roughly 2006 when I came home from school and we were going to go to the $30 Radisson Hotel dinner so she did not have to cook.

I feel like the food for Thanksgiving is somewhat culturally American...in that I mean mass media produced, anyone and everyone trying to earn a buck from grocery stores to HOTELS serving a dinner.  I think the class aspect comes in through advertising...everyone who has cable cannot help but see advertisements for specials on Thanksgiving food and commercials about families coming together to hang out and watch football.  The class aspect as those who can afford TV...but I also believe that the media has made it "unacceptable" to be alone for Thanksgiving...why would you want to spend that day alone when you should be making dinner with your family and overeating?

I think this year is going to be the first since I was 16 that I'm going to have dinner (not consisting of Thanksgiving food however)...with a friend who doesn't celebrate holidays but feels like she shouldn't be alone either.
 

Missing the Good Ole Days

My thanksgivings have definitely changed over the years. When my parents were married and I lived in a big house out in the country, both my mom's side and my dad's side, along with some family friends would come over to my house, and my mom would prepare most of the food. It was super chaotic, but it was a big deal. We had tons of delicious, traditional Thanksgiving food. My mom made very tasty home-made gravy and potatoes, and we had turkey, cranberries, yams, stuffing, various desserts etc. It was the best.

After my parents divorced, we had two separate Thanksgivings; one at my dad's parents' house and the other at my mom's parents' house. That went well for awhile, but as we have all gotten older, it has been much more difficult to hold Thanksgiving the way we did in the past. My great-grandparents, mom and aunt all passed away, one of my cousins has been in jail, his sister has been in a group home, and our family friends no longer come. My mom's side consists only of my grandparents because my uncle lives in Texas, so we no longer do Thanksgiving at their home- they will occasionally stop by my other grandparent's Thanksgiving. The food that we now have is often just snacks because A) my grandma is not the greatest cook, and B) my grandparents are never sure how many people will come. My immediate family makes up most of my larger family, with my five siblings and I, and we all have significant others that we have to share Thanksgiving with.

When we do have a meal at Thanksgiving nowadays, my siblings and I are always disappointed because it has been potatoes with no gravy, fruits, veggies, and some strange salad or other concoction that we are unfamiliar with. My grandma's cooking is in no way comparable to my mom's and we all know it. 
  
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is just not the same as it once was.


Blog 12

In my family Thanksgiving is celebrated with turkey, usually deep fried, mashed potatoes, lots of gravy, canned cranberries (jellied), stuffing, green bean casserole, and pumpkin/apple pie.  The duties of preparing and cooking this meal are shared by all, my sisters and their husbands, my mother, and me.  Also while the food is cooking, we always play pinochle, which is a very difficult strategic card game.  This has been our Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember.  I remember one year my sister Marilee suggested that we eat Prime Rib for Thanksgiving, that did not go over well with my mother.  She always stated "tradition is important and we are going to keep it this way".  The meaning of Thanksgiving to my mother is so important that anything/anyone who could change it would cause the ultimate devastation to her. To her Thanksgiving is a time when tradition shall not be changed, as same with Christmas.

One thing I have always found amusing, yet annoying about Thanksgiving is that it's Americans' excuse to gain extra weight from now until New Year's. Tisdale states, "Everything's bigger in America." It's true, our culture is obsessed with "fast, plentiful food" states Tisdale.  Thanksgiving is the description of American cuisine. 

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Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I love having my family together and eating all day. My family always makes fresh cranberry compote, my aunt's famous mashed potatoes (packed with cream cheese and butter, really good for the arteries) and sweet potatoes with brown sugar on top. Recently my dad has decided to make Thanksgiving an extreme sport, so now we have a deep fried turkey every year as well as deep fried potatoes. My family gets along very well, but as much as I love the food associated with Thanksgiving, I agree with Tisdale's view that American cuisine is largely behavioral. Usually my family gets together at about 1pm, and doesn't eat until about 4 or 5. We spend the time in between cooking, talking, laughing, and playing games. 

In fact, this year, for the second year in a row, I am spending Thanksgiving with my mom's family in Minneapolis. This is for a variety of reasons, but I am not looking forward to this as much as I would my normal Thanksgiving tradition with my dad's family. Despite the fact that I'm sure many of the same foods will be served, it reinforces to me Tisdale's view that our cuisine is behavioral. Thanksgiving meals are prepared in some ways as a tip of the hat to the Native American culture, but they are saturated with European influences, and altered slightly in respect to each family's heritage, and personal traditions. Even a slight alteration to such traditions makes me want to reject them without trying them first.

I also agree with Tisdale's view that Thanksgiving is the American meal. American in the sense that despite the view that only traditional foods served, each family, whether they be biological families or families of friends, are changed, either made more healthy, as my friend Claire's family does, or changed to reflect their heritage, as my friend Mario's family does. 

Week 12 Blog

Holidays have always been spent with family, and Thanksgiving is no exception. I have always gone to my grandmothers house and ate a big Thanksgiving lunch. We always have turkey, mashes potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. This is a very traditional meal for most Americans on Thanksgiving. I think race is included in the events of Thanksgiving because families that are from other countries incorporate their traditional food into the regular spread. Hmong families could have eggrolls, and some Italian families might have some sort of pizza. Class comes into play when affordability is taken into account. This means that some families may be able to afford the fancy turkey, while some have to settle for just the breast, most of the time frozen. The more wealthy families will be able to buy all the food they see fit to be on the table (depending on race discussed above), and be able to host a place where the family can come together and eat. Gender can also be discussed here; most of the time it is the women who prepare the dinner, as well as clean it up. I believe this is the case because of tradition, because of the roles and positions women play in society, they seems to just end up doing all the housework even though we live in the 21st century and things should be different. In my family it is the women who do all the preparation, however, the men do help clean up, but only a little bit. This doesn't seem to be a problem in my family because everyone has accepted their roles and don't have a problem fulfilling them even though this is a discourse. Even though there is all these differences about Thanksgiving when thinking about race, class, and gender, I truly believe that Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and enjoy it.
The idea that America does not have it's own food is true in my mind. The idea of the "melting pot" is a good way to explain it. Native Americans were in the Americas before we were, which means that they had their own culture and food, which we incorporate into out Thanksgiving dinner. Families from other cultures also incorporate their traditional food into the regular meal. So, whatever food is at the table, it has been on a table somewhere else first. 

Week 12 Blog: FOOD

To me, Thanksgiving is hands-down the best holiday of the year. My obsession with food is further justified on this glorious day. My family is Italian, so a lot of my love of food comes from this part of my identity. Although I live in a typical "Nuclear Unit" family with a mom, dad, and sister, we seem to defy traditional gender roles. A clear example of this is the preparation of food. As long as I can remember, my dad has ALWAYS prepared dinner. He made me lunch as long as I can remember; even days in college when I commuted from home, there would always be a brown paper bag with my name on it to grab as I left the house. Thanksgiving holds the same truth in my family: my dad is always cooking. He spends most of his time on the turkey, vegetables, potatoes, etc. I help my dad take out the insides of the turkey and am always his helper on the side. I LOVE to bake, so I happily take up the pumpkin-pie baking. My mom and sister, both lovers of food, seem to do other odd-jobs in the kitchen at Thanksgiving: stir the gravy, open the can of cranberry sauce, etc. Although my dad does most of the cooking, he never makes it seem that way. All the small parts of Thanksgiving dinner is appreciated by everyone, however small the contribution. Domestic roles are obviously gendered, and I am proud to say that my family is a little different in this respect.

I agree with Tisdale that there is no true "American cuisine," that most of all the dishes we Americans know and love have actually stemmed from some other part of the world. This is another reason why I love food as much as I do: whatever I'm eating has some outside influence. I really enjoyed the readings this week and their quick history of food. It's interesting to know facts about pasta and tomatoes, potatoes, clam chowder, etc., as almost stolen ideas from some other culture's delicacies. I LOVE FOOD!!!!!!

