Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Cultural Bit: American Thanksgiving in Peru

Celebrating American holidays in another country is always fun. Here´s what this really entails:

1 - Explaining the bizarre story of the holiday based on American history. So the history is pretty much that the new colonists claimed the land of the natives and then everyone celebrated a giant feast together and lived happily ever after. I believe the modern tradition of Thanksgiving is not to celebrate this destructive history, but rather to be thankful for the many things we have.

2 - Stereotypes shine through. If you think Americans eat a lot, this holiday is the testament. On Thanksgiving we slave away many hours making all types of delicious and fatty foods. Then we stuff our faces until we can´t anymore, and then squeeze in some extra dessert (because what is Thanksgiving without the pumpkin pie?). Proceeding face-stuffing commences couch-laying food coma.

3 - Making cultural substitutes. If Peru were to have a Thanksgiving, the dishes would be quite different because of the foods here. We had to make some creative replacements for the classic Thanksgiving dishes this year. For example, squash pie make an acceptable adaptation for pumpkin pie. Diane made a sweet strawberry sauce instead of cranberry sauce, which was a mega-hit according to a certain guest. Perhaps the most monumental adaptation was the main course. In November, one can hardly find turkey so chicken breasts were the replacement. The gravy made it just as good.

We decided instead of on real Thanksgiving we would wait until Saturday so we could really cook and have a party. During the work-week would have been quite the feat to pull off. So we had our American feast with a great group of friends and had a fun evening together. I´m so thankful for those who celebrated with us and Diane for allowing us to blow up her kitchen.

The menu:
-chicken breasts and veggies
-ginger carrots
-garlic green beans
-apple stuffing #1
-apple stuffing #2
-mashed potatoes (or puré as it´s known here)
-sweet potatoes
-an Indian dish of lentils, rice, and yogurt
-strawberry sauce
-mulled wine
A sample plate of our feast.

Strawberry sauce and mulled wine :)

Cheers, chicas!

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