My first Thanksgiving with white people
November 16th, 2011
09:05 AM ET
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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. Ronnie

    I dont know about you bro, but I'm from the south where the difference between a black and a white Thanksgiving dinner is almost non existent. White people throw down on greens, tater salad, tater pies, and whoa "Chittlins". Maybe his family was in the closet about their cooking to impress you!! I bet when you left somebody pulled out the oyster and cornbread dressing and said "Whew" glad companies gone lets eat!!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • DP

      Two weeks for a big dish of oyster pie, collards, sweet potatoes, and turkey.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Randy

      Oyster dressing? That's what I'm talking about! You must be from either coastal SC or Coastal GA.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  2. Tao

    The article was good. For those of you commenting (the majority) who obviously did not read the story, he was talking about his own ignorance and the fact that even though he felt he was worldly and tolerant, he needed more real-world experience.
    As a black person, I do not like the title of the article though.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Eltrip

    Gee, everyone is different. What a surprise? Who would've guessed? Sure would be boring otherwise....

    November 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  4. vannabrown

    Why does this have to be a color thing?? I wonder what response and outrage people would display if a white guy wrote or talked about his first Thanksgiving with black people!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Tao

      I am sure that if it was as well written as this article and had the same meaning, it would be well recieved.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
      • omni

        Doubtful

        November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
      • neuroguy

        Well written? You mean besides the grammatical errors, cut off sentences, overt racism? Ok, whatever.

        November 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  5. Elizabeth

    And it's only "stuffing" if it's actually inside the turkey. When it's cooked in its own pan, it's "dressing."

    November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Gwen

    Read the ENTIRE article folks!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  7. kuksupwan

    Just think in ten years 90% of americans will eat tamales, beans and rice and tortillas for Thanksgiving. God bless em.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • scruffy

      90%? i doubt that. c'mon now.

      i have yet to meet a mexican or latino i haven't liked!! i have been fortunate to meet some really cool people. sorry your experience has been so terrible that you have to post that. hopefully, someone will come along and change your mind but i'm guessing....from what you wrote...you wouldn't be open to that. at all.

      anyhoo, i'd love to get rid of thanksgiving food - my vegan self can't take the smell of turkey. the smell made me sick as a small tike. never liked the stuff. but that thanksgiving tradition...it'll be here for a long time. no tofurky (i don't eat that crap) or tamales replacing it, like ya think. so you don't have to worry, sir/m'am.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Ally

    Dave, did you read the whole article?

    His whole point is that it's NOT about white or black.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  9. Easy

    LZ is just sharing his experience. Don't take this as an informative article. Take it for what it is, just a Thanksgiving story. Many might not care at all, and that's ok. But there is no need for the nasty comments.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • dmjk

      DITTO!!

      November 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  10. rose helen myers

    LZ,i'm white.i enjoyed your article.i don't think it was racist.i understood the jest of your story.i thought it was humorous.we all have our differences and traditions.i never ate greens until my son got the recipe from the Mother of his black friend she rated them and said they tasted perfect and now they are a part of some of our dinners.several years ago my son invited his Asian friend for dinner i did not make rice ,we had one of our usual dinners and i told him not to be shy and help himself,he did and enjoyed everything.my son was invited to his home for dinner,they had spring rolls and the usual Asian fare my son truly enjoyed everything and got the recipe for spring rolls,delicious.it's fun to try a variety of ethnic foods i have and have found so many of them delicious.LZ was not being racist why are so many of you just waiting to start trouble try to get along you just might make a new friend and learn something.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Josh

      Greens is NOT an "ethnic" food, it is southern food. You might be shocked, but what is known as "soul food" or "black food" is really nothing more than southern food that blacks and whites eat. We need to stop the BS. This is what happens when Jews run everything and they want to direct your image in their image – but don't you DARE question stories about themselves that they claim to be real!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  11. Reesagirl

    Growing up, I was best friends with Marci down the road. One night her mom asked what we were having for dinner and I excitedly told her about my mom's beans & hamhocks with cornbread. She called up my mom laughing and confirmed our dinner menu, telling her that she never heard of white people eating soul food. Marci's family was African-American. When I met my husband and we had meals with his family, I tried yorkshire pudding and ham with mustard sauce. They are from England and Monaco. My favorite dish of my mom's is chili verde and New Year's is not complete without black-eyed peas with jalapenos. Food is about family and love and ties us to our history and culture, it's not racial, but individual to each of us. By the way, I am white if that even matters.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • What the....??