Blog Post #12

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I find deeply mired in political confusions and cultural appropriations in every possible way, so naturally, that includes the food consumed for the Thanksgiving "feast". Is it American, is it European, is it Native American, I found that Thanksgiving most closely mirrors Tisdale's assertion that there is no "American" as we like to think of it, that Thanksgiving, and it's food, is one large cultural bastardization, fraught with excess and gluttony. In one viewpoint, that in itself could be demonstrative of America, as a nation that prides itself on gross excess. Possibly, that is the only way Thanksgiving is even remotely "American". Within a traditional mindset of popularized American history, Thanksgiving is American because it's (ostensibly) about the unification of the colonizers and the natives. Naturally, this is based in large part on a lie that I can only assume was placed into history to assuage guilty colonial American conciounces. Perhaps this too is "American", or at lest the truest definition of what American is; lies and gluttony, and the celebration of both.

This plays out into the food that America consumes during Thanksgiving: green bean casserole, store bought stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce from a can. Mass produced, normalized and NOT AMERICAN, at least not in the sense that it was made by Americans (as packaged and processed in Mexico, South America or China attests to). American, maybe in the sense that it was intended for Americans, for American consumption perhaps, but in no way originating from America. What does that say about a supposedly "American" holiday and "American" holiday foods? I say it points to yet another example of appropriating other sources for the glorification of America, but in no way pertains to an actual America. Unless, your view of America is one of a nation that has no roots in it's own traditions and only aquires other nation's traditions, warping them into something neither original nor familiar, but something that has been marketed as both. Maybe that is the real America, the ability to take something that belongs to another, twist it beyond recognition and then claim it's something new, something "American", not recognizing origins. Again, the celebration and glorification of a lie, spelt out in food.

Thanksgiving (like every major holiday feast) also has rituals involving the preparation of supposedly American food. Within households, I've found that women are expected to cook the meal and men are expected to carve the turkey. I suppose this dervives from the old caveman "Ug, I bring dead animal" male mentality that is so normalized within America, of men doing some sort of sembalance of providing, even if they don't do the actual labor. (Carving a turkey and cooking one are very different allocactions of labor, as someone who has done both I can say with assurance that one is definataly easier than the other, though no points for guessing which one.) The turkey, typically being the centerpiece, is given a special importance. Carving it becomes a somewhat aggrandizing gesture, the "start" of the meal. Although the woman has created the meal, the meal does not actually commence until the man begins it. So one could make the argument that Thanksgiving is also a paternal holiday, maybe moreso than any other holiday widely celebrated in America, due to the ritualistic way it prizes men to begin it. I could be off base here (I'm uncertain if it is the same sort of thing for Christmas, since I'm Jewish and don't celebrate it), but within my experiance Thanksgiving has always seemed to have a heavier bend towards male achievement (more of, "you carved the turkey beautifully" than "wow, this turkey is cooked really well").

In summation, Thanksgiving is quite possibly one of the most depressing American holidays in existance; the glorification of sloth, gluttony and the under appreciation of women and the under awareness of the cultures that have contributed into the formation of this holiday. I suppose, in one sense this could also be the ultimate expression of American perversity, as  a nation that disregards women and other cultures in favor of an imagined ingenuity. America is spoiled and ungrateful, self deluding and proud of it, and so it makes sense that Thanksgiving is such a celebrated American holiday, as it is the holiday that perfectly captures and embodies these traits. On that note, perhaps some definace of tradition is in order, the "resistance" that Lebesco talks about. After all, it's not like the parts that make Thanksgiving good are the parts we should attribute to American values.

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When I was younger I remember thanksgiving being a huge event that always involved my family traveling to one of the grandparents house and having the entire extended family there.  My grandmas and all the women in the family would do all the cooking.  We usually had the standard turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, potatoe salad, cranberries, etc.  While the women cooked all the men would go and watch the football game and wait for the food to be readied.  Large quantities of wine and liquor would also be consumed and someone in the family would typically get in a fight or get pissed off and leave.  It always made for a lovely holiday get together. 

Around the time I was in highschool my family quit doing the whole large family thanksigiving thing.  We decided to not deal with the large stressful family and we were sick of always having to travel somewhere.  When its just my immediate family thanksgiving at our house the tables are completley turned.  My dad does the majority of the cooking.  My mom is the big football fan in the family so she gets to drink wine and watch all the games while my dad cooks.  We have turkey, twice baked potatoes, stuffing, lefse, homemade bread, and a pie which always comes from the perkins bakery.  My brother and I do all the clean up work after the meal and then the four of us enjoy some wine and a game of trivial pursuit.  I love having thanksgiving this way so much more than the whole large family get together.  I get more time to actually talk with my family and things are way more laid back and just make it a much more peaceful experience. 

I think gender, race, and class are all displayed in the tradition of thanksgiving.  In the ways my family currently celebrates thanksgiving gender doesn't have a strong implications.  But the ways we used to celebrate and in many of the other blogs I've read gender determines who is doing the cooking, cleaning, football watching, etc.  I think class also plays into thanksgiving.  A familie's income could maybe determine what food is served and can be afforded and the quantity of how much can be served.  Race may be a large factor in what type of food is served whether it is a family recipe that may have been passed down, an ethnic dish, or  even the ways in which the dinner is eaten. 

I believe that Tisdale's arguement that there is no such thing as american cuisine.  America is made up of so many different cultures and is a melting pot of immigrants.  There are vast amounts of differences in families and what type of food is eaten at thanksgiving.  The traditiong of thanksgiving may be American but the food is a blend of cultures.  In terms of resistence in the practice of thanksgiving I believe there is plenty of room for this to take place.  My family for instance broke the stereotypical gender roles in the thanksgiving tradition by having my father cook the meal.  I also know that plenty of people are having thanksgivings with non traditional foods and making it more original.     

 

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I think Tisdales argument that there truly is no actual American cuisine is right on. Yes, food has "supposed" origins from all over the world. True, America is a melting pot of culture. I really can't help but think it is a little presumptuous for anyone/any culture to claim knowledge of or creation of a particular food. So the Native Americans introduced Europeans to corn, new agricultural processes, etc. If anything, I have learned that no idea is the first original idea, everything has been done before. We can look back only a minuscule amount of time and have limited documentation as to what was going on. These documents are also heavily biased by the authors. I'm just saying there are probably a lot more sides to this story then we know or have access to. Native American tradition, policy, etc. was passed on by spoken word, stories, and hands on training. Today, numerous native languages are passing away with the elders of those tribes. Some will never be known again. With this death of knowledge comes the death of history. OK, now for the not-crazy ranting.
I have had Thanksgiving at my Grandparents the last few years but used to spend it at my uncles and aunts since I was young. I always eat too much. There are sentimental dishes made in memory of family no loner with us. I make lefse a traditional Norwegian potato delight with my grandparents the day before everyone comes over. It's a time to think about our heritage, culture, family and, future. Of all the Thanksgivings I can remember, the ones where I could not be with my family stick out the most. It's amazing how much I took family time for granted. Instead, of me huffing and puffing about getting things done and having to have the same conversation about school twenty times, I really began to miss the tradition and with that the food. I think that is why traditional thanksgiving dishes can be sometimes be thought of as comfort food. Turkey = family

Blog #12

The kind of food that my family and I associate with on Thanksgiving is Turkey, mash potato and gravy, stuffing, papaya, eggroll, fried rice and white rice, and other small dishes. We have a mixture of American and Hmong cuisine and we always do have both kinds of cuisine every year. It is a good thing to have both because my family and cousins like to have a variety of food to eat during Thanksgiving. What I like about my family is that we are very close and enjoy spending as much time as we can with my cousins when it comes to holidays. For Thanksgiving, we eat, talk, catch up with each other, and have fun with the kids. Every year we choose a different house to hold the holiday gathering so that it would be fair with the whole family instead of just one place.

