Turkeys, pilgrims and hot pots

Surabhi Srivastava

Giving thanks doesn’t require a turkey on the menu



Turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy and pilgrims come to mind when someone mentions Thanksgiving. Traditional to the core. The reality is, at a school as diverse as MVHS, Thanksgiving looks more like hot pots, KFC chicken, and a room full of relatives who know nothing about the holiday. No one said a turkey was a prerequisite to appreciate life. Many MVHS families celebrate Thanksgiving with a twist.

"We have our own Chinese/traditional mix of Thanksgiving dinner because half of my family is Chinese and half is white," senior Dennis Yee said. "Our family is based on tradition. We like starting our own traditions."

Yee celebrates two Thanksgivings every year: a traditional one with turkey and the works on his father’s birthdayabout a week before Thanksgivingand a hybrid meal of Chinese and traditional food at his grandmother’s house when their extended family comes together for the festive occasion.

"Every year our main dish is different for our grandma’s house. Last year we had KFC turkey and and the year before that my cousin shot a wild turkey so we had that,Yee said.

Traditional Thanksgiving dinners such as this one are slowly being transformed with cultural twist. Image taken from http://www.drplayer.com/blog/ under Creative Commons license

Another ethnic flavor to Thanksgiving is the hot pot.

"It’s a more traditional Chinese way of celebrating a holiday. It’s more of a Chinese taste because nobody really knows how to cook a turkey," senior Justin Shieh said.

A hot pot consists of a big pot of boiling water on a portable gas stove in which people can throw in anything uncooked, such as meat. It turns into a sort of miscellaneous soup.

"We celebrate thanksgiving because we don’t have that many relatives in America so it’s a time when all the relatives come together, " Shieh said.

The hot pot is an ideal replacement for turkey and it gives people a chance to come together and celebrate an ongoing tradition, even if it isn’t the most conventional take.

Not all replacement Thanksgivings are elaborate or rich in culture. Some are as simple as cooking dinner for your family. Senior Vaishnavi Vaidya plans and cooks her family Thanksgiving dinner every year. It is a combination of good ole’ staples such as mashed potatoes and pasta or other types of cuisine.

"My mom’s vegetarian so we don’t eat turkey, so we make pasta [instead]. But we still want to do the whole Thanksgiving thing rather than just sitting at home," Vaidya said.

A common motif through all the varieties of Thanksgiving seems to be a chance for families to spend time together, give thanks and unite over a festive feast. Despite the culture barriers, Thanksgiving has found a way to take place as a long lasting tradition. After all, the tradition doesn’t lie in the turkey or the pilgrimsit lies in the appreciation.