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Happy Thanksgiving!

11.20.2017

Photo Courtesy of @Andrik Langfield Petrides on Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of @Andrik Langfield Petrides on Unsplash
Hola mi gente and welcome back to Esquina Latina. Did you enjoy your Halloween as much as I did? As you can see, this year I dressed up as the Morton’s Salt Girl and had a blast. I also hope you survived celebrating el Dia de Los Muertos with your familia. I know how stressful it can be at times to host or attend family get togethers or “pachangas” as some of us would call them. What’s next? Thanksgiving! One of the best days of the upcoming holiday season. Technically, we are supposed to sit around and converse, be thankful for everything we have, overeat, watch the parade then football, etc. Right! Maybe in some homes, but a Latino Thanksgiving (or San-Keeving as my mother says) is very different. While I wouldn’t trade it for the world, (OK, maybe I would for the world, who am I kidding?) it is very interesting to watch how it all unfolds. My Big Fat Latino Thanksgiving…there’s an idea for a movie!

For weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I get the reminders to make sure I have enough points at the grocery store to get that FREE turkey or ham. Every self-respecting Latina loves FREE stuff and I’m no exception, but I still get the reminders anyway…just in case. Then come the discussions about the menu. You’d think the menu would be fairly easy because it should consist of some form of turkey, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. But noooooooo, not that simple for us. I do try to stick to tradition and keep it simple, but fail miserably year after year. So, the phone rings and the conversation usually goes like this: ME: Hi, ma! MA: What are we eating for San-Keeving? ME: Ma, it’s Thanksgiving, we are eating turkey. MA: Ok, I’ll make the pernil (pork shoulder), the Arroz con Gandules AND of course…(drumroll please) the FLAN! Conversation over! My mom does make a mean flan and has a secret ingredient that she adds to the typical recipe, but will be reading this article so I know better than to share it. I like to avoid her deadly “chancla” (slipper). You all know what I mean if you grew up with Spanish parents. There was no “timeout,” there was the “chancla” out.

So on Thanksgiving morning, if I’m hosting I usually get up bright and early to get the oven revved up and start slow cooking that FREE turkey that has been marinating for at least two days. I also start mentally preparing for a long day (insert Mimosa here). I will be sporting my favorite nail color “Wicked” by Essie, my attire will be casual and hair will definitely be up in a stylish ponytail since I am hosting this year and need to be comfortable. I will be using Biolage Styling Complete Control by Matrix to pony up properly. I have to beautify and swing into action early because no matter how many times I repeat that I can manage and don’t need help too early (you know, to delay the insanity as much as possible), I can’t keep my immediate family from showing up to take over—I mean, help—in the kitchen! ☺ Once all the relatives and those additional people the relatives invited finally show up, you can typically find all the women in the kitchen. They are either prepping, sprinkling more adobo on something, continuously checking the oven, handwashing dishes because using a dishwasher “no es necesario,” periodically asking what time we’re eating, oh and gossiping. Ya tu sabes!

If you’ve ever been to a Latino household for a holiday, you are well aware of how loud it can get. Everyone is talking over each other, someone is always cackling in the background or maybe even crying somewhere. You just never know! Let’s not forget to add the salsa music or novela (Spanish soap opera) playing in the background and the sound of the dominoes clanking on the table to the mix. But nonetheless, let the festivities begin. By this point, I usually pour myself a tall Cuba Libre to take the edge off.

When just the “right amount” of adobo has been sprinkled on everything, the ladies in the kitchen can agree that the turkey is golden brown enough, and everything is perfecto, everyone is always willing to help serve it all because that’s just how we roll! But, we now have to drag my father from the domino table to carve the turkey (that’s HIS job), and then we’re ready for our feast! Depending on how many show up, we are either having a sit-down meal or going buffet style. One never knows. Can you relate?

We do make a habit of holding hands to give thanks for our blessings and all the food we are about to ingest, regardless of how large the group is. Of course, there’s always someone that gets emotional during this and is crying (insert another Cuba Libre here). Some would call us over dramatic, but I like to call it passionate! Time to eat! Somebody please turn that music down! All the hard work, hours of prepping, chopping, dicing, group seasoning, etc. is all worth it in the end because everyone is truly thankful and appreciates everyone who showed up to celebrate the holiday.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Hasta la proxima!

Mari

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