      "Food is about family and love and ties us to our history and culture, it's not racial, but individual to each of us." Love it.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
      • spooky

        she sounds as confused as granderson....

        November 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • FoodMan

      You were a catch and no, it DOESN't matter!

      November 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  12. jazzy

    Granderson, I bet that meal with the white people was special for you. It was the first Thanksgiving meal that wasn't paid for with food stamps I bet.

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

      Jazzy, that was an ignorant comment but I am not surprised.

      I can not believe the rest of the World China, India, South America, Africa, and the Middle Eastern nations have admired the US but I see all of that is changing and rightfully so. A Nation of roughly 300,000,000 people who for the most part do not speak a second language, can't do math, and poor science skills...you don't deserve to lead the West or the Free World...

      Ignorant just plain old ignorant & racist...what a shame.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
      • spooky

        It sounds ignorant and racist to you because that wasn't the culture you grew up in. I understand what he means. Growing up I was "poor white" among poor blacks and Hispanics in Houston, Tx. White people had to be poorer than the other races to qualify for food stamps or aid. White people saw other races live well on food stamps. But that was the intent, right? To elevate "minorities" above the whites? An issue isn't invalidated just because you haven't experienced it personally.

        November 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Randy

      I'm black and my Thanksgivings dinners have NEVER been paid for with food stamps so I think your point has become nil.....stupid.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  13. Sandy

    Great story. It is easy to forget how narrow our world views can become. Food is a great reflection of how much we have in common ... or not. (Potato salad for Thanksgiving?! That's a new one for me, although I can see how it would really simplify meal prep.) I will always remember the first Thanksgiving I had with my in-laws. Although my husband and I have many things in common, our family's dinners weren't quite the same. I never knew how much mashed potatoes and gravy meant to me until that Thanksgiving. No white potatoes of any kind were served, and there was no gravy. There was instead a big bowl of fried noodles (egg noodles boiled, drained, and fried in butter until the edges are crispy). My mother baked sweet potatoes; his mother went with the traditional gooey sweet potato casserole. We always had rolls and butter; they had Hawaiian bread. I didn't like a lot of it, but I loved my husband and my in-laws, In the end, it's great to have the foods we love, but it is better to have the people we love.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  14. jazzy

    Come to my house for Thanksgiving this year Granderson. You can sit at the kiddie table.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Randy

      Come to my house for Thanksgiving this year Jazzy. You can sit at the dog table outside and eat Alpo.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
      • spooky

        randy, you see, this is why I read the well-intended but often ignorant, race based articles by Granderson–just so someone like jazzy can write stupid comments so someone like you/randy can respond with equal stupidity. You think your comment to his makes you look better? ??????????

        November 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  15. Ken

    Where is the "First Thanksgiving with Black People" article... oh, wait, that would be inappropriate along with things like white awareness month, the NAAWP, and White Entertainment Television. My point... stop writing these stupid race oriented articles. You along with other blacks who publish crap like this should be ashamed.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • DJ

      Wow. The article was just speaking of an experience. Why take it past that?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • flhri

      Very well said. Why can't there be "white" months, etc. as you mentioned without it being called racist. If CNN had a White in America series I'm sure it would be considered racist.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
      • Sarah

        "White Month" ...wow really? Are you insinuating that because there is Black History Month (A month that celebrates African American who became innovators, peace makers, inventors and fought for civil rights) that there should be a month dedicated just for white people?.....Caucasian accomplishments are all through history books in classrooms across this country, museums and monuments in D.C. You are celebrated EVERYDAY!....why are you upset about that? Most white people do not learn ANYTHING about black history (slavery, jim crow, etc.), so why taunt Black History Month...the shortest month of the year.

        And if there were a White in America...it wouldn't be racist at all, but what would it show? How hard it is to be white in America? Are ya'll oppressed, the minority, is the majority poor or uneducated? What would be the story line? Really think about these questions. The only reason there is a Black in America and Latino in America is to show other races the struggles, successes and everyday life of the specific cultures.

