A Family Thanksgiving in Georgia, USA
These are two words that my children first learned to associate with Thanksgiving Day. Celebrated on the last Thursday of November every year, this holiday is a time for us Americans to gather together with family and friends, and give thanks for our blessings over huge feasts of traditional foods that we save for just this special occasion. And that is where the “gobble, gobble” comes in. No other Thanksgiving dish is more symbolic of the holiday than roasted turkey. “Gobble” is the sound a turkey makes, and it is also what we do with our turkey and side dishes: gobble them down. Throughout the year, in my multicultural family, I cook meals fused with curry and masala. But being a southern girl, I leave out the curry once a year, and fix up some southern comfort, passed down to me from generations.
At a glance, a Thanksgiving dinner from one region of the United States to another may look the same. There will certainly be a roasted turkey filled with bread stuffing, and perhaps sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, and a pumpkin pie. But, my table features a spin of uniquely southern ingredients. Behold a sample menu:
Deep fried whole turkey
Turkey gravy made with giblets (turkey liver and gizzard)
Smoked sugar-glazed ham
Homemade macaroni and cheese
Green beans cooked with ham hocks (meaty pork joints)
Baked pecan-covered sweet potatoes
Pumpkin pecan pie
And my mother’s cinnamon apple cobbler
What makes these dishes southern? Ham, cornbread, pecans, and most of all…lots and lots of butter. Traditional southern fare, has always been seasoned with pork of some kind. My mother grew up in Kentucky, and has shared stories about meals during her childhood. Her grandmother served them bacon, fried ham, ham seasoned vegetables, and homemade cornbread made with lard. Pork made everything better. That’s just how it was.
Pecans reign supreme in our Georgia cuisine, because the state is king of pecan production in the nation. Awesome for us. And the butter? Well, I guess we use it because it’s just good. Really good.
Thanksgiving has nothing to do with healthy eating. From January through November, our family eats lean and green. But Thanksgiving is a time we gather in our home and count our blessings. Our family and friends, southern and Indian roots and all, are the most important ones. Once a year, we indulge in family time and buttery, filling southern deliciousness (though my husband adds masala to his plate).
The day after, the gobbling will end, and the gym will reopen. We may have to roll in there, but we’ll go.