Thanksgiving does involve with race, class, and gender because race involves with religion or culture, class could be money to buy food, and gender is who cooks the food. For race, most families would eat American cuisine, but my family likes to also have the Hmong cuisine and I grew up having both during Thanksgiving. For class, my family is Hmong and since there are about 7 families at the gathering then each family brings one dish for the gathering. It is well distributed and anyone can bring extra food if they want to. For gender, most of the women cook and set up everything for Thanksgiving and the men just eat when everything is ready. The women in my family, grew up knowing that they have to cook, clean, be a good wife and mother and so when it comes to this holiday or other holidays or events, they are the ones who usually cook and do everything.

Blog #12

Thanksgiving in my house always followed the same pattern. My mom, grandma, aunts, and any other "female" present would spend the day cooking various traditional Thanksgiving foods while my dad, brother, grandpa, and all the other males would be parked in the living room watching football. Every year we would have the same tradition, if you could call work allotment and television watching a tradition. While this is the way things always were for me and I don't want to change things, I always thought it a little unfair that my mom and grandma would work so hard while my dad and grandpa never lifted a finger. I think I was a little more outspoken then my mom and grandma because when I was 15 I started insisting that if the women in the household did all the cooking and preparation, then afterwards, the men would have to clean up. Granted they were never very enthusiastic, but I figured it was the least they could do. Funny thing though, was my mom and grandma ended up doing most of the cleaning up anyway, and the men were always quick to head back to the couch. Clearly there is a gender distinction in the "traditional American Thanksgiving".

The foods we ate were the "traditional" ones I suppose. We had the turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, pie, and vegetables. While I don't think that any of these foods are distinctly American in themselves, I do think that the pairing of these foods together is very American. If you were to suggest eating these foods at the same time any American would probably associate them with a holiday, and the holiday that would first come to mind would probably be Thanksgiving. Not all countries in the world celebrate Thanksgiving, in fact, only a few besides the United States do, but I think that other countries know the traditional meal choice pretty well. I know my family never even ate turkey unless it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, which is interesting because if the food is supposed to be so good on Thanksgiving, why don't more American's eat it more often?

Points of Interest:

http://www.thanksgiving.org.uk/around-the-world.html

www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?content_spotlight/.../thanksgiving

 

Blog 12 Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in my family has always been a bog thing growing up.  For as long as I can remember its always been about the turkey, dressing, potato salad, Mac and Cheese, sweet potato pie, banana pudding, and my favorite greens! It's always been a time where everyone came together to enjoy all this food and just be around each other, but mostly the food. I'll admit when I was younger all I really thought about was eating any and everything and as much as I wanted of it. Now that I'm older I see how key food is in bringing our family together. Whenever we know there's a guarantee for grandma's greens or Mac and Cheese, there's a guarantee that we will be there.


Not only is food a tool that's used to bring us all together a family, but its significance comes from generations that the recipes and traditions have been passed down from. For example my grannies sweet potato pie, is pretty much a celebrity in our family. Its something shes learned from her mom my great-grandmother, she's passed it down to her children and they've passed it down to my cousins and myself.   This coincides with our races because I feel all races have traditional meal that are passed from generation to generation.  Class connects with this too because the class you in plays a role in what you can afford the have for thanksgiving. If you're in upper class and considered rich you can afford to have a gourmet thanks giving dinner delivered to your door. While others have to split the items up so its easier to afford to have all the foods that families want.

Gender is pretty present in the Thanksgiving holiday too.  Its pretty common to have this image of the wife, mom, or woman in the kitchen slaving to cook this huge meal for the entire family. Even in movies that are based around the holidays there's usually mom in the kitchen and all the other female family members join to help cook and finish the meal as they arrive. While the men sit and chat and watch football. I even see it in my family; football ALWAYS comes to the TV no matter whose around or what there watching.  Typically when people start to leave my entire family pins cleaning the kitchen on my cousin and me (the two girls closest in age). It's kind of like these are rituals that are followed based on the idea that men just sit and watch football, and of course the woman is in the kitchen taking care of things.

               

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For Thanksgiving, my Mom usually prepares the whole meal. She is an outstanding cook and loves making Thanksgiving dinner so much that she actually refuses help with it. My family usually eats turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato rolls, custard pie, and pumpkin pie. I only celebrate Thanksgiving with my Mom's side of the family because my Dad's parents both passed away and we do not have many connections with that side of the family.

Typically my Thanksgiving consists of my immediate family, my grandparents, one aunt who is divorced, and her two sons. It is a very small Thanksgiving but enjoyable because I love seeing my family. We do not really have stories about the food that is prepared for Thanksgiving, except for the custard pie that my mom makes. It is my dad's favorite dessert that his mother used to make and he used to have it every Thanksgiving. My dad usually pokes fun at my grandma whenever she attempts to bring food because, needless to say, it is terrible. He usually tells stories about when he first dated my mom and how he had to choke down the dinner that my grandma made.

Race, class, and gender are implicated in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices because your class determines how much money you make and the food available to purchase. Higher class people may have maids that prepare their dinner and are served the best quality of foods with expensive bottles of wine. Lower class people may not be able to afford certain foods and may have to resort to generic foods and cook themselves. Gender is implicated in Thanksgiving foods, at least in my family, because my mom cooks all of the food. Most of my friends' mothers also cook their Thanksgiving meals as well. This makes Thanksgiving foods gendered because of who prepares them. I believe that race is implicated in Thanksgiving foods because my friend is Filipina and celebrates Thanksgiving but eats with chopsticks and has chicken adobo and rice instead of turkey and mashed potatoes. Different races eat different types of food, and it could be shown through Thanksgiving practices.

I think that Thanksgiving practices confirm the argument that there is no American cuisine. America is made up of immigrants who each brought their influences of food over when they immigrated. America is looked at as a melting pot with influences of different cultures, and I think that Thanksgiving could be looked at in the same way. Different cultures celebrate it with different foods, and there is no "typical American way". There is also room for resistance with Thanksgiving because people may chose to resist participating in Thanksgiving because they may not want to have to cook ormay have bad relations with their families.

Blog 12 Assignment

Growing up in my family, Thanksgiving wasn't exactly a holiday in which we gave thanks to things and people in our lives.  Even though, that's what Thanksgiving is about we celebrated more as a time where all my family gets together and eat so much until they have to unbutton their jeans.  That may be an exaggeration, however, I feel that this way of celebrating Thanksgiving is becoming more and more common. 

Usually at Thanksgiving, my grandmother makes turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, corn, lefse, and pumpkin pie.  The lefse, corn, pie, and cranberries are usually store bought with everything else being homemade.  My aunts also help with preparing the meal.  We never really had any stories about the food itself, however, I always have enjoyed Thanksgiving because it is a time that everyone on my dad's side gets together and socializes.  This gets harder and harder as people get older.
 
I think race, class, and gender are involved in Thanksgiving foods and practices because it incorporates all three with many different places into one evening with one family.  Although, many people don't realize it, the food they are eating comes from many different cultures and practices that they never even heard of.  I believe that Thanksgiving confirms Tisdale's argument that there is no American cuisine.  I feel that everything that we eat in our country has came from somewhere in the world, and we have just "Americanized" it to meet our special tastes.  I think that there is "room for resistance" in Thanksgiving observances.  However, it won't be an easy task to carry out.  

Week 12 Blog

The main foods that I associate with Thanksgiving are turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, warm rolls, and pumpkin pie. In my family, everyone brings a dish to share. Usually, the owner of the house that we are all celebrating at is the one in charge of the big turkey. This year, we are having thanksgiving at my house and my parents are very good at sharing the duties of cooking and getting the house ready which I love to see. Preparation is not a matter of gender, rather it's shared.

 

I've always loved Thanksgiving because I feel like it is a better version of Christmas. Besides the amazing meal, it is completely centered on the meaning of family rather than the stress of presents. I think class is more irrelevant at Thanksgiving than at Christmas and some other holidays because people don't need to worry about finding a substantial gift for everyone when they don't necessarily have the budget to do so.