        I am tired of the so called "majority" complaining every time someone brings up race. Stop being afraid to discuss it. We know that all white people aren't racist, I don't even know anyone that thinks that way...and I live in the south. Whether you are black, white, brown, blue or yellow we are all human beings. The past is the past...let it go!

        November 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  16. Marti

    I can't taste the difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pies, am I the only one?

    November 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • AleeD

      I had the opportunity to taste test them together. They did have distinctly different flavors. Separately, I miiiiight be able to I.D. one from the other. But since I love the flavors of both, I don't worry too much about which is which. As long as one is there for the festivities, I'm happy!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Laura

      Ha ha, not at all. I thought I was the only one that thought that!!

      November 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  17. Bob

    Surprise! Even white people have ethnic food. It doesn't have to be spicy to be ethnic.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  18. Alex

    Hey look.... a person so stupid they are proud of being ignorant.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  19. Maggie

    OMG! Can't stop laughing! He deserved that!!!!! It was a great article..love him and his point of view! Closed minded people are ridiculous!!!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • L.Tutt

      Well put Maggie, It's just one person point of view whom had become custom to Thanksgiving from childhood. You can speak of aother race without being a racist..

      November 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  20. Laura

    Geez, even though my family is whiter than white we must be doing something wrong because we don't have potato salad at Thanksgiving and when it is made it has both mustard and mayo in it.

    All joking aside, I live in the midwest and I think our chosen dishes encompass more than that area. We have turkey (and sometimes ham because my dad prefers it), stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, bread, and oyster stuffing (not really midwest, but it was introduced into the family somewhere and we love it), pumpkin pie (required by dad and husband) and generally another dessert.

    We also have sweet potato something-or-other...I don't care for the marshmallow ladened variety, but others in the family do so we take turns of having that or sweet potato casserole. I do draw the line at green bean casserole since I host the festivities...the sight and smell of it makes my stomach turn so we do fried green beans (not healthy, but sooo good!)

    Some foods just speak to certain people as being 'traditional' but let's face it, that changes with each area and honestly, is anything we do for Thanksgiving really that authentic to the original celebration?

    As long as it tastes good, go for it! Nom, nom, nom

    November 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  21. kayla

    You were obviously with the wrong white people. We always have collard or turnips, there is always sweet potato pie, dressing, paprika covered potato salad.....

    November 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  22. QS

    I just don't like Thanksgiving....the holiday OR the food.

    Considering what we teach kids about the so-called "first Thanksgiving" it's amazing to me that many people still can't seem to figure out that we aren't even teaching real history to our children, just the watered-down revisionist history that somehow gets passed off as truth.

    As for the food...well, I'm white and let's just say that I would honestly not feel any more guilty turning down the "traditional" Thanksgiving foods at a black household than I would turning down the "traditional" Thanksgiving foods at a white household.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  23. Scott

    Why is everything with this guy about race? It's so annoying. I grew up in a liberal MA household where even a hint of racism would have been condemned by my parents. I grew up very tolerant. I'm growing intollerant. Not racist, just intollerant and resentful of constantly have race thrown in my face by whining race-baiters.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Rob

      Scott, Couldn't agree more. Everything is about race. It's time to move on.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
      • So Tired

        I could not agree more...and I am black and grew up in Oakland in the 60's with a mother who was involved (deeply) in the Black Power Movement. Mr Granderson, please try opening BOTH of your eyes, your peripheral vision-skewed world is tiring!

        November 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Andrew

      I think you answered your own question. You grew up in a house and life where race wasn't an issue. Not everyone is that lucky. Grow up in Alabama or Mississippi and I'm sure you would see the reason many people still bring up the issue, and why it is indeed still a relevant issue.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
      • Scott

        Race was every bit as volatile an issue, if not more so, in Boston than the south during the 70's when I grew up. We've come a long, long way but some people, blacks and liberals mostly, find race an issue in EVERYTHING. It's annoying to say the least. Ironically, it's conservatives (whom the left constantly tries to brand as racist) who are more color blind than probably any other segment of our society.

        November 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
      • John

        I am in Alabama....born and raised here. Race isn't that big of a deal anymore. Reverend Shuttlesworth passed away recently, and both whites and blacks here mourned. Move on people.

