It’sThanksgiving evening 2023. We’ve finished gorging ourselves, are digesting a lot of food, and are waiting for the pies to be cut. In thinking about this dinner, I can’t help but thing about a few events that happened that bring up memories and emotions going back 50+ years.

Our dinner consisted of a farily traditional meal: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and cheese covered vegetables.

A table full of thanksgiving fare.
Our thanksgiving feast, 2023

If you look closely at the image , you see that the meal also featured some elote (corn) prepared in a style seen in Tijuana: corn, crema, cotija cheese, lime and chile powder. This was the first time this dish has been seen on our Thanksgiving dinner table. My wife prepared this knowing that our grandkids are likley not familiar with American Thanksgiving dinner.

My son, a native Californian, married a woman from Mexico. She is a terrific cook and prepares mexican meals at home. My grandkids (boy and girl) are very familiar with Mexican food and its spiciness. They are less familair with American fare.

We prepared plates for the kids that included turkey, elote, and a little bit of everything else. Our 5-year old granddaughter was skeptical of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and the cheesy vegetables. After some coaxing, we got her to taste mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce. She like the cranberries and the gravy. But wasn’t too keen on the rest. In the end, her father (my son) prepared a turkey/cranberry salad that she throroughly enjoyed.

The not-so-recent past

This week has reminded me that I was unfamilair with many American Thanksgiving staples until I was in Junior High. When I was young, my mom would cook turkey, but it was prepared with mole sauce. When we had family gatherings, some would bring roasted, candied pumpkin. Others would bring stables like rice and beans. A couple of lucky folks would prepare ham and the rare roast turkey.

This was my Thanksgiving growing up.

Then came junior high and an aching desire to be “normal” and “regular. Just “one of the kids.” I attended Thanksgiving at friends’ houses and was completely unprepared for the cornucopia of “foreign” foods. I recall tasting stuffing for the first time. It was a revelation in flavor! I have been a fan of that spicy, tangy taske ever since.

Back to today

Today, I see myself in my grandkids as they encoutner new flavor palettes. Some things they will like straight-away. Others, they will have to get accustomed to. Because their mother knows that they will have to come to grips with new foods and customs on a daily basis, they are always encouraged to try things. Similary, we had a rule at our house when our kids were small: You can’t say No until you try it.

Tonight, they’re trying out Apple and Pumpkin pies. It’s a 50/50 proposition, as I type.

Apple pies and pumpkin pies on a kitchen counter.
An assortment of pies for Thanksgiving night.

One thing is certain: they love hot chocolate. Be it classic American style or Mexican style, they love hot cholocate.

Come to think of it, so do I.

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