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Thread: Happy Thanksgiving

  1. #196
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    cyber monday

    How Thanksgiving helps Asian-Americans celebrate their culture and identity
    The looseness to Thanksgiving makes it a great platform for Asian-Americans to celebrate and inject their own, sometimes complicated, identities
    Kimchi stuffing, pumpkin sticky rice – there are no wrong dishes
    PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 3:04am
    UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 7:11am
    Charley Lanyon
    https://twitter.com/chlanyon
    https://www.instagram.com/cee_everything



    Mina Park has a lot on her plate. As the chef and owner of Sook in Hong Kong, and co-owner of the recently closed but pioneering Baroo in Los Angeles, Park is at the cutting edge of modern global Korean dining. But this time of year her mind drifts from her work in food to her family table and preparations for her favourite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving can be a complicated time for immigrants and their children in the United States. The holiday’s very Americanness can be alienating. Most people anywhere in the world have at least some conception of what is expected for more global holidays, such as Christmas, but Thanksgiving remains a strange bird.

    Even many multi-generational Americans find the holiday confounding: why does the nation pretend to like turkey one day of the year? What precisely is a pilgrim? And what do they have to do with pie?

    For more recent immigrants, the holiday can serve to highlight their otherness, the seemingly insurmountable distance they still have to travel for true assimilation.

    “I’m Korean-American, and during my childhood, my family moved often all over North America,” says Park. “My parents moved to the US from Korea right before I was born, so they weren’t familiar with American traditions like Thanksgiving. I distinctly recall being in primary school and being slightly mortified that we didn’t celebrate this thing called Thanksgiving.”

    On the other hand, Thanksgiving is something of a great equaliser. If there is a central message – other than being “thankful” – it is that everyone in the US, with the exception of actual native Americans, are immigrants.


    Park celebrates her Korean heritage by having kimchi at Thanksgiving. Photo: Alamy

    For Park, what started as a source of mortification and confusion quickly became a sincere cause for celebration.

    “I told my mom all about how Americans celebrated, and after that we started to have Thanksgiving dinner at home. It quickly became my family’s major holiday celebration and we always had a table covered with a roast turkey, stuffing and all the fixings,” Park recalls. “And because we are Korean, kimchi.”

    Thanksgiving is, like the sentiment it claims to celebrate, a very welcoming holiday. In the Park family’s case that meant inviting other members of their community, such as Korean international students or colleagues of Park’s father’s who were alone on Thanksgiving.


    Asian-Americans celebrate the holiday across the US. Photo: Alamy

    The US holiday has mercifully few conditions. There’s no religious requirement; no ritual more involved than napping and maybe watching football. Not that it is without its own dearly held mythologies.

    “When I was growing up, I was taught that Thanksgiving was a time when the native Americans and English colonists set aside their differences for one beautiful, shared seasonal meal,” Park says. “So, as a child, I imagined this as a time to share your culture and bridge cultural gaps. I was usually the only Asian in my schools so this was quite attractive to me.

    “Of course, I eventually learned the truth about Thanksgiving,” she adds, referencing the diseases and historic genocide that the meetings between native Americans and Europeans ushered in, the wholesale slaughter, cultural decimation, and land theft that would follow.

    When I was still in Hong Kong, I realised that many of my neighbours and friends had never celebrated Thanksgiving. I felt sad for them for being deprived of my favourite holidayCHEF MINA PARK
    Like many modern Americans, especially immigrants, the hard truths about Thanksgiving require some serious reconceptualisation. “I decided Thanksgiving could still be an opportunity to take a moment to be grateful for my friends and family,” says Park. “Cooking for them is my way of showing my gratitude and love.”

    There is a particularly American looseness to Thanksgiving that makes it appealing to people from all backgrounds. Even the traditional menu is ripe for experimentation: as long as you hit the classics of Turkey, stuffing, cranberry and pie, you’re free to go nuts. Kimchi stuffing, turkey mole enchiladas, pumpkin sticky rice – there are no wrong answers.

    Park, who only recently moved to Los Angeles from Hong Kong, found herself in the position of a kind of Thanksgiving missionary when she lived in Asia. She did not want to stop celebrating just because she wasn’t in America and was eager to spread the gospel of the season.