        November 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Scott

      Why, in 2011, do we continue to talk in terms of "white people" and "black people"? In this case, the discussion should have been about "southern food" against "midwestern food." We are NEVER going to get passed race if everyone, both white AND black, keeps drawing the distinction. We are all members of the HUMAN RACE. We are ALL God's creations. No one with half a brain even cares about other people's race when dealing with them. It seems that it just keeps coming up to intentionally widen the perceived gap.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
      • Hugo

        thank you.

        November 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Antonio Gardner

      Race is interesting. Sometimes I stare at my wife's structure and become amazed at the differences. I also do the same to whites although I don't stare that long. Race is unique and an unsolved mystery to many that has an open mind and heart to it. The more we are the same the less we grow. True a standard is created but independence and freedoms die. As a black, african-american, negro, whatever I'm called these days, the word freedom means ALOT to me. I want to be all that I can be of me without outside help. I have a natural obsession to be as free as the bird in the sky. True that is reckless thinking but independence and freedom was and is the best thing I ever experienced compared to many other cultures and my phenomenal and rich racial history. Speaking about race can be a good thing. Explore, Love, and Learn my human friend.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Alan

      Did you read the whole article or did you just get upset about the headline? Sounds like you're just looking for trouble even where it doesn't exist.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Simple = Trouble

      Try not to let other people, especially people you don't know personally, influence your feelings so much.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  24. Puddin' Tane

    A telling rejoinder! Just the sort of intelligent, insightful racial discourse that we can thank for our current social morass, thanks to you and your ilk, Alfonso. I suppose we'll just have to wait for your sort to die out.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Eric

      You realize of course in saying how much you hate this type of discourse that you by default hate this article. This article is nothing more than a black man drawing the lines so we can all remember there are differences. It is nothing more nothing less. Granderson is as racist as they come he just isn't white so no one cares.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  25. deeceemee

    well, that was a boring article! For some reason I expected more of a climax to that story. Let me tell you about my first thanksgiving with a Black family. (FYI: I'm white, from the north, but my parents are originally from the south.) It was rather uneventful. They had more family in town (I have a small immediate family) so it was a much bigger celebration. We normally have collard or turnip greens. They did too. They had mac and cheese. I don't care for potato salad, so I didn't notice if there was paprika or not. There were some different dishes, but I don't remember what they were because they weren't that different. Just like every family has some dishes they prefer and other that they dislike. NBD. The end.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  26. Madrep

    Who is "WHITE"???? Who is "BLACK"???? What a moron. I agree with the cultural theme but come on....enough of the racism thing. But then again, CNN does have Martin too.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • PushingBack

      It isn't racism to talk about the differences of black people to white people. There are differences, just as there are similarities. Maybe some of us want to read this and take something away from it rather than just condemning it. Why are so many of you so intolerant? And it seems many are just angry, like you were forced to sit down and had your eyes pinned open to read this stuff.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
      • Madrep

        Hey Pushy...quit pushing. The fact IS all this guy writes about is race. That was my point moron.

        November 20, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  27. Meek

    O....M.....G Dumbest article ever. Talk about sheltered. Get out in the world more LZ, its a big world. Don't be shocked if you go to an Asian families house for TDay. This guy writes the silliest articles. IGNORE!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Didn't actually read the article did you genious? He's talking about a thanksgiving from 1998, when he was a much younger and less worldly man. He mentions that in the time since, he HAS gotten out more.

      But Y reed whn u cn just jymp to konklusions dur?

      November 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  28. OBG

    So, the incredible eye opening message here is that different cultures eat different foods and have different customs? Really? Gosh, I fell so enlightened now.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • DB

      Thank you for an entertaining column, LZ! The only thing I like better than your columns is the way you manage to – without even trying – drive perpetually angry mental midgets crazy with them. They seem addicted to hating you, eagerly awaiting your next column so they can gnash their teeth and complain about it. When you write about serious issues, they whine that you're "playing the race [or gay] card." When you write about lighthearted issues that are fun (like today), they whine that you're not including any substance. Ridiculous, huh? But just tune them out and keep doing what you're doing. The silent majority appreciates it.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
      • DB

        Whoops, I didn't realize I'd hit the "reply" button. My comment wasn't intended to be directed at a particular reader.

