Growing up in an Italian American house, tradition was an important part of my life. Certain holidays such as Easter and Christmas, and of course Christmas Eve with it’s seven fishes were all so important to me.
When it came to Thanksgiving, it had a different shine on it, one filled with icons and an Italian flavor.
Mom had a certain roasting pan and cover for the turkey that she took out once a year. When the pan came out, it was Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving only. It was a heavy cast iron pan with a cover, black handle on the cover and boat-shaped.
But even that was not Thanksgiving complete until she made her stuffing, a stuffing that to this day my lovely wife makes for me, and I love her for it. Mom’s stuffing was made with Italian bread, chopped meat and raisons, eggs and pine nuts: and it was her traditional stuffing. I could easily pass on the turkey, the cranberry sauce and everything else, as long as I had her stuffing.
Our holidays in the early years consisted of a regular Sunday meal then segued into the traditional American Turkey Feast with an Italian accent.
Today, with the melding of so many cultures that married into the family, it is not that way anymore, since we mix the comfort foods of our spouses into a new mix and tradition, and why not?
Perhaps today’s feasts are more in tune with the concept of Thanksgiving in America, the idea of multi-cultures, raising a new breed of American, better than ever before.
I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Give thanks for being American, and give thanks because of that, that you have an ethnic history that is yours alone.