My first Thanksgiving with white people
November 16th, 2011
09:05 AM ET
Share this on:

LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs

I was told the substance in the glass casserole dish in front of me was potato salad - but I wasn’t buying it.

Why was it white?

Why was it smooth?

And where was the red stuff that goes on top?

It was 1998, and I was having my first Thanksgiving dinner with white people.

Now on the one hand going to his parents house for the holiday was a very good thing. I was in an interracial relationship and we had progressed to the point in which he felt comfortable doing so. But on other hand, I was a bit troubled when I walked through the door and didn’t smell greens cooking. Were we too early? Were they in the fridge?

As I was being introduced, I took a nice deep breath and...nope. Not a whiff of collards, or turnips or even the Tito Jackson of greens—mustard. For a moment I thought I had wandered into an episode of the Twilight Zone or maybe my mother had hired a witch doctor to put a hex on me because she was mad I wasn’t coming home.

I mean, it was Thanksgiving.

Who doesn’t cook greens on Thanksgiving?

It was a real eye-opening experience for me in that up to this point, I thought we had pretty much navigated across the sea of cultural differences between us. I taught him how to play spades, he taught me gin rummy, it was all good. But now there was this string bean casserole with dried up onions on my plate and a dish of naked potato salad in my face and I was beginning to think we wouldn’t make it.

It’s Thanksgiving. Why isn’t there any paprika on the potato salad? How come there isn’t any hot sauce out on the table? How come there’s nothing to put hot sauce on?

I was willing to do anything for love. But I wasn’t ready to do that.

Give up greens, and dressing and sweet potato pie.

I wasn’t ready to give up Thanksgiving.

I grew up in a household that if a particular aunt or uncle didn’t make their signature dish for the Thanksgiving festivities, the rest of us spent the rest of the day trying to figure out who they were mad at. We didn’t cook food just to eat. We cooked food to show love. It takes a lot of effort to make a dish of potato salad large enough to feed all of the mouths that would come together. It takes a lot of patience to pick all of those greens from the stem. And whoever volunteered to clean and cook a pot of “chitlins” had the biggest heart of all.

Had the kindest soul.

That’s what soul food is about. My family didn’t have a whole lot to give, but what we had plenty of was love and we poured that love, our soul into the food.

But the problem with the phrase “soul food” is that it insinuates no other kind of food has that soul, that care.

I knew it was good, but I wasn’t sure if it was made with the kind of love I had seen my family put into their food. How could I? My sphere was not very large, my worldview limited.

But as I’ve grown and had the chance to travel and become a citizen of the world, I realize that there’s a whole lot of people who are not black putting their whole heart and soul into their cooking. And it is good and it is delicious and it is full with a lot of love.

Looking back, that Thanksgiving Day was one of the most pivotal moments in my life. I had worked so hard to get into college and earn a scholarship, and yet I really didn’t know anything about people outside of my own experiences. Sure, I took classes and learned about people who weren’t black. I had been roommates with and worked with people who weren’t black. I was even dating someone who wasn’t black. But it wasn’t until I left my comfort zone and broke bread in someone else’s that I realized I was book smart, street wise but a little worldly dumb. And when I began to meet black people who didn't cook soul food and whites that did... well, let's just say some of the best lessons in life are not taught in school.

The potato salad - while still naked in my eyes - was pretty good. So was the pumpkin pie.

I’m not going to pretend as if I didn’t miss a lot of the smells and tastes of the Thanksgivings I was accustomed to. But I will say that if it wasn’t for that day, I might not be the adventurous eater that I am now. More importantly, it would have taken me a lot longer to understand the difference between accepting our differences and celebrating them.

And for that, I am forever thankful.

Submit your own "It's not Thanksgiving without..." story on iReport and catch up on past installments

Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and these next two weeks, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. Catch up on past coverage and stay tuned for the live blog from our Secret Supper in Chicago on Wednesday night starting at 6:00 CT.



soundoff (2,159 Responses)
  1. bud

    More divisiveness and wasted bandwidth.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Steve

      Thanks for keeping your divisiveness and wasted bandwidth so breif!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:34 am |
      • Brian

        @Steve, maybe you could do the same for everyone else?

