Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Thanksgiving Break 2011, Part II: White Lake (The 100th Post!)

Well, here it is... Post #100! Okay, actually, if you're paying close attention, at the time of this post, I've only written 96 others, but the remaining four are still backlogged from my summer voyage in France. But knowing I'll eventually get those caught up, this post has destined to become my 100th chronicled foodie experience. While this in itself is a personal landmark, I find this to be a quite timely one at that. Indeed, what better way to mark another blogging milestone than to feature one of the most quintessential food holidays: Thanksgiving?

In recent memory, I don't recall ever eating a "traditional" Thanksgiving; and to a certain extent, on the table at my godparents' home was the familiar fusion of what I'll call "ethnicized" Americana cooking. From cranberry sauce to fall-off-the-bone-turkey (my godfather's first attempt, and a successful one at that), it could be envisioned these would be set alongside green bean casseroles and pumpkin pie. Instead, my godmother's homecooked baking of an apple pie and a cheese cake, as well as the sweet potato casserole, were set on the same table as an ube dessert.

Unexpected Italian fare in the form of sausage (set between a lettuce wrap filling and peanut sauce, and flaky, buttermilk biscuits) and a minimalist caprese salad bruschetta joined the table, as did turkey/Swiss cheese rolls and chicken menudo.

I hope by this point you don't think I'm complaining about the variety of food on this year's Thanksgiving table; on the contrary, I wholeheartedly embrace it. And indeed, so long as I get a few slices of the nostalgic honeybaked ham (which this year I had to bake on the sugary exterior), all is well with holiday dining. Of course, the fish and other staples of what I consider among the Filipino staples of Thanksgiving--or rather, any holiday/festive gathering--eventually make their way as the evening progresses.

Ah, and I can't forget to mention that my small contribution to this year's feast took the form of my freshly made donut holes, the dough of which I quickly prepped after coming home from the Thanksgiving Day parade. If there's one thing I would like you to take away from having read this post is that, in my opinion, Thanksgiving dinners aren't simply memorable because of the people who are present, or because of the foods we come to expect on annual basis, but rather to a very special extent because of  the new foods and stories we bring to the dining experience which serve as the culinary representations and expressions of all the influences that have either passed us by or have been acculturated within us throughout the past year. And it is for these scenarios and new experiences--and those with whom I able to share these moments--for which I am especially grateful. For the entire collection of Thanksgiving food photos, click here.

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