Tamales, pozole, ham, what Mexicans eat in the United States and how they celebrate their interpretation of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to the US However, the US is a country made up of many different cultures and people. When people from other countries come to the United States, they usually bring their traditions, culture, and everything that comes with them: food, drinks, and celebrations, to name a few.

The same is true for Mexicans and second-generation Mexicans now living in the US. While some may not fully embrace the American way of celebrating certain holidays, or holidays in general, either way, they find a way to celebrate their respective versions of certain American traditions. and festivities.

In honor of Thanksgiving, AL DÍA interviewed several Mexican Americans to see how they fared on America’s day of gorging on food.

When you