        November 16, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Steve

      Thanks for keeping your divisiveness and wasted bandwidth so brief!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  2. JayJay

    if you read closely enough, you would realize he was served mashed potatoes and not potato salad.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  3. Jared

    Gotta love a good potato salad.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  4. Anonymous

    How does this fantastic racist keep getting published?

    November 16, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • bob

      Because CNN HAS to employee a certain number of blacks, regardless of qualifications.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • marc

      That's the same question I was asking i'm getting sick of seeing his articles that are always based on race.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • erich2112x

      You have to be able to think at least slightly outside of the box to understand LZ. I'd stick with Dr.Seuss if I were you.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  5. tcp

    Corn Pudding (ConePone in my house), GB Casserole, Stuffing (Dressing), Sweet Potato Casserole with pecans and praline on top, Cranberry sauce (though I don't TOUCH the stuff) and this RIDUNKULOUS German dish of Sausage, Onions, and Celery cooked down for HOURS (gebrutseltus or sumthin')! I don't care what "race" you are, there is love in ALL of it!!! Good article LZ but I HATE that we define everything by "black" and "white" still...

    November 16, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  6. Man_of_GOD

    Never trust a man who believes another man's butt is a vajina! I spelled incorrectly because CNN will block it!

    November 16, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Man_of_GOD

      I wouldn't eat at LZ's house because you never no what might be in the food!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Decima

      Congrats. You're an idiot.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • sisNorth

      Yeeeeaaaahhh .... I think you have the wrong story.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • clevercandi

      Let me assure you, sir, that if I could click on "report abuse" to the various comments you have made regarding this article, I would!!

      You certainly are no "Man_of_GOD".

      November 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  7. ekul

    Racist much?
    Paprika on potato salad isn't a black thing. Nor is playing spades.
    The problem with narrow minded liberals is that they mistake their experience for the standard– it's not. This guy sets the standards for black people– not!
    He's hardly the average african-american man.
    Clueless.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Tim

      You totally missed the point of the article. I take it you didn't score well on the reading comprehension part of the standardized test in school? The point he made was he stepped out of his comfort zone of to experience something foreign to him. I am a black man and I totally relate to his upbringing. My family cooked the same way for large family gatherings such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day, etc. He is stating "Soul Food' is not just a black cultural experience, it is a worldly experience.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:40 am |
      • Kim

        Right on.

        November 16, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  8. erich2112x

    i immediately hook up with the sports crowd and we hide in the den in front of the TV all day.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  9. MG

    I love the complaints from the people that missed the point of the article.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • MG

      P.S., in case you didn't get the point, it is about experiencing new things and cultures, and has nothing to do with black vs. white.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:28 am |
      • DB

        @MG Don't bother, reading comprehension is just not in some people's skill set.

        November 16, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • bob

      And I love comments from people like you, who dont realize blacks will never be able to move ahead in society until they stop mentioning issues relating to color. Lifes not fair – join the club and get over it.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:29 am |
      • G.A.

        THANKS BOB FOR SAYING IT FOR ME. I READ HIS ARTICLE AGAIN TODAY JUST B/C I KNEW I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF HIM. I AM MOVING FORWARD IN ALL OF MY FEELINGS FOR ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS EVERYDAY....I EVEN LIKE PEOPLE WHO DRIVE IN THE WRONG LANE. ACCEPTANCE...WHY DOES HE STILL NOT HAVE IT? WHAT DOES CNN THINK IS SO GREAT ABOUT HIM AND HIS WRITING? I DON'T GET IT.

        November 16, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • DB

        People are all different and sticking your head in the sand to pretend we are all "just people" simply is a lame attempt to whitewash our differences as a cop out. The entire article was him admitting that he didn't step out of his comfort zone to see why being different is to be celebrated not covered over. He did that and learned from it, perhaps you should do the same.

