By: Jacklyn Tran – Ethnic Seattle
November 17, 2015
Thanksgiving: a time to celebrate and be grateful, spend time with loved ones, and nosh on the bounty of turkey and mashed potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie surrounding. Living in the diversity of Seattle, different languages are plentiful, and the drifting aroma of different cuisines carry itself through the air of neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, University District and Columbia City, every day. It’s no wonder then that a peak at a “traditional” Thanksgiving spread here often produces a vision combining the classically American turkey meshed with great eats of all ethnicities.
Food, no matter what kind, is an intertwining of history and geography. To begin to understand a culture, sometimes the best start is to look at an aspect that is most often preserved, the cuisine.
Osiris Navarro, founder and curator of BadWill Market (a monthly pop-up flea market featuring vintage and handmade goods from small local businesses), shares how she spends her Thanksgivings.
“If you know Filipinos, you know that we do everything in excess, especially when it comes down to family dinners and the holidays. Usually we have a headcount of 20 at our gatherings, but we literally make enough food for 100! We have a mix of food with Thanksgiving classics such as a roasted bird of some sort (we prefer duck), potato sides, and also Filipino dishes such as lumpia, pancit, etc.”
As for her husband, Michal Gola, of Gola’s Kitchen, a holiday dinner with his family is more proportionately conservative, “it’s tradition in Czech to have duck, dumplings, and red cabbage for special occasions.”
The Golas make sure to include a dish from both backgrounds at every gathering. Navarro continued, “During the holidays last year we had so much food. We had Czech appetizers and snacks, potato salad, and Filipino food like adobo, lumpia, and fish.”
The cultural heritage of a family characterizes its united identity. Over time, experiences and traditions are formed that strengthen the foundation of each family. As new values are presented, each is recognized and carried on in such a way that it becomes ingrained and eventually preserved in that way. To share in the tradition of another is to pay respect to it. In the same manner, Seattle represents the ethnic cultures of the world by interconnecting our roots with our current environment. Celebrating Thanksgiving, a holiday that is easily relatable for its custom of bringing together family and friends around a dinner table in thanks of each other, in thanks of the blessings that we all experience daily, is also a day to celebrate the Americanisms that bring us together that day and the diversity that makes us all a little unique.