 

As for race, I would imagine that many families incorporate their heritage and roots into certain dishes they make for Thanksgiving but I think that that is the greatest aspect of America and American cuisine. Everyone and everything is welcome. We are like a melting pot of people that have come from all over and influenced our culture and I don't think that that means there is no American cuisine.

Blog #12 Food & Family

Growing up in Saint Paul and I proudly boast to being a "Frogtown Girl" whenever I have the chance, I spent all my Thanksgiving holidays with my father's side of the family.  It was what we did before and after my parent's divorced when I was 7 years old.  It sounds sad, but for most of my childhood and teenage years I have no idea what my mom did for her Thanksgiving holidays.  According to my mom, my parents both agreed that it was better for my dad to have us.  My mother wanted the divorce and was one of those mom's who for whatever reason could not be a full-time mom. Her family was not what I would call a "close" family.  They were very religious("Old School Catholics")as I always called them and very judgmental of people, including of their own daughter who ended up divorced, which was in their minds one of the most horrible things a person could do.  I think this played a big role in how we ended up with my father.  It was a good decision though because my mom was not one to stay in one place for long as my dad got really comfortable in the same place.  Worked out good for my sister and I so I can't complain.

My father's family is primarily Lutheran("Lazy Lutherans")meaning church was usually associated with a party afterwords that involved alcohol and food. My grandmother was more strict with her own kids when it came to church.  They were all forced to get up, attend church and be confirmed by the time they graduated high school.  After that, her job was done and although she would have preferred that they did the same with their own kids, it was their own choice as the parents, not hers and she was ok with that cause she did her part. 

My grandparents had seven kids, 5 boys and 2 girls.  My grandmother, who will be 82 this years always said, "Everyone deserves a girl."  She also believes that, "Chocolate does make life much easier."  The whole "clan" as I call my family, which used to be pretty big but now has dwindled down to 45 people total, used to all fit into my grandparents rambler which was 6 houses away from the house my father owned.  In fact, all my father's siblings lived within 6 blocks of my grandparents house.  If I was ever out causing trouble, I got busted cause there was always an adult or some other family relative around to catch me.  It kinda sucked at times but now that we are all spread out, I do miss those days. 

We would start out our day getting to Gamma's house around 10am or so.  Us kids had to find ways to keep ourselves busy and out of trouble while the women(Gramma and my 2 aunts)would be busy in the kitchen getting the food ready.  If a woman married into the family to one of the son's, she usually was not "expected" to help out in the kitchen.  She sat next to her husband, one of my Grandmother''s five sons.  Gramma would shoo people out of the kitchen who would try to sneak in and steal anything, even a pickle.  My grandfather handled the beer and his homemade moonshine.  He was the only one Gramma bugged about drinking anything before eating cause he only had 25% of his stomach due to having 75% removed as a result of damage from chronic ulcers.  If he drank anything, he would be too full to eat.  I heard this every year.  Growing up, there were drinkers and smokers in my family, they were pretty good about keeping things under control.No wild parties, fights, abuse issues which I am grateful for.  It's quite a contrast to today though, just with the absence of alcohol and smoking. There is not one picture in my childhood that does not have an adult with either a cigarette, beer or both in the picture.  

All the food was prepared at Gramma's house.  She worked nights as a nursing assistant so there was a big chance that she may have come right home from work and started as soon as she came in the door.  My grampa was an orderly at the VA until he retired early after his 4th heart attack, which was before he was 50 years old.  While the women prepared the food, Gramma called Grampa in to "cut up the bird" when it was ready.  The food was mainly turkey, mashed potatoes(lots!) vegetables, dressing, gravy, cranberries and lastly homemade pie(s). Gramma always went all out and always had made enough for people to have more than seconds.  There were two main tables, the adult table and the kid table.  I remember as a kid wanting to grow up so badly cause I wanted to be allowed to sit at the adult table. The older kids helped with the younger kids(5 & up)and if they were younger they got to be on their parent(s) lap.  I say it this way because unlike my mother's family were divorce was a sin, it was not seen to be such a horrible thing by my father's family.  Divorcing seemed to be an option other than kids being raised in a household where people are not able to get along.  If the marraige did not work, so be it.  It was a part of life.  We were all responsible for clearing our plates and putting them on the counter/sink.  Cleanup was done by everyone else while the adult women got a chance to sit around the main table and relax after all their work, which we all made sure to thank them for. Football would be on in the living room. Older male cousins would be playing craps in the hallway with my "bachelor uncle(s)". Younger kids would find toys and other things to play with as it is was well known that our parents were not the entertainments committee.  We were expected to entertain ourselves.  Our day would end late like 7-8pm.  We would be more than ready to go home and sleep.

Fast forward to current times and things are pretty different.  My grandfather and father have both died and my cousins and myself are all parents and have homes/jobs/in-law's etc.  We do not get together for Thanksgiving.  My grandmother and I are very close, infact our birthdays are 2 days apart and we celebrate them together every year. She usually comes to my house where my mom and younger sister will also be.  I send out an open invite to any of our friends and family who want to come.  People bring a dish to share, which can be interesting and fun with the variety we can end up with. The turkey, ham and potatoes are usually cooked at our house.  Happily to say, I am not the cook in our house, my husband is and along with his mom and sister the three of them usually take over the kitchen getting things ready.  I will take care of appetizers, drinks & deserts.  There is no smoking in our house, if you smoke our dog is very good company as she will follow you out the door to the back yard while you smoke.  My husband, as well as his mother and father have all been sober from alcohol for over 15 years.There is no alcohol at family functions as I don't drink or smoke by choice.  This year is going to a bit different as my husband and myself are in the process of divorcing and it may be the last set of holidays we spend in the same house. It's disappointing for me, as even though a consider myself non-denominational,I do have strong feelings and beliefs about marriage and vows people take with another. I am also looking forward to this new part of my life.  We have four kids total but 2 young children together.  I was a single mother by choice for 12 years before I met and married my husband. These changes that will be taking place in our lives will take time to get used to but I am confident that they will work out as I've been a single parent before and have no reservations about doing it again. 

Week 12 Blog Assignment

There are many different types of food that I associate with Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, my family, along with staple Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, cranberries, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes, also had a few dishes that were specific to our family that were not necessarily traditional Thanksgiving foods such as homemade carrot kugel and glorified rice.  My own personal Thanksgiving festivities became a little more awkward when I stopped eating meat and my family has adjusted fine to this change, however my boyfriend's family has had a bit of a difficult time figuring out why I don't eat turkey at the table.  What seems to be the most confusing for them is why I also don't eat stuffing, gravy etc since they use chicken stock/broth to make them.  Out of respect for his family, the first time I went over to celebrate Thanksgiving with them I put a little bit of everything on my plate (including turkey) and just had my boyfriend eat it. J

 

Thanksgiving rituals can differ not only by individual family traditions, but also by race, class, and gender.  This includes the ethnic origins of the food we eat, whether the food eaten is home made or store bought, who makes what dishes, who takes care of the clean up after all of festivities are over, is it just immediate family or a whole extended family, does everyone sit around the table together, whether you even celebrate thanksgiving in the first place etc.  There are just so many variables that I think that there is no wrong or right in regards to Thanksgiving, only differences. 

 

In regards to the readings from this week, I agree that Tisdale is correct in part that there is no authentic American cuisine, but also think that since America is basically a land made up of immigrants, we sort of just "Americanize" what we think foreign food tastes like and call it ours.  When examining Thanksgiving in terms of resistance, I guess my family doesn't really go specifically by gendered roles of cooking/baking since my mom usually makes the turkey and my dad makes some salads and we all help clean up.  I think that judging by the variety of Thanksgiving traditions in our class alone; there isn't really a norm for which all other Thanksgiving traditions should be based off of.  A traditional Thanksgiving meal, like authentic American cuisine as described by Tisdale, is simply a fallacy. 