        November 16, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  10. Frank

    All of you guys complaining about his article completely missed the point. It wasn't about the food - it was about getting out of your own comfort zone and realizing that everything isn't always as it seems. But back to the food - I'm from the South and am white, and we most certainly had potato salad for Thanksgiving (and Christmas, and Easter, and any important familly occassion no matter the season), so you see, my white Southern experience is apparently different from the white Southern experience of others posting here. Which just proves the point of the article. Lighten up folks, and enjoy the holiday next week no matter whom you're with and no matter what you're eating!

    November 16, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Marine_From_The_South

      Thank you for stating that point Frank. And to everyone that sees this as some sort of White Vs. Black article. It simply is not. It is about stepping outside of your comfort zones and learning new things about new people and cultures. And for those of you that can't get past the fact that this guy is gay, get over it. Gay people exist. I've served with several and would be happy for any of them to bring their significant others to any of my family meals. And if you are claiming to be a Christian and would not allow this guy and his partner to share a meal with your family, you need to go back and read what that book says about loving the sinner, not the sin and learn to love and accept people even if you don't agree with them. Would you have such a hard time enviting him if he was Muslim? If he was Hindu? No? Then again, get over it...
      To all my brothers and sisters deployed over seas, keep your weapon clean and your head on a swivel!
      Semper Fi...

      November 16, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Betsy

      I'm with you, Frank, and others who are voices of reason. I've lived and spent Thanksgiving in several regions of the US, and every dinner and mix of dinner guests were a little different. All the dinners were delicious and all the guests were filled with thanks. Lighten up, folks.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  11. Lucky

    Newsflash: "White people food" has just as much soul as anyone else's, even if it's not in the official "soul food" category. Our family members have specialties, too, and put just as much love into them, even if they're not the same foods. White culture is not a monolith: My father's German relatives have very different traditions and foods than my mother's English/Irish/Welsh family. I'm white and I, unsurprisingly, know zillions of white people, none of whom serve holidays meals completely devoid of personal touches.

    I don't think I would think anything was "weird" to eat at Thanksgiving. Well, I don't think I'd think to make potato salad, except maybe German potato salad. Lots of people here in Texas insist on tamales, even if they're not Latino.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • becky

      Yep, that's exactly what the article was saying! Good job reading

      November 16, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • dontbescaredofwhites

      I'm really sick of the term "white people food." If you're eating bland food, then you're hanging out with people who can't cook.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • sockpuppet

      you must have gotten to the words "soul food" in the article and stopped reading, right? lol

      November 16, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  12. Barbara Pappas

    LZ, Could you post your family's greens recipe?

    I'm white and from the Boston area... no potato salad or greens here but I'd love to try something new. Great article, thanks!

    November 16, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • sockpuppet

      is he the only black person you know? This columnist on cNN? Because you don't need HIS recipe.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  13. bob

    Now if this article was called "my first Thanksgiving with black people" it would be RACIST RACIST RACIST!!!!!!! F'ing joke.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Jello sucks and so do you

      Hahahaha! No, but you are STUPID STUPID STUPID.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  14. JDGI

    It is very interesting to read the post regarding this article. If you are hung up on race then that is what you took away from what you read. Personally, I like the accept differences, keep an open mind and the make sure you have greens for Thanksgiving part.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  15. testpilot87

    Why is is so important what you eat on Thanksgiving? America is not just one race but many each with our cultural differences and blends. Imagine what the discussion would have been between the native Americans and the Puritans. From what I have read, each were just happy to be alive and survive their daily existences over the year. So as you sit and give thanks for the successes and failures over the year, remember that we (all of us) should be thankful that we live in a country where we can express thanks for our blessings, our friends, our cultures and differences. And then enjoy whatever is on the table that celebrates the bounty of our particular existences.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  16. Jungg

    How does LZ continue to have a job? What a narrow-minded, stereotype-ridden joke of an article. So blacks are the only people in the world do have a passion for cooking? Food has so be "soul food" in order to show this? What a crock! Granderson should go back to the bubble that he's been living in.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Inge

      With all due respect, did you read what the article said? The writer came to the very conclusion you are talking about. He is speaking of his first experiences and reactions in his journey to gain a broader world view ... including appreciating other culture's cooking.