    “When I was still in Hong Kong, I realised that many of my neighbours and friends had never celebrated Thanksgiving. I felt sad for them for being deprived of my favourite holiday,” she says.

    Park quickly discovered that the appeal of Thanksgiving was truly global. “I hosted a neighbourhood Thanksgiving party where I cooked all of the traditional dishes. Many of my friends brought over dishes as well, and of course wine.

    The party became a tradition, especially for my neighbourhood in Hong Kong, and then grew beyond just my neighbours. Two years ago, I think I had about 200 friends celebrate at my place. Last year, I kept it more intimate and strictly to neighbours, so we were only about 80. To me, that seemed small.”

    Fundamentally, Thanksgiving celebrates one of humanity’s true unifying tenants: a love of eating good food. This is a value that Asian-Americans justly regard as a birthright, and is perhaps part of the reason why Thanksgiving has developed into such a platform for celebrating Asian-American culture and identity in all its complicated hues.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  2. #197
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    Continued from previous post



    Roast turkey is the traditional fare at Thanksgiving in the US. Photo: Alamy

    This year, celebrity chef David Chang dedicated an episode of his critically acclaimed TV food series, Ugly Delicious, to preparing a kind of gourmet fusion Thanksgiving dinner for his family at his mother’s house. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times food section ran a personal essay by chef Yang Soon of critics’ darling Lukshon, titled “I gave up on turkey at Thanksgiving and built an American melting-pot meal instead.”

    [Next year] I’ll make my Thanksgiving standby – white truffle macaroni and cheese, and probably pumpkin pie. And of course, I’ll bring kimchiCHEF MINA PARK
    Over the last few years, cherished Asian-American traditions such as next-day turkey dumplings and leftover turkey congee have proliferated on food blogs and in hipster kitchens all over the country.

    A note about Thanksgiving leftovers for non-American readers: Thanksgiving is in a way like a mirror image of Christmas. While for many people the proper Christmas celebrations take place the night before on Christmas Eve, what many Americans think of most fondly when they think of Thanksgiving is the day after, when amateur chefs are given a fridge full of leftovers and free reign to indulge their imaginations to create and gorge.

    For food folk, it is a day for culinary envelope-pushing that sees everything from turkey and gravy croquets, stuffing waffles, and cranberry granita, interspersed with lots of leftover wine, and what are, without doubt, the best sandwiches of the year.

    Of course, there are many Americans, many of them recent immigrants, who aren’t able to celebrate Thanksgiving at all. Especially for people working in the food and hospitality industries, that third Thursday of November is first and foremost a work day.

    For Wilson Tang, the restaurateur and owner of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York City, that is certainly the case.

    “My parents are first-generation immigrants. Thanksgiving was never big in our household,” he says. “Since I oversee a restaurant group, it’s a bit difficult to do anything for Thanksgiving per se, as we are working that long weekend. We do take the time to host a Thanksgiving dinner for our staff a few days prior, so that we can spend time together and be grateful for one another and the hard work put in to serve guests.”

    Still, Tang says he doesn’t really mind working over the holiday. “Seeing people come in and celebrate with families is certainly something we love.”


    Wilson Tang is the restaurateur and owner of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York City.

    For Tang, Thanksgiving is something of a double holiday, coming as it does just before his 40th birthday this year. He says he hopes some of the holiday goodwill will carry over for people wanting to celebrate his personal milestone.

    “My birthday is right after Thanksgiving, but since I’ve been working in the restaurant business the last few years, I haven’t had time to properly celebrate. This year, I’m turning 40 and finally hosting a birthday party; I’m asking friends to not give me a gift, but rather, donate to the Museum of Chinese in America,” he says.

    As for Park, this year she finds herself celebrating in a new city. Ironically, given now that she is in America, her Thanksgiving plans have downsized considerably.

    “Now that I’ve moved to Los Angeles I sadly can’t host my annual Thanksgiving party in Hong Kong … By next year, I will be ready to throw a big Thanksgiving dinner again,” she says.

    She already knows what she is going to bring. “I’ll make my Thanksgiving standby – white truffle macaroni and cheese, and probably pumpkin pie. And of course, I’ll bring kimchi.”
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    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #198
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    ttt 4 2019

    First an ad:


    BLACK FRIDAY SALE!