        November 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  29. Keith in SoJax

    Alphonso, you are one suave dude exercising his freedom speech. Just thought I'd add that it makes you look pretty ugly in my eyes.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  30. Kanye

    Last year, my friend Taylor came over and took forever to finish eating. Since it was getting late, I started to clear the table to load the dishwasher. She got upset, but I told her "Taylor, I'ma let you finish"...

    November 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  31. GuestColin

    Being from the UK, I never celebrated (or knew much about) Thanksgiving until I moved to the US to attend Uni 4+ yrs ago. A classmate took me home for the holiday as I was otherwise going to be eating cold noodles from my fridge.

    Several lessons were learned that First Thanksgiving I was here.

    1. Americans are just like we are; full of crap and full of drink.
    2. Not all Americans appreciate a dry and absurd sense of humour.

    I was asked (As the guest) to say grace. Mind you, I am an Atheist so this itself was rather amusing. But I said nothing just to keep the peace and did my best. However, my follow up question of "Do we get to sacrifice the indians to the corn god now?" did not go over as well.

    Live and learn.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  32. David M

    Come to my house LZ. We'll have all that and more. I learned from my mom to cook all those things you were missing in that meal. And I'm white!!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  33. jadescorpio

    Where do Black people trail and if you know the history then you know why Balck people trail...There are really ignorant people in this world who need to ask for a brain this Christmas instead of the newest gadget. Obviously many on this comment board are lacking in that area and that includes you.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Sally

      Wonderfully said!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  34. ChrisH

    Anybody else really hungry?

    November 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  35. IronCelt

    And many Americans, for a wide variety of reasons, are in the same situation as Rocky Balboa (1976): "To you it's Thanksgiving, but to me it's Thursday."

    November 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • David M

      To me it's Thursday and it's Thanksgiving. And I have reason to be thankful.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Sunflower

      To those who unfortunately have to work and can't go home, it is definitely Thursday, but they all wish very much it was truly Thanksgiving....

      November 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  36. What??????

    I'm white and I think white people don't eat greens because we already do enough pooping Thanksgiving Day......GREENS????? I'd be blown mud all day if I ate that greezy crap!!!!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Keith in SoJax

      Uhhh, very insightful essay, there Beavis.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Even more Perplexed....

      Just for the record What????, greens are not "greezy". Collard Greens are leafy green vegetables which are quite hard to make "greezy". But we all are a bit ignorant, eh?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  37. Keith in SoJax

    Cool article, LZ. You use personal experience to demonstrate that we are all a product of our upbringing...to a point. Its funny how we all have bias simply because of our life experience. You made your personal discovery of that fact both humorous and human which is something to which we can all relate. I've had similar experiences and often relate them to friends and family in the hopes that they find them humorous and enlightening.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Pat in IL

      I liked this article, too. Our (white) family likes to mix it up once in a while. We've had a "tuscan feast" and a "Mexican feast", etc. Any gathering with lots of good food made with love is a wonderful experience, and it's fun to try foods from different cultures. This year, with fewer of us, and most of us not eating so much any more, we're getting together with chili and a sandwich and salad bar. Why not?? It's a day to enjoy visiting, eating well and having a good time (there will be a group around the tv for football games, and another group playing games with children, etc.). Yes, it's "just Thursday", as someone has said, but why not have some fun with that Thursday, and it doesn't always take a Norman Rockwell family to make it a really good day.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Robin

      Well said Keith! I find it sad that there are so many commentors who are small minded. They must not know the difference between critical reading skills and just being critical. In some cases, I'm wondering if they even have reading skills.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  38. Tati

    Can't wait for the sequel – my first Thanksgiving with black people.

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

      Touche` ... unfortunately it won't happen , though I wish it would ;>)

      November 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • Yeahme...

        IF HE CAME TO MY MEXICAN HOME DURING T-DAY...HE WOULD COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR BEAN SOUP...

        November 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  39. DubM

    @ Alphonso Dupont: don't procreate

    November 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  40. Nova

    Ever have Thanksgiving with a Native American? Ha!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • CDG

      Yes.

      Many times.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  41. Ally

    All of you who are saying versions of "that's not a racial difference it's a cultural/regional difference thing" are missing the point of the article.

    See this sentence: "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 ."