      I can totally appreciate it: what American's call certain foods and how I think of them are worlds appart. Gulasch with ground beef and noodles??? Really??? .... but it is good (it just isn't Gulasch ...)

      November 16, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Frank

      Jungg, did you even read the article?

      "But as I’ve grown and had the chance to travel and become a citizen of the world, I realize that there’s a whole lot of people who are not black putting their whole heart and soul into their cooking. And it is good and it is delicious and it is full with a lot of love."

      November 16, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Michelle

      Did you even READ the article?

      "But as I’ve grown and had the chance to travel and become a citizen of the world, I realize that there’s a whole lot of people who are not black putting their whole heart and soul into their cooking. And it is good and it is delicious and it is full with a lot of love."

      This is what irritates me the most about people. They shoot off their mouth without thinking. They assume that if someone mentions anything about ethnic differences, they are proclaiming their own "superiority".

      This article is about how EVERYBODY has soulful Thanksgiving traditions. It would have been the same if he was talking about his first Thanksgiving at an Asian-American's house.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Laney

      Did you read the entire article? Sometimes the most important part, the learning, is at the END.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • msriss

      Obviously you missed the entire paragraph:

      But as I’ve grown and had the chance to travel and become a citizen of the world, I realize that there’s a whole lot of people who are not black putting their whole heart and soul into their cooking. And it is good and it is delicious and it is full with a lot of love.

      Read the whole article before you speak.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Kruunch

      I grew up in a Jewish household ... imagine my surprise when I found out other people actually cooked GOOD food for Thanksgiving :P!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Jungg

      Ugh, I'm sorry, I have to eat crow. I was triggered to comment and skimmed the last 3 or 4 paragraphs. I apologize for my misleading comment. I still maintain, however, that Granderson is a sub-par contributor.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:42 am |
      • clevercandi

        Then perhaps you should not read his articles :)

        November 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  17. xdougx

    Could someone fire this guy please? Hid editorials are lame with a capital L!

    November 16, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Jello sucks and so do you

      You are not Aleed patent pending.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • steveo

      This guy is the most worthless employee at CNN (other than Nancy Grace). If he lost his job he would be unemployable. He can't get his job back at the local sperm bank, since he got fired for drinking on the job.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  18. T3chsupport

    It's a good article. Yeah, if a white person wrote it, they would drag him into the streets and hang him. Pointing out cultural differences is only alright if you aren't white.

    Anyway.

    This year, my family and my husband's family are meeting for the first time, after 8 years, for Thanksgiving. My dad is taking a train from California, my sister driving down from Washington, my mom coming from the east side of the state, and my inlaws are here from Florida.

    We have... somewhat different cultures.

    My family is a bunch of hillbillies. We make a TON of food, spend most of the day munching on delicious appetizers, then stuff ourselves full without much ceremony, we just have fun cooking, eating, and being together. Some people sit on the floor, some on the couch, some at a table, some on the steps. Half of the party is drunk, and half of the party is stoned, and everyone has a grand old time.

    His family is very organized and traditional, full table set, everyone has their place and roll, and there's never anything left up to question. Everything has to be just right. They drink too much wine and get all dramatic about the tiniest little things. I don't know how they're going to do with my crazy family, but it's bound to be interesting!

    November 16, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Ger-merican

      Sounds like my and my husband's families – ENJOY! That's what it's all about! Being with loved ones and letting the good times roll in!!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • German-Scotch-Irish-Welsh-Gypsy

      I Smell a sitcom!!!!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Crusher1

      Sounds like you're in for a real fun time. If you're still married on Black Friday you know it will last. Good luck!

      November 16, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • St8sman

      Sounds like our Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  19. ralk

    So it is a color thing now huh cnn.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  20. Geniass

    Clearly Thanksgiving meals are traditional by geography and culture. I was used to the New England meals...Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes etc....including turnips and baked acorn squashed. When I married a southerner – most of the same food was served in addition to potatoe salad, greens, corn bread and corn pudding.....

