Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Gathered Thanksgiving Part Two

Yesterday's New York Times Food section was full of recipes from Americans all over the country. The beauty of it  was that it came , from all kinds of Americans, some here for generations , some newly arrived. What binds them - and us together is the love of one's heritage and pride in family dishes. Yet these recipes can easily be served at our tables creating a brand new holiday tradition.

The families that the Times wrote about and were covered yesterday here were from all over the world. The beauty of American cuisine is that it is constantly changing, adding new ingredients and flavors.Take the Ling family of Junction City, Wisconsin. They were from Hmong, Laos and always celebrated the harvest around this time. Thanksgiving feasting fits in perfectly and seamlessly with their celebrating. They raise and slaughter their own turkeys, preparing them with Southern  Asian herbs such as lemongrass and kafir lime leaves. The filling is a vermicelli egg roll filling , full of shredded carrots, cabbage and cilantro doused with  a salty fish sauce. In Nashville Tennessee , one would expect traditional Southern dishes like corn bread stuffing and green bean casserole. Not so with the Tayyar family who emigrated from Dohuk in Northern Iran. They will serve the Kurdish  eprax, a carefully layered casserole of grape leaves along with stuffed cabbage, tomatoes squash and potatoes.,nsted of turkey there will be a row of lamb chops down the center of the eprax.There will also be chicken and turnip greens too, as they eat the traditional feast on a rug spread out on the floor.

Jamaican food is not normally considered Thanksgiving food  yet Francine Turone uses the cuisine's spices for her turkey, The island born home chef brines the bird with a mix of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and juniper berries along with slipping clarified butter under the skin. She also serves a roast goat leg along with rice and peas in coconut oil. They celebrate her Milanese born husband Giacomo's culinary heritage. with tortellini in brodo or broth. Some recipes are handed down such as Debbie Himmler from the German influenced city of Cincinnati. Her oma's or grandmother' s rotkraut or homemade red cabbage is a family recipe from southwestern Germany.,a mix of shredded cabbage cooked with red wine and tart Granny Smith apples. Maren Waxenberg' s Scandinavian heritage shines through when she used to have gravlax and herring before the Thanksgiving meal.She continues on with blotcake for dessert. This is a sponge cake with whip cream and berries. Italians keep recipes through centuries and generations and the Conte family of  Wall, New Jersey is no different. They make a fluffy spinach -mushroom stuffing  instead of the usual bread stuffing. Their potatoes aren't mashed, rather roasted in olive oil and garlic They end not with pie but ith fennel and oranges dusted with salt and pepper.

America is a big kitchen ,full of recipes new and old. This was never more evident in yesterday's New York Times Food section. It is full of dishes, both sweet and savory that reflect our many different, cultures and backgrounds,nationalities and heritage.

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