    November 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  42. J

    I think this was a great story! My world means pecan pie, sweet potato souffle, stuffing and cranberry sauce along with the turkey and mashed potatoes, but sometimes I wish it included things like macaroni and cheese and cornbread like my black friends would be having with their dinner. But you know what, it's all good, and there's no reason I can't include those foods as well.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  43. PattyCakes

    What is wrong with everyone?! So many are missing the point of this article. Believe me I have been in his shoes. My husband and I couldn't have come from more different cultural backrounds (mine american his syrian.) I'll never forget the first time we had thanksgiving at his parents house with my family. Beef tartar, the stuffuing was rice, baklava for dessert. But the amount of PURE love that went into that meal was so amazing. Did i miss my green beans and sweet potato pie? Absolutely. But It was so nice to share a table with both of our families. THIS is what LZ's article is about. Learning the cultural differences of someone else and ACCEPTING them. It's not racist at all. Hats off to you LZ for another wonderful article. xo

    November 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  44. qweertzdertz

    Boy, you wonder why we can't seem to make progress on racial issues. Maybe if everyone stopped sweating articles that are clearly in good fun (LZ's article, Stuff White People Like, etc.) we could actually have discussions about real issues. If everyone could get off the soapbox for a few minutes, we could probably have a good laugh about it.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Sally

      So true, well said but the more I read comments to the various online articles the more I see the hearts of many people are filled with so much hatred they can't even see simple truth as it is written. There are a lot of great people also as those who see that this article is more about people of different cultures experiencing thanksgiving in their own way in good food/love and the ability for people to come together on any level to experience those differences. I gave my candied yam recipe to a white Italian girlfriend I worked with and taught her how to make it and her family said it was the best they have ever tasted and they preferred it over their staple mashed potatoes they had come to enjoy for years. As for the guy that stated "we" have greasy greens, get over yourself, our foods have been perfected over the years, and you probably only wished you could sit and eat at our tables.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  45. NeverInaMillion

    My family of origen is Italian, too, and we always had the ravioli, red sauce and salad at Thanksgiving. But, we also always had the turkey, corn, sweet potatoes and other foods too.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  46. Elizabeth

    I remember my first Thanksgiving with the Italian family I was working for as a nanny in New Jersey. The concept of lasagna for Thanksgiving was just as foreign to my small-town Oklahoma-born-and-bred self as my homemade mashed potatoes and giblet gravy was to them. Incidentally, I will NEVER approve of sausage in dressing.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • bczu

      Heeey, from Jersey myself. Its called stuffing! And sausage is good in everything lol

      November 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        Pork is vile.

        November 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        And it's only "stuffing" if it's actually inside the turkey. When it's cooked in its own pan, it's "dressing."

        While we're correctly each other's English, the only time one stands "ON line" is when there's an actual line on the ground. The rest of the time, you're "IN line."

        November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  47. Worldofeverything

    This article is not racist. It would be racist if he was spouting out hatred toward his BF and BF's family for being white. He is actually saying, very clearly might I add, that he has had his own racial barriers to tear down. Thanksgiving with his boyfriend's family was one of them. L2read, real haters.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  48. T

    This article is ridiculous! Kudos to the one who commented that this was a cultural difference and not a racial difference!! I'm from the south and I'm white and my family makes all those foods that the author described as soul food!!! When I visit my family that lives in the north, the food is much different!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • kirstyloo

      That is exactly what he was writing about...learning about others. For him, it was initially a white/black thing. He then discusses realizing that there are peoples of both groups that flip it...just like your family does it because their from the south.

      November 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  49. Tina

    Firstly, let me just say this was a very well-written article and a great story. I actually felt like I was there with the writer staring at pale potato salad. Though, my family doesn't eat potato salad on Thanksgiving. What's blowing my mind though, is how many people are getting all revved up about this article in a negative way and turning it into a racist thing. The guy SIMPLY never had Thanksgiving with white people before and now he was enlightened. Which led to him going outside of his cultural upbringing and trying new and different foods. It's a good thing. GOSH!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  50. neverland911

    I married an Asian. So my first Thankgiving with the in-laws consisted of stuffing made with cellophane noodles, egg rolls, shrimp chips, pho soup, and turkey. It wasn't anything like I was used to, but it awesome.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • bczu

      Ewwww lol

      November 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
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