    November 16, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  21. White Girl

    I dare say that a good and open minded white writer could indeed write an article about their first thanksgiving at a "black" home and not come off as racist, but enlightened... Just as this writer did about the opposite. None of it came off as racist to me... Either someone didnt read the whole thing or their comprehension is off. There will always be someone looking for the next race card to play.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Uncle Owen

      I could be that writer. I'm white and my girlfriend is black... every other year, we trade of whose family we do thanksgiving with. A black family's thanksgiving dinner really is quite different than the ones I grew up with. My mom always made turkey, mashed potatoes, asparagus, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, and squash... very traditional. My girlfriend's family has a whole different menu... the only things that are the same are the turkey and stuffing. Instead of mashed potatoes, they had potato salad (except when I'm there, I make my mashed potatoes for them and they love it :), instead of squash they make macaroni and cheese, instead of asparagus they have greens, etc. They usually do a roast in addition to the turkey as well. But LZ is right, in the end, the sentiment behind it all is the same.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:24 am |
      • charlie

        NIce thoughts. I especially like the fact that your girlfriend's family thinks enough of you to make something for you not on their 'traditional' menu. Good on 'em!
        My wife's family is of German descent, so sauerkraut is a part of every Thanksgiving meal. I found it very strange at first, but now include it in my own Thanksgiving dinner. My wife never ate it when my mother-in-law served it, and she won't eat mine either.

        November 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Marie

      Everyting this guys writes is racist. If a white person wrote about a black family like this they would be persecuted. Such a shame that the race flag is always thrown by blacks. Articles like these are why I have am turning to Fox news so I don't have to see or get upset about this racist crap. This black columnist needs to go back with his people so he can eat his collard greens and hot sauce. And by the way, white people eat these items as well. Grow up and quit living in the past. When you quit using the race card, the world can start to heal.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:25 am |
      • clevercandi

        " This black columnist needs to go back with his people..."

        Really, Marie? "HIS people"?? And YOU claim HE is racist??

        I'm sure you'll fit in well with Fox News (and we won't miss you).

        November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
      • Ash

        Marie – this article is not racist at all. He is describing what he has been used to, and how he has had to experience new things since he got out of his closed off world he grew up in...it may not be the best article in the world, but it is his point of view. You saying that he should "go back with his people so he can eat his collard greens and hot sauce" is quite ridiculous. The "world can start to heal" when people like you stop thinking in this way. The sad part is that you don't even see that you are being racist, and that, my friend, is what keeps the world from healing.

        November 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • White Guy

      Can comeone with some intelligence please explain how/why this is racist

      November 16, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  22. Summer819

    It would be odd to find potato salad at a holiday dinner like Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas with us. That's more reserved for a summer food. It'd be really odd (and slightly insulting) to not have mashed potatoes. We are white, my dad is originally from the south (though you'd never know it by talking to him) and my mom's brother usually brings greens for the holiday dinners. I'm not that adventurous to eat something that looks mushy and green, but the rest of the family sure loves 'em. I think no matter what your race is, each family has their unique holiday dinners that no one can duplicate for you.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  23. maxx

    Is everything always gonna be about race?? My first white thanksgiving... okay hmmm lets write an article "my first black christmas" I bet that would get on cnn too . . . as a hate crime article.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Jello sucks and so do you

      Me thinks something needs to "Occupy" that brain of yours.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • me13

      Exactly

      November 16, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Gus

      You've missed the point. This is about family and cultural differences and learning to share and celebrate those differences. It's hard to hate when you've sat and shared a meal with someone in their home. You might want to put your anger aside and read the article again.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  24. Lady Roche

    Some German families serve potato salad instead of mashed potatoes, and the Italians usually serve pasta, along with turkey or ham and all the trimmings, it all depends what you like and what you are brought up on, and all of it is done with love.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  25. wpbdenise

    You are so wrong White Knight. I'm white and have had potato salad at Thanksgiving.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  26. wpbdenise

    Doesn't matter if your black, white, red or green. Your family has it's own traditions. Thanks for sharing yours LZ. Growing up my favorite part of Thanksgiving was my aunt's fried chicken. As hard as I've tried, I cannot duplicate her chicken. I've got my own family now with our own traditions. Some which come from my childhood, some that don't. I hope my family will carry on some of them.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  27. John

