Divali starts the festive season. Actually, Dussehra does. And now it is Thanksgiving, and all the blogs are reflecting this. Since most of the Indian food-bloggers are US based, it is all over the Indi-blogs as well, and we can safely assume, it is now another Holiday we can lay claim to. And Indians never shy away from embracing a Holiday – another day to goof off from work, another day to partay!
Holi, Divali, Eid, Ramzan, Gupurab, Christmas, and New Year – they are all as Indian as chai. And we are beginning to get attached to Valentine’s Day as well! The Government of India presently has seventeen (!) official Holidays in a year!
The first time I found out about this very American holiday, I was intrigued that it did not involve religion! It does involve ‘the Pilgrims’ though – but that is just another word for colonisers, no? Most of us associate this holiday with ‘giving thanks’, but the truth may have become ‘coloured’ over time. For some perspective you can look up No Thanks to Thanksgiving, and if it is too ‘coloured’ for you, this article in the Seattle Times tells us a bit about the real Thanksgiving menu!
Kamla got me thinking about what Thanksgiving means to me (and you can listen to the podcast interview!); I can tell you that it is about sharing what you have and also about accepting what is different in others. That is something I personally experienced in all the Thanksgivings I spent in the US. My friends shared their tradition, their home, and food with me. In fact, on my first Thanksgiving, I was a total stranger to the host family. And yet there I was, with my kheer*, featured on their hand-made menu cards, which we all signed at the end of the long laid-back lunch. I still have mine!
The menu today, authentic or not, featured potatoes (mashed potatoes), corn (cornbread with cumin and coriander), carrots (baked carrot fries), stir-fried vegetables, and mango relish. The turkey was missing, and I would have loved to use the drippings to make the gravy for the mashed potatoes. Since last year, turkeys have become available at the INA Market in Delhi. And one small turkey is my entire year’s chicken, mutton, and fish budget, combined! Thanks but no, thanks.
Bring on the food – it’s Thanksgiving! And thank you, America, for sharing your tradition with me.
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