Blog #12: Thanksgiving Foods

When we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family, we had a very traditional Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry molds, pumpkin pie, and, of course, Jell-O and fruit salads. When my grandmother was alive, she and my mother and aunt spent most of the time preparing the food. My sister, cousins, and I were usually at the table during preparations playing card games. In addition, grandpa and my uncle set the table and kept the youngest kids entertained. After we finished our meal, grandpa and grandma used to wash the dishes together (this is the way I always remember things being at their house- Grandma would rinse the dishes ad Grandpa would load the dishwasher).

 

Every other year when we were with my dad's side of the family, Thanksgiving was less traditional. My dad emigrated from Guyana when he was 19-years-old. Most of his family is in the states now, and a few relatives are nearby. We usually went to my cousin's house. There were always the traditional foods, but there was also always potato curry, daal, rice, barrah, and sooji halwa. Food preparation is a major affair. Although on Thanksgiving, most people bring something to share, during other holidays and celebrations we all cooked together (sometimes for days) women, men, and children. This side of the family always cooks enough to eat for days and days following Thanksgiving. Some years we had so much food left over we my dad would put turkey in everything (who was really going to eat very much turkey with all that curry around?)...from soups to omelettes (yes, omelettes), and eventually the turkey was thrown into a new pot of curry.

 

I never really thought about these practices as a type of resistance, but in a sense, I suppose they are a type of resistance as well as a way to maintain cultural ties. Having grown up in a relatively small, white, middle-class suburb, I have always known that my family traditions were less than "normal" and I have always been appreciative of that.

Blog 12

Thanksgiving has been a family tradition shared by both my imitate family of five, my grandparents, and cousins. In the morning my family and I usually lounge around spending time as a family watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Later in the evening we meet at my grandparents house. I am very lucky that my family all lives close by so we get to spend the evening together. When we get there the food is already prepared by my grandma. My family is in charge of the pies and other relatives bring a small dish to share. Our meal is very traditional usually consisting of the exact same items each year. We have turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cooked vegetables, salad, and rolls. Because my family is quite large we have many separate tables to devour our thanksgiving feast. I usually find myself at the table with all of my girl cousins around my age. There is an adult table and another table for the guys. After the evening meal my grandpa, uncles and brothers go down stairs to watch T.V as most of them sleep after the delicious meal it would be very unlikely to find them helping out in the kitchen. The dishes and clean up is left to my grandma, my mom, and her sisters. They are the ones running the dishwasher and putting away the leftovers. They are also the ones serving deserts. After that is done they usually join us in playing games or catching up on everyone's life. When thinking about the how race, class and gender are involved in the thanksgiving dinner I can see how there is a separation of gender rolls in my family. Most of my uncles show up and eat they do not contribute at all to the preparation or clean up of this holiday, or for that matter any holiday. These are expected stereotypical rolls that they have of their wives, I can't even imagine what they would say if we asked them to help with the meal. As LeBesco mentioned in her article that the lower class would serve Jell-o because it is cheap, I do not see that playing an important roll in our thanksgiving meal. All of my family is from the middle- class so I do not see class being an important aspect in this holiday. We have very little diversity in my family so race is not involved in my family's food and eating practices. We do not have any ethnic food on this day.

As Tisdale mentions that there is no American cuisine I would have to agree with him. Many people see the thanksgiving meal as a typical American meal but it is different dishes are actually originated from all different parts of the world. For example "Corn is the earliest cultivated grain in the work and was found in a cave in Mexico" (31).  I think there is room for resistance I know many families who do not get together on this holiday and order in Pizza or eat fast food.  No matter how you celebrate or what foods you eat I think it is important to take the time and realize all the things you are truly thankful for. Enjoy this precious time with your family and the ones you love.

blog 12

The majority of my Thanksgivings were spent just outside of Saint Paul at my great-aunt's home.  All of my extended relatives on the paternal side of my family were there.  Each individual family would bring a dish or two to share potluck style.  My mother always brought pie, and would always bring 4 or 5--usually two apple, one pecan, and two pumpkin.  My Thanksgiving morning memories center around my mother hastily finishing baking as the Macy's parade played in the background. 

 

In the case of my family's Thanksgiving, my relatives are white and have incomes that define them as middle to upper class.  The hostess, my great-aunt, married a man with a large inheritance, so our family is fortunate in the fact that she has both the space and resources in her home to allow everyone to gather and eat comfortably...and these gatherings are usually forty people or more!

 

To me, Thanksgiving confirms the arguments that there is no American cuisine.  While the whole "tradition" of the holiday is based on the idea that colonists and natives met together and combined their eating traditions, the food we eat today has a much greater resemblance to that of European colonists rather than that of the Native Americans.  Rather than American food per se, I would argue that there are American practices for dining, such as fast food or dining in front of the TV.

 

I do think that there is room for resistance.  More people are having other main courses besides turkey. More people are vegetarian or go totally organic.  There is greater exposure/access to different recipes, etc. via the Internet.

Blog Post #12

My family did celebrate Thanksgiving, however we don't have any great traditions or food that is unique to the holiday.  I was a vegetarian for something like 20 years so a topic of conversation that came up EVERY year with my family was, why don't you eat meat again?  My mom EVERY year would worry about what I was going to eat, if there would be enough options for me and whether or not I would get enough to eat!  I've had the Thanksgiving dinner at my house a couple of times and each time I ordered an organic free-range turkey from the co-op and one year actually ate some of it to my families delight.  My brother is a deer, pheasant, turkey and duck hunter.  It was an activity that he and my father shared together when my father was alive.  I didn't go or learn how to hunt or handle a gun because (I assume) it was not something girls did.  My brother however taught both my niece and nephew how to safely handle a gun and the ethics of hunting.  My niece, who has won sport shooting awards and has gone hunting with her dad for years is now a vegetarian to my brothers disdain.  Both my niece and I reassure my brother that if he were to kill something for food and invited us to eat with him we would.

I think Americans have an idea about traditional foods, which can be regional as well.  For example, I think of collard greens, grits and sweet potatoes pie as uniquely Southern.  I think "traditional" food derives from not only what has been handed down generationally in your family depending on where your family is from but also what is cheap, easily accessible and seasonably available.  We used to be a much more agrarian society where the men typically were the farmers and women had their home gardens and prepared all that was grown and harvested in the tradition of their mothers and their mothers mothers.

Women tend to do the planning and cooking of meals.  We are responsible for feeding our children, and families in a nutritional way.  What is served again depends on several factors including cost that of course touches on issues of race, class, and gender.  Food sadly is becoming less and less nutritional.  It is being manufactured in surplus quantities and offered at lower cost for people who can't afford to shop organically or grow their own veggies like I can -- not that you have to shop co-op to eat well, you don't.  I would argue that American traditional food has become fast food.  We eat more processed food than ever before in our history and consequently we're becoming a sick nation.  Sadly we're exporting our food tradition around the world.  It's hard to travel anywhere with out running into a McDonalds . . . it's sad.  Women have tough choices sometimes about what to feed their families especially when they are working outside of the home. 

I'm sorry to be such a downer; you'd never know that I really love the Thanksgiving holiday.  I mean who wouldn't.  It's about eating, getting time off to spend with family and friends and there's no religiosity attached to it.

However I have to include a story that I found on the Democracy Now web site as something to think about while we stuff ourselves on Thursday, which is this.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2009/11/18/hungering_for_a_true_thanksgiving

 

And if I could suggest some leisure reading when there's more time after the semester is through, one of my absolute favorite books of all time is Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which talks about one year in her families life of eating locally and organically.  She and her husband mix in facts about the US food industry as well as our destructive addiction to pesticides. The book is distinctly from Ms. Kingsolver's perspective on how to take care of and love her family through inexpensive wholesome food.

Happy Thanksgiving all J

Blog 12

As far as Thanksgiving goes, it has been something that my family and I have observed ever since I can remember. It is the only holiday in which we all get together and have a meal without giving presents or that sort of thing, like we would on Christmas or birthdays. It is a holiday in which my mom cooks all the main food and the rest of the family brings side dishes like vegetable or fruit trays. The main food consists of a turkey, cranberries, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and sweet potatoes. My dad's traditional role is to carve the turkey and pass it out while he sits at the head of the table.