    White knight – You are wrong.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  28. jello sucks and so do you

    That is some really ignorant sh it.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  29. John

    Turkey is okay and fried chicken is better, but I really, really love fried crabcakes and oysters for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    My grandmother cooked on a wood stove and never served greens. I don't know why, maybe they didn't like them. They grew everything else, so they could have had greens easily enough. They were just old timey apple farmers way back in the Virginia mountains. Anybody else like pickled peaches and watermelon rind?

    November 16, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  30. DLD

    This article plays to racial stereotypes. I am an American of African, Native American, French and German descent, and I have never eaten a chitlin' or collard greens. I have, however, had potato salad on Thanksgiving - made by my Mom, who was Creole and Choctaw!

    November 16, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • jello sucks and so do you

      How in the world does it play "to racial stereotypes?"

      November 16, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • DLD

      Which part of "you people" are you referring to? French? German? American Indian? African? My Scots-Irish husband has eaten more watermelon than I ever have!

      November 16, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  31. Lila

    Never heard of potato salad, with or without paprika for Thanksgiving. It's usually summer food. Thanksgiving without something mashed and covered in gravy would be missed. String beans with the onions is nasty, collard and mustard greens are much better. In fairness, whites work very hard at Thanksgiving I don't know why you assume their food has less "soul" because it's different. On the flip side,be thankful the whites you were visiting weren't the kind who go out to eat, cater or buy all the food pre-made for Thanksgiving. Those popular trends make for a bland holiday experience.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • John

      We had mashed potatoes, potato salad, candied yams and sometimes sliced potatoes covered in cheese. There were a lot of folks to feed, so nothing went to waste. And up to six kinds of homemade bread and biscuits. My favorite Thanksgiving food is still dressing balls baked in a pie plate. They're dry compared to the dressing in the turkey and soak up a whole lot of gravy.

      How did my entire family avoid being fat? It's a miracle.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:53 am |
      • Lila

        Your comment above was making me drool already and now this one, the food your family serves sounds amazing. I had to google dressing balls, never heard of them. They look delicious.

        November 16, 2011 at 10:01 am |
      • Jerv@Lila

        Me too!

        November 16, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  32. JAH

    It seems that Mr. Granderson had an extremely limited idea of what it means to be "black." My African-American family didn't serve the food he was apparently used to eating on Thanksgiving (it was popular at other times of the year). Surely he knew black people who had different cuisines served as well, since so many blacks who have come from the Caribbean or Africa and don't have the connection to "traditional" Thanksgiving food nor the Southern "soul food" tradition. We are not a monolithic group!

    November 16, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  33. Yoda

    Good write LZ...I could just imagine a black..gay guy coming home for Thanksgiving....Talk about out of your element and missing your ethnic food....Glad it turned out great....Who doesn't put paprika on their potato salad? Although we only have that at Christmas and Eatser...Love ...Live ...Eat...

    November 16, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  34. monah_ltx

    I'm white and southern. Smooth white potato salad? Never had that. A huge pot of green beans is always cooking loaded with bacon, or a ham bone for Thanksgiving. We never had green bean casserole. Fresh spinach, collard greens, mustard, etc. all familiar to me. I'm 54 and that is what I was raised on.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  35. gooner

    A white person could not write about my first thanksgiving with black people......

    November 16, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • jello sucks and so do you

      I'm so sick of you crybabies "white people can't do blah blah blah blah blah." Whimper and whine much?

      November 16, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • monah_ltx

      Of course they could unless they were being racist about it. It's all about sharing different customs.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • priceanner

      Why the hell not???? Yes, you can. You most certainly can. I would read it and find it fascinating and, hopefully, funny and heartwarming like this article.

