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 we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America. Catch up on past coverage.
In Spanish, it’s known as “Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias” or el “Dia de Las Gracias.” Although it’s not a holiday celebrated in Latin America, Thanksgiving has resonated with Hispanics in the United States because of two vital components in Latino culture: family and food.
Latino households across the country will serve Hispanic dishes alongside Thanksgiving classics like mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, blending their own culture into the “traditional” American holiday.
“Last year, I spent it at my sister’s house and we had ham, pasteles, yam, stuffing and Mexican rice alongside the turkey,” says Baltimore, Maryland resident Elianne Ramos. She works as the Vice-Chair of Marketing and PR for Latinos in Social Media .
Of course, not every Latino household is the same.
Or perhaps you'd prefer a bacon pig?
iReporter ace2012 says this "Twurkie" as he calls it, was his "contribution for this year" at Thanksgiving. For those wondering how it's put together, the Charlotte, North Carolina, resident posted information on Pinterest. The idea began when ace2012 started contemplating a future without Twinkies.
"On Nov. 16th, I ran out and bought a box of Twinkies when I heard they might be going out of business," he said.
"I thought they could become a collector's item. But, two days before Thanksgiving, I saw a picture of a cooked turkey and something clicked in my mind. I thought it was a very similar color to a Twinkie. I studied art and sculpture in college and I work in a creative field, so I'm always thinking creative thoughts."
The next question was to figure out how it's done.
We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.
It might seem like a world away for people still reeling from recent storms - but hours from now, you're likely going to sitting down to a dinner with loved ones (and a stranger or two), and feeling exceptionally lucky to be doing so.
[Editor's note: We ran this post a while back, but because so many people are traveling for Thanksgiving, we wanted to share the great advice in the comments below and ask you to shout out more of your hometown favorites.]
Our managing editor gifted Mr. Velshi with the signature dish of her homeland - a can of Skyline Chili Spaghetti, in the hopes that it would sway him to accept her offer of a position as Eatocracy's official Spokesanchor/Taste Tester (he has since been named our Senior Junk Food Correspondent). He, in return, waxed rhapsodic about poutine - a meld of fries, cheese curd, gravy, and, according to him, a soupcon of rancidity from infrequently changed fryer oil.
Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a Bay Area writer and editor. Her first book Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate, is a humorous non-fiction narrative and exposé on the lives of picky eaters. She previously coerced Anderson Cooper to overcome his dining issues and told us the most scientifically delicious snack shape.
In my years-long quest to put my picky eating into remission, I'm proud to say that I had a list of once-hated green vegetables jockeying for attention at my Thanksgiving table this year. The two that won out are okra (simply sautéed and salted to perfection) and Brussels sprouts, which will be peeled down to individual leaves, sautéed with garlic, then gilded with a balsamic vinaigrette and a smattering of walnuts to comprise a warm salad.
Even the most adventurous eaters often give their inner food warrior the day off on Thanksgiving – nothing but the same turkey, stuffing (or dressing!), cranberries, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie they've been eating since childhood. If one of those dishes goes missing, the whole meal just doesn't feel right.
Other families stray away from the standards (some friends of ours have to have collard greens, whiskey sours and banana pudding for the day to feel right, while another family dives into duck) and develop their own must-indulge traditions.
It may not have been pretty, but it sure was delicious and four days after the fact, I'm still dreaming about this meal. We do an awful lot of asking people to finish the sentence, "It's not Thanksgiving without..." but I suppose I've never answered the question here myself.
That'd be the plate above, laden with turkey, my husband's squash casserole, and sweet potatoes, barbecue and collard greens made with skill, practice and a whole of love by my friend Eric. He's a talented cook to be sure, but I happen to believe he's got a certain amount of divine guidance on his side in the form of our friend Mama Diva, with whom we used to gather and eat this very meal each year.
I said it several weeks ago on Twitter and I still believe it to be true:
It's true that there are dishes best served a la minute for optimum enjoyment; people aren't generally prone to stashing omelettes and pancakes into Tupperware containers for midnight noshes. Thanksgiving foods, though, tend to benefit from a night hunkered in the fridge, melding flavors and becoming exponentially more delicious.
The big meal is nigh on upon us and ya know what? You'll get through it. No matter what happens, in a few hours it'll all be a memory and ideally, you'll have a few luscious leftovers and warm, fuzzy feelings toward mankind.
We're here to get you through to the other side. Just submit your questions in the comments or hit us on Twitter @eatocracy and we'll get you an answer as soon as you possibly can. Your queries may be culinary - or even just a plea for solidarity and moral support.
Pull up a chair - we'll be serving up support in this here post all the way through T-Day and have a pretty thorough help list right here.
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