    Up to 25% OFF with these BLACK FRIDAY DISCOUNT CODES!

    Next, an obliquely related interview:

    Freddie Prinze Jr. Has a Plan If People Start Talking Politics During Thanksgiving Dinner

    Plus, he shares why he doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.
    By Eva Fedderly Nov 26, 2019 @ 5:00 pm


    VINCENT SANDOVAL/GETTY IMAGES

    Freddie Prinze Jr. may be best known as an actor, starring in hits such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and She’s All That. But when it comes to the holidays, he happens to be quite the professional host, too. His latest gig was particularly well-suited to his interests: Prinze Jr worked the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line on Nov. 14, where he took calls from people across America, answering questions as they prepared for Thanksgiving.

    “Growing up in L.A. and being an actor, we started a tradition called Stragglers Thanksgiving,” he revealed to InStyle over the phone afterward. “We’d get together — people who didn’t have the money to get home, or who were the outcasts of their families. It was a chance to bring people together who didn’t have any other place to go.”

    This year, the actor-turned-gamer brought people together in a different way, even giving advice on how to handle a family feud about Star Wars at the dinner table.

    Prinze Jr. said that for Thanksgiving 2019, he and his wife of 17 years, Sarah Michelle Gellar, along with their two children, Charlotte, 10, and Rocky, 7, have a full feast planned. He also spoke with us about why he never makes New Year’s resolutions, and why he loves living in LA.


    PHOTOGRAPH: JACLYN RIVAS

    What’s on your agenda for Thanksgiving this year?

    We’re having a big Thanksgiving this year and hosting 18 people — some may drop in or drop out. I’m cooking, because I cook every year. It’s a great opportunity to bring people together from different parts of the country.

    Knowing you love gaming and Star Wars, will these be topics of conversation at your Thanksgiving table?

    No, and we don’t talk politics or religion. But some of the older people at the table might. If they start talking politics, I’ll either turn on a football game or go outside and play with the kids. I don’t like any politicians.

    Do you always celebrate Thanksgiving at home?

    Yes. I love California. It’s like that old computer game, The Oregon Trail — everyone goes out west and they never go back. It’s fantastic out here, from Mexico up to Oregon. The people are chill and the food is great.

    With the new year coming up, are you thinking about resolutions for 2020?

    I’ve never believed in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always felt, why would you wait for the New Year? I’m not a traditionalist; I like to do things my own way. I was raised by a bunch of serious martial artists. Martial arts are the physical expression of what we love and hate about ourselves and are too afraid to see it. If there’s something that needs to get done, even if I fail ten times, that’s okay — I’m just not going to fail the same way twice. Plus, a [New Year’s] resolution gets you stuck in a gym membership that you can’t get out of.

    Do you have any new movies you’d like to do next year or any films you want to reboot?

    I did Scooby-Doo, which some would say is a reboot. But I’m now more of a gamer; I play video games and board games.

    What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

    The new Harry Potter tabletop RPG, Cyberpunk 2077 featuring Keanu Reaves as the video game lead, and the tabletop Cyberpunk Red.
    Next, my annual TV rec:
    Way of the Turkey Marathon on EL REY

    And lastly, our best wishes that everyone here has a safe and pleasant T-day. Thank YOU for your support of our forum here.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #199
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    Hmm, we missed last year?

    First, that ad again. Support MartialArtSmart and you support this forum.



    I'm not that into T-day, truth be told. Some of my best friends are Native Americans so we don't celebrate. Plus I'm pescatarian so turkey isn't a big thing. I don't feel like I'm missing much for 2020, the year of sheltering.

    I am bummed that El Rey Network isn't running it's Way of the Turkey Kung Fu movie marathon this year. They are running the Man at Arms: Art of War - Weapons of Kung Fu episode at 10AM & 4 PM PST. Maybe I'll re-watch that.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #200
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    I take that back

    Looks like El Rey Network's Way of the Turkey is on!

    I checked the schedule this morning when I posted above and it was totally different.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #201
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Looks like El Rey Network's Way of the Turkey is on!

    I checked the schedule this morning when I posted above and it was totally different.
    So bad that I didn't even greet anyone here having their thanksgiving party. I was currently busy at that time. Belated Happy Thanksgiving to all! (cringe*)

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