      Also, to others, I don't think that LZ implied that his experience of Thanksgiving was representative of every black person in America. It was about celebrating differences. Let's not look for ways to feel somehow slighted by a wonderful and inspiring article.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  36. funnyfarm

    You need to spend Thanksgiving with this white person. :P

    Mind you, I'm Canadian, we celebrate a month before your guys.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • clevercandi

      A whole month before?? How cool :)

      How's about we celebrate yours and then celebrate ours - TWO Thanksgivings - yummy!! :)

      November 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  37. Truth

    I am in a biracial marriage. On Thanksgiving, I go hunting, come home in the afternoon and we have turkey, potatoes, stuffing and the like. On Tet, we have pho, cha gio, bun xio and the like. Works for us.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  38. sunny-in-texas

    My family also acts strangely if anything is "different" at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I've never had potato salad on that particular day (only after with leftover ham), but you have to have the standard turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, etc. One year a cousin brought homemade cranberry bread that was wonderful! It made no sense to my white, Texan family, so I don't think anyone besides me touched it. That's okay; I damn near ate the whole thing! Thanks LZ for pointing out how set in our ways we are!

    November 16, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  39. John

    Great story. I'm not sure everyone read the whole thing, it really is about enlarging your world and connections to new things. Thanks.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  40. Ed Williams

    Lz... this is perfect! I continue to experience the love and support and FOOD of our 7 year gay interracial relationship. Love your take on Thanksgiving! Love your spin on just about everything. Never stop writing! Peace.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Jerv

      Just read "the leaf." Awesome!

      November 16, 2011 at 9:28 am |
      • Ed Williams

        Thanks Jerv!

        November 16, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I'm sort of in love with your tag cloud. What a sweet blog you have, Ed!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:11 am |
      • Ed Williams

        LOL Kat... my first Cloud infatuation! Thanks for reading! oxox

        November 16, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  41. Corey

    That's a good article. I know as a white person who grew up in a rural upstate, NY community, I had exposure only to European descended white folks like me. I appreciate my hardscrabble upbringing and my roots, and especially our version of Thanksgiving but all that being said, discovering new foods from around the country and the world is a joy. Talking with people of different backgrounds and enjoying their food is a wonderful way to building bridges! After all, food is definitely a common denominator.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  42. austinbee

    It is so refreshing to read a story about racial differences in a pleasant manner. I don't like chitlins either, but my entire family does and it will probably be on the table this year. Thanks to all of your comments especially to you Kat...

    November 16, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  43. Tonquisha

    So now I can sue CNN for posting this racist article? Oh wait, it's okay when black people do that.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Jello sucks and so do you

      IDIOT.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:20 am |
      • monah_ltx

        I'll second that.

        November 16, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • bob

      I am offended , just so offended. Who can I sue also ? I mean , CNN and a racist article against Europeans and now to attack their food and after such a lovely "post-racial" honeymoon from the election of our president. I had such hopes for a "kum by ya" come together moment over the hot sauce and chitlins with this writer and his award from the gay community !

      November 16, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • ellen

      I'll third that. It's unbelievable how many ignorant people are out there!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  44. annie

    Not everyone eats chitlins and collards on Thanksgiving. Is your world really that small? Here's news for you as well: some of us eat BEEF on Thanksgiving.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Jello sucks and so do you

      Another teabagger that did not read the article.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:21 am |
      • No, Jello just sucks

        Jello, what happened? have you moved into that Starbucks since they threw you out of Zuccoti Park? At least you can now power up that laptop that your daddy gave you and go back to policing irrelevant internet posts. I know, it makes you feel relevant and important. I understand.

        November 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • D. Detroit

      Annie.

      Please READ the article. OK?

      November 16, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Victoria

      I guess reading really ISN'T fundamental. Try reading the article again, please.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bet

      People celebrate holidays with whatever food their culture and family likes. Last year we had pierogis from a Polish friend, tiramisu from an Italian, pavlova from a New Zealander, and turkey with all the trimmings from the white American woman (me). Some people want to have the same things every year, some make a point of NOT having the traditional foods. It's all good. Try to remember what the spirit of Thanksgiving really is, and then you might not be so angry when you read someone else's story.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  45. SeaWitch

    What a stupid, stupid title and article. You need to step out of the little black world you have imprisoned yourself in and enter the real America. The food served at any Thanksgiving table is dictated by the region you or your family group up in. What my maternal grandmother served was different from what my maternal grandmother served and since both lived in different parts of the US and they were both "mixed" marriages, our table always had interesting dishes. I have found this to be true of nearly every table I have had the fortunate invitation to. Please release yourself from your closeminded and segretionist views and realize America is more than just being black.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • SeaWitch

      sorry, that second "maternal" should have been "paternal".