This clearly depicts how gender plays a role because as I reflect on this, it seems as though my dad takes all the credit for the work that my mom does by taking the main position and role at the table. Another thing that Thanksgiving makes me think about is how small or big our dinners appear to be, being part of the lower-middle class, when comparing it to people that are lower and higher in class than my family is. I know that there are some kitchens that open up and serve special dinners for homeless people on these types of holidays, but these people are without a family atmosphere. As for the higher class people, they are mostly people that have a certain image that they feel as though they need to live up to, especially when it comes to the holidays. They get the biggest and best things in order to show off their status to everyone and they, too, do not have an intimate side with their family. I may be generalizing, but this is the picture that I see in my mind when thinking about the classes around the holidays. As far as the last identity to look within the thanksgiving sphere, race, there are many differences amongst them. There seems to be big differences amongst the different types of food prepared, which I will discuss below.

I think as far as the argument in Tisdale's essay that there is no American cuisine, I think that Thanksgiving confirms this. It is an American holiday, but there are many different dishes that are incorporated to the whole meal depending on what your family is accustomed to. I know that some of my Asian friends have a cooked duck instead of a turkey to celebrate, while other friends do the 'traditional' dinner. On that note, who is allowed to define the word traditional for all of American society anyways? I see thanksgiving as a holiday that gets the family together, first and fore-most, but I think that people are so fixed on what the true American traditions are and they forget what it was established as in the first place.

Along with this thought, I think that I have displayed a type of 'resistance'-that was discussed in Lebesco's essay in observing Thanksgiving. I know that some of my family and friends don't observe it due to their religion (one being Jehovah, where they do not celebrate anything but Passover) or the fact that their family is so new to America that due to their culture, they don't observe it. I also know some people that don't have any family or that their family is one in which that they would much rather forget and not see due to how dysfunctional it is. This biased view is one that perpetuates the "scrooge" view of the holidays and the American traditional gatherings overall and appears to be a type of resistance from an outsider looking in.  

Week 12 Blog

Thanksgiving for my family and extended familyhas always been an all day event, not just a meal, and there are definitley gender roles present. All of the men watch football, the women cook and gossip, and the kids (which is the category I'm still included in) play foosball in the basement until it is time to eat. The men and boys always dress very casually in jeans, while the women and girls are dressed in skirts, dresses, and fancy shoes. Within our Thanksgiving celebration, the idea of class goes unnoticed because all of the families have the same finincial situation, however we are able to have a lot more food and sometimes have things catered, which is probably something only associated with the upper middle class. 

The eating festivities can take hours and the amount of food consumed in amazing. My family goes very traditional when it comes to the food. We eat mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pie of many different varieties.  While this food is not considered American by origin, but it has become American food over the year. The same is true for other foods like hamburgers and french fries. It represents the melting pot of culutres that we as Americans pride ourselves in.

thanksgiving blog

Since I come from a family with a strong Hispanic background, we don't typically have the traditional thanksgiving dinner that people expect. We celebrate with a wide variety of Hispanic foods ranging from tamales to enchiladas. My grandfather always makes sure to prepare a turkey, but for most people, the exciting part is eating the Mexican meal he has prepared. I have brought friends to my thanksgiving dinners and they always find it odd that my family doesn't prepare the traditional foods you would expect at a thanksgiving dinner. I have never had a problem with the fact that we don't have the typical thanksgiving meal, because for me thanksgiving has always been about giving thanks for your family and friends, and a celebration of how far we have made it in this country. I really appreciate the fact that my family hasn't succumbed to the norm of the whole turkey and stuffing dinner, because that isn't who we are.

I think this is a great example of how there truly is no American Cuisine, America is made up of such a diverse population of ethnicities and religions, whom all eat different foods, and all consider themselves to be Americans.

Something else that is also not so traditional when it comes to our thanksgiving is that the men do the cooking. It has always been that way in our family, which isn't always a common occurrence. After reading the Lebesco's article, it really opened my eyes up to how there are certain gender specific foods out there and how companies advertise to women.  An example of this I found was Hamburger Helper 2007 commercial. The commercial features a woman from a small town who takes part in numerous city events and coaches the local basketball team, she says that hamburger helper helps her to spend more time with her family and keep them happy while maintaining her busy schedule. There are many other food products that advertise to women, insisting they will help take the pressure off their busy schedules. 

Something else I wanted to mention was how the foods we purchase can relate to our class status. Last year I did research on food stamps and what sorts of foods are excluded from the food stamp program. I found that people using food stamps are excluded from buying organic products, which limits these foods to those who can afford it. People of lower income are often stuck having to buy highly processed foods because they are less expensive.

Over all I think our identities are shaped by food more then I had previously realized. I think that this is going to be great topic to bring up this thanksgiving at our dinner!

 

Week 12

Thanksgiving is new to me because I do not grow up in the US. In my home country, there were thanksgiving ceremony in Christian schools, but not in public. The first thanksgiving in my life was 2 years ago in my host family's home. It was awesome and there was so much fun. My host family is American, so I did experience a very American way of thanksgiving. My host mom woke up early in the morning in order to make sure that everything will be done on time and we have time to get together to chat and talk. She was a great cook and prepare all food by herself. She made all kinds of traditional food like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, and apple pie. All homemade! They were amazingly great and I would never forget how they tasted.

I think thanksgiving is evoluting in the US as many race are engaging in this seasonal celebrating. Although people celebrate thanksgiving to keep it as a traditional way to say thanks and enjoy the great day, the ethic thinkings do  change the way of  what thanksgiving is.For example, I was at my aunt's place last year during thanksgiving. Although we did have a thanksgiving meal, but it is not the traditional way. There were no mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, sweet corn, and other popular thanksgiving dishes.  However, we had turkey and other Asian food like chow mein, spring rolls, fried rice, etc. Yes, race is taking place in this thanksgiving, the way that races look at the meaning of thanksgiving is different and it affects the way that they celebrate and prepare the meal.

I think thanksgiving confirms Tisdale's argument. America is a multi-culture nation, there are millions of immigrants who bring their own cuisines and those cuisine  cross, change, and influence each other to make "American food". American food is just the mix and evoluted way of what American get from other cuisines. Although there are certain kinds of food which are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals, yet they are prepared for thanksgiving celebration by Christian only and cannot be considered as a distinct cuisine. I think although thanksgiving celebrate widely in the States, but there is still room for resistance because there are still people who refuse and too lazy to celebrate. Some people really think that it is a blessed holiday for rest, and don't want to spend a long hour to cook. Nevertheless, people I know do celebrate thanksgiving and have a thanksgiving meals (although some are in a quite different way).

For gender, it is so interesting to read the blog posts as many of you mentioned that male would take up the responsibility or help to prepare food on thanksgiving day. What I thought is that women still are the cook on thanksgiving day, I did not know that many male will cook on the special day. Does that also mean that the male also give the female cook a day off on the thanksgiving day? I am so jealous about all the homemade thanksgiving dished that you mentioned, it sounds so delicious.

Blog 12 Assignment

I love Thankgiving.  It is a time of year that everyone gets together, cooks, and eats tons of great food.  I know this is not the case for all families.  In fact, it is a bitter time for some people but I can only share my own experience, which is far from that.  Thanksgiving dinner usually includes my immediate family of 5.  When we were younger, we would travel to Memphis or Chicago to visit family but as we've gotten older and time together has grown more precious, we have started to stay home.  In some way, I miss my extended family and the craziness of my relatives (excess drinking that is) but it is really nice to have a low key Thanksgiving with my parents and brother and sister. 