      November 16, 2011 at 9:09 am |
      • Jello sucks and so do you

        "Sorry" describes your original sorry azzed post.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • annie

      No kidding! Were a caucasian journalist write about the Black Food Table in the same small attempt at sarcastic wit and humor, the ACLU would be called in and Jesse & Al would March on DC.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:16 am |
      • Jello sucks and so do you

        FAIL on all levels.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Jello sucks and so do you

      Seriously, you did not read the article, did you? He clearly stated "My sphere was not very large, my worldview limited."

      November 16, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • ellen

      I think you missed the point SeaWitch. Can you say, "ignorant"?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Elmer

      I'm afraid I have to agree with you. While I think his heart may have been in the right place and he was probably trying to send a message of love and acceptance, it came across as him being rather snobby and judgemental, looking down his nose at his hosts because they weren't black. I feel this illustrates how much black people are really the ones who too frequently pull out the race card and make a bigger deal out of "race" than whites, asians, or even hispanics. For instance, if this article had been entitled "My First Thanksgiving With Black People" it probably never would have been published.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  46. Laurie

    so funny and very eye opening. Have a great Thanksgiving LZ, wherever you are.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  47. anon

    I'm sorry but turkey is still the way to go. It puts the children to sleep!!!!! Top THAT :)

    November 16, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Kim

      Carbs are what put the children to sleep, not turkey.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:29 am |
      • Kathleen

        Sez you. Those scientists are full of it. Turkey sandwich + kid + nap!

        November 16, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  48. kgotway

    Because my family is international there is often a lot of non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes including fish and pasta. Of course we also have almost 40 people celebrate the holiday so there are also two turkeys and a ham. Thanks for the piece Ms. Granderson!

    November 16, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • kgotway

      sorry mistype Mr**

      November 16, 2011 at 8:45 am |
      • whahuh

        Think you got it right the first time.

        November 19, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  49. Jerv

    Great read. Thanks.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  50. koko

    I am a white person. Every holiday we have collard greens (cooked with side meat), butter beans (cooked with side meat), potato salad with paprika, and apparently lots of other non-white dishes on my table. What does this mean?

    November 16, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      It means you're a lucky, lucky person.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:10 am |
      • Kara

        good response, kat. incredibly lucky.

        November 16, 2011 at 8:47 am |
      • jmm

        no, it doesn't mean he/she is lucky...just means they're likely part of a family who is from or was from somewhere below the mason-dixon line with a southern influence on their life (including cooking). We have all of those things mentioned, save for chitlins, at Thanksgiving with our family as well. However, we also have them for many, many other meals throughout the year.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:13 am |
      • CNNuthin

        LOL jmm, My family has lived in Boston and New York for 3 generations back. No history with the Mason-Dixon or anything lower. I think that having a diverse meal means that koko's family is not giving into the Racism that this article is breeding. koko's family likes good food and does not care where it is from. koko, you are a lucky person. Have a great Thanksgiving!

        November 16, 2011 at 11:16 am |
      • Jarod

        "More importantly, it would have taken me a lot longer to understand the difference between accepting our differences and celebrating them. And for that, I am forever thankful."

        The author wasnt ranting or making about racism, he was pointing out his own ignorance. Sort of like you just displayed with your ill informed statement.

        November 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Tarah

      I grew up in MIss. and everyone (black and white) eats "soul food'. You would be hard pressed to go anywhere and not see items like greens and ham hocks, cornbread, black eye-peas, etc. on the menu. It's definitely not an "ehtnicity" difference, but moreso simply a cultural one.

      Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Pinterest
 
| Part of
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,041 other followers