We prepare your "traditional" Thanksgiving meal, which includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, bread, vegetables, etc.  However, my sister has developed a great fondness for cooking and in the last few years has spiced up our menu.  I cannot relate to Tisdale's traditional Thanksgiving meal.  My sister makes spicy cornbread, sweet potatoes, spicy grean beans with onions, etc.  My sister is the head cook but we all particpate and play a part to make the meal as special as possible.  My Dad is usually in charge of the Turkey, my mom deserts, and my brother and I the odds and end stuff.  I do not think gender plays as much as a role today as race or class.  Unfortunately, many families cannot afford to have such extravagant meals.  However, I think every family has their own special tradition and makes the most of their own Thanksgiving.  I know many families get together with other families (whether it be friends or extended family) which helps make the cost of preparing a large meal more afforadable.  Everyone chips in a makes a dish opposed to one family being in charge of everything.

I would have to agree with Tisdale because I do not think there is such a thing as American cuisine.  I look at America as a melting pot, a place full of immigrants old and new, and each different culture that has immigranted to the U.S. has brought over their own unique cuisine.  We all know Italian, French, Chinese, Thai and many other cuisines are very popular in the U.S.  So, is there such a thing as Americn cusine?  I don't really think so- even burgers and french fries date back to other countries.  Next, I think there is room for resistance in observing Thanksgiving and many people do resist this holiday.  I know many people who could care less about Thanksgiving.  Honestly, I do not have an opinion either way.  Every family is different but to me Thanksgiving is a time to get together with my family, eat, drink, and laugh.

Blog 12

Thanksgiving has been a long tradition in my family. Since I'm a Christian, my family attends to variety of Thanksgiving meals in different houses. The first main house that my family attends is at one of our church member's house. Then we go to my cousin's house to eat Thanksgiving, and come back home with packed leftover food. My family also celebrates my younger brother's birthday which is on the 23rd, and my birthday on the 27th. So we get twice the celebration, our birthday and Thanksgiving. The food that we eat that relates to the American cuisine would be turkey, mashed potato and gravy, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. However, each family can bring in different side dish to share with the rest of the group. Since I'm Hmong, my family and the church members make variety of Hmong food such as eggrolls, rice, lab, pho, kho poog, stir fried rice and noodles, na va, spring rolls, papaya salad, purple rice (or sticky rice), Hmong sausage, and many more. These foods can be made for special occasion not just for Thanksgiving, but for Christmas, Easter, Valentine, and other occasions. Usually my dad makes the dish to bring and share because he makes some good fried veggies, and my mom would makes the rice. We also buy beverages such as water and pop. The turkey is prepared by my Pastor or the head leaders of our church.


I do think that race and class involves in Thanksgiving foods and eating practice rather than gender because depending on what race you are and class, depends on what you eat and what you can afford to buy. For example, from above of what I have listed of the food my family eats for Thanksgiving, we eat American cuisine and Hmong cuisine. We keep our traditional food cuisine, and also eat American cuisine because it is also part of our American tradition and represent who we are as an American. For class, I remember when I was little; there would be a couple coming to our house to drop off boxes of food and winter accessories for my family. And since my parents had a lot of children, they couldn't afford to buy food for all of us because they weren't making much money. The food came from school donations, and we were one of the selected families to receive the school food donation. Once we all grew up, they stop coming and giving us food and winter accessories because my parents makes more and five of me and my siblings are able to work. So, depending on your race and your traditional culture, and your class of how you can afford food.

Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving has long since been one of my favorite holidays. It is a time for family to gather together and enjoy the year's blessing. I am fortunate in that my family is a close family, gathering during holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes just because the whole family had not been together for a while. My family is small in comparison to others' families; there are four in my immediate family and when together with my two aunts and their families and my grandparents, there are 14 of us in total. Regardless of the reason, there is always an abundance of our favorite foods. Every year at Thanksgiving, Grandpa always remarks that there is enough food to "feed the whole county."

The Thanksgiving tradition in my family is dinner on Thanksgiving Day at either one of my aunts' house. Meal planning is the responsibility of the women in the family, including the kids, with the planning beginning several weeks before Thanksgiving. No one person has responsibility for the entire meal. Each of the aunts, Grandma, and my mom would split up the menu and within a matter of several phone calls or emails, the entire menu is planned. Our Thanksgiving meal is fairly "traditional" with very few changes from year to year. There is turkey and ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, corn and green beans, cranberry salad, vegetable relish dish, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie.  In addition, there are usually several non-traditional appetizers for all of us to enjoy prior to the full meal. Over the years, I noticed that each female family member tended to be "assigned" the same food item year after year. For example, my mom traditionally brings the vegetable relish tray, the fruit tray, the rolls, the green beans and a dessert. Mom is rarely asked to bring salads, unless it is a vegetable salad as she does not like jell-o and does not like to make jell-o salads. My one aunt is great at making appetizers. She also is the one who brings the sweet potatoes as she is one of the few people who like sweet potatoes. My other aunt is great at making salads and insists on making the pecan pie. No one can make pumpkin pie like my grandma, so grandma usually has the task of making three or four pumpkin pies for the family to enjoy on Thanksgiving and then to take home for later.

Our Thanksgiving Day begins with all of us arriving at the designated "aunt's" house around 10:30 - 11:00 in the morning. The aroma in the house from the baking turkey and ham makes your tummy growl instantly. While not considered traditional Thanksgiving cuisine, appetizing dips and snacks are placed throughout the living and dining room. Family members begin grazing and sampling as goodies arrive and are placed either in the oven or in the refrigerator. If someone brings a "new" dessert, several family members have to sample immediately. Men and women alike congregate in the kitchen and dining room to graze and converse. Wine is a tradition in my family and is served with Grandpa being responsible for removing the cork and serving the wine. A toast is made, also the responsibility of Grandpa. The non-wine drinkers finish the toast and then reach for a beverage of choice. The men usually make their way towards the living room where invariably a football game is already on and in process. The women begin getting the potatoes mashed, the vegetable and fruit trays assembled, and food placed on the table. Grandma's job is to cut the ham while Grandpa is called into the kitchen to carve the turkey. For as long as I can remember, only Grandpa carves the turkey, sampling to make sure it is done for all others to enjoy.

When the six grandchildren were younger, the six of us would get to fill our plates first and then sit at a table designated as the "kids table". Following grace, we were allowed to eat with the adults sitting at the main table. Food would be passed around counter clockwise with far more food on the table than we could possibly eat in one seating. Once we got older and all of us were in high school, the six grandchildren were seated at the main table, usually at one end of the table with the adults at the other end. Grandpa always sits at the head of the table with Grandma sitting to his left. Husbands and wives always sit together. The year following my aunt's divorce was very awkward for all of us, but we have since adjusted with a slightly altered "seating" arrangement. Desserts are rarely served immediately following dinner. Desserts are saved for later in the day following the evening meal.

While meal planning, preparation and serving are the responsibilities of the women in the family, Thanksgiving would not be the same without my Grandpa and the few men in the family. The Thanksgiving meal is not fancy, but neither are our family traditions. As I commented at the beginning, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite family holidays as it is during this time of year, that I realize the blessings that I have been so richly given.   

Thanksgiving Eats- Blog 12

            For my family, Thanksgiving has usually been a tradition for only my immediate family. Before my sister started college, we travelled up to Lutsen and typically ate a wonderful restaurant Thanksgiving meal, filled with both traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving foods. I remember these meals less than the home-cooked meals we started having nearly eight years ago at my parents' home. The Thanksgiving meals that my dad cooked were anything but the bland meal that Tisdale describes when she talks about Thanksgiving. My dad makes homemade pumpkin pie and homemade apple pie (with real apples, none of that pre-made filling crap). He makes a delicious turkey with garlic-mashed potatoes that are so creamy and delicious that gravy is unnecessary. We also have sautéed asparagus (my favorite vegetable), glazed carrots, and canned corn and cranberry sauce (my dad is the only one who eats the cranberry sauce, and he prefers it canned). Part of the reason I think that our Thanksgiving dinners evolved is that my dad discovered his love and talent for cooking; we previously did not really have anyone in the house who could cook very much. My mom is a terrible cook which she has no problem admitting, so cooking was never something she did much.

            When it comes to Thanksgiving, I think that race and class are involved more in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices than gender today (although gender still plays an important stereotypical role for some). As LeBesco discussed in her article about Jell-O as associated with lower class because it is cheap, to be able to afford a dinner of typical Thanksgiving extravagance, most families are middle-class. Other ways to overcome cost issues without sacrificing quality of food include larger family gatherings, which my immediate family partakes in for other holiday gatherings such as Christmas and Easter. Each family can then contribute different dishes to the meal to spread out any possible financial burdens. In relation to race, it relates more to ethnicity and culture than race specifically. Some families have different traditional foods that they incorporate into their meals, such as when we have large family gatherings with my mom's side of the family we have traditional Norwegian food like lefsa. The inclusion of such "traditional" foods brings us back to Tisdale's question of an "American cuisine," which I personally do not believe exists (although many look to McDonald's as the answer). I have never celebrated Thanksgiving with any other friends or discussed their celebrations, but I do not think we can say that Thanksgiving brings out the American cuisine. People have an idea about typical Thanksgiving food, but every celebration adds its own twist, its own change, making it less stereotypical. Some even go as far as to deep-fry their turkeys (my uncle did this for Christmas one year).

            It is difficult to think of Thanksgiving in ways of resistance, but it does exist. Some families reject Thanksgiving all together and go eat at Chinese restaurants on Thanksgiving, or they order pizza and stay in. It is difficult to determine what people are trying to say when they do these things, but it is a form of resistance nonetheless. My family's celebration can be seen as a form of resistance to the gender stereotyping surrounding cooking; I do not think my dad allows my mom's help with anything (but to her credit she can make some killer desserts, and had her own bad Jell-O experience). Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving differently, so we might want to ask, what is the status quo? Is anyone actually conforming to the stereotypical Thanksgiving observances?

blog 12

I grew up in a family that observed Thanksgiving.  However, I stopped spending Thanksgiving with my family when I became a vegetarian.  Before that I was forced to go to three different family Thanksgivings (too many divorces).  All of the various parts of my family ate about the same thing, but only one of them were actually really good cooks.  Turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and all that 'traditional' Thanksgiving fare.  In all three parts of my family, my grandparent(s) - cooked the main dishes, and other people would sometimes bring a small side dish.  I really can't recall any stories my family had about the food.

I think Thanksgiving refutes the arguments in Tisdale's essay.  Thanksgiving food is American food in my opinion.  I think that most things we eat and prepare in the U.S. have been modified enough to count as American food.  With the influence of capitalism, profits from selling food, and how much manufacturing most of the food in the U.S. goes through I think that we could consider most food here American because of other, more cultural aspects.

Blog 12

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year in my opinion. Being a college student, I am all too familiar with cup noodles to microwaveable food. It is the one time of year in which I am able to go home and feast.

I am Asian so I would like to say that my family's meal would be quite different from the traditional American family meals. We have a variety of foods that consists of pho (noodle soup that is AMAZING), egg rolls, vermicelli salads, spring rolls, to fried rice; it is what I would call the Asian influence in Thanksgiving. My mother also likes to incorporate the turkey (it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it), stuffing, cranberry, mashed potatoes, gravey, macaroni and cheese, corn, spaghetti, and pot roast. Early Thanksgiving morning (4 a.m) my mother would wake up and put the turkey in the oven, she would then go on prepare the other the more difficult meals to make. When my sisters and I awake, we are instructed to make the more simple things, like mashed potatoes, spaghetti, spring rolls, etc. It is evident here as to who does all the cooking during the holidays, the women. As for the stories associated with the food, the only thing is my mother's secret ingredients she puts into the Pho. Everything else comes from cultural practices.

Race is obviously a contributing factor in the Thanksgiving food my family prepares, women are linked to be the cooks, and as for class, I'm just thankful that my family can splurge and be have that "excessive indulgence" (41) Tisdale talks about. I would say that Tisdale's arguments of no American cuisine is true. Looking at the history of the potato is one great example of how it was never Irish, but came from the America's originally, corn came from the natives, and chocolate from South America. "A thousand foods slowly crossed the globe" (20). The point is that all foods are influenced one way or another by different cultures. Even with the Pho that I love so much, it was originally a Vietnamese dish, but seeing that my parents lived in Laos, they too were influenced by the dish, but my mother put her own spin to it.

Is there room for resistance? Not in my family, the meals made take time, and the women do have to constantly be watching. But that is what Thanksgiving is in my opinion. Like Tisdale said Americans want, " Big, cheap, and fast - speedy fast, extra fast, hot and now" (41), and with Thanksgiving, that is simply not possible. 

Blog 12

I thought I'd participate in this week's blog post, since this is a topic of particular interest to me. growing up, Thanksgiving was an anomalous holiday for my family. We were religious Jews, so most holidays began at sunset and centered on going to the syngaogue. But Thanksgiving was a purely "fun" holiday; no dressing up and sitting in the synagogue for hours, no restrictions on using electricity or driving. Additionally, Thanksgiving was one of a handul of times during the year that we ate meat, and it was one of the few times that my father took charge of the cooking. While my mother shopped for and prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day, my father took over special occasion meals to make sure that they were done right. He used his family's traditional southern recipes- cornbread dressing, candied yams, pecan pie. But he rejected other traditional recipes- those including, for example, Jell-O- because they were "gauche." His Thanksgiving dinner was supposed to represent his transcendence of his small town Southern roots, his family's secular Judaism and his enlightened status as a man who cooked for his family (albeit only a few times a year).
Thanksgiving now is very different. My parents divorced, and my mother, sister and I have Thanksgiving together. They are both vegetarians, so we have Tofurkey, which is a bizarre non-meat turkey substitute for vegetarians who still feel that Thanksgiving dinner centers on the bird. Neither of them eats processed foods like Tofurkey with any regularity, yet the association of Thanksgiving with food traditions is strong enough to overcome their usual eating habits. Our Thanksgivings are usually all female; there's no football on TV and no one feels "stuck" in the kitchen while the others are having fun.
My mother enjoys Thanksgiving more now than she did when we were growing up, when my father used his Thanksgiving cooking as justification for not helping out with clean-up or cooking on less auspicious occasions. Now she enjoys having her daughters and friends coming together in her home and creating new traditions that represent this stage in her life.  For my mother, cooking Thanksgiving dinner symbolizes her independence from my father and the unequal gender roles in my childhood home. The Tofurkey is an oddly resistant symbol of her break from tradition and from daily life. But as proud as I am of my mother, I still miss the turkey.

Blog Assignment 12

This week we begin our final unit, on food. I chose to focus on food around Thanksgiving because this holiday is, for those who observe it, almost exclusively about food (albeit with a heaping dose of football on the side). Thanksgiving is also the only American observance that traditionally incorporates ingredients native to North America: turkey, potatoes, cranberries, corn (especially corn syrup), pumpkin, pecans. Yet the ways that these foods are prepared are European in origin: potatoes with gravy, pecan pie with corn syrup in the filling, jelled cranberry sauce. Even the turducken, a recently popularized dish consisting of a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, has its roots in medieval European dishes in which a large animal was filled with increasingly smaller animals.

Sallie Tisdale discusses whether there is such a thing as American cuisine. Kathleen LeBesco analyzes the gendered and classed meanings of one American food product. Both authors address ways in which Americans mythologize "our" food culture by creating meanings for foods and resisting and changing those meanings in ways that are intimately tied to gender and class identities.

For this week's blog post, reflect on the foods that you associate with Thanksgiving. If you grew up observing Thanksgiving, write about what you usually ate, who prepared it, the stories your family had about this food. If you did not grow up observing Thanksgiving, write about what impressions of Thanksgiving you have gathered from other people's stories, books, media coverage- news, television shows, advertisements. How are race, class and gender involved in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices? Does Thanksgiving confirm or refute the arguments in Tisdale's essay that there is no American cuisine? Is there "room for resistance," in Lebesco's words, in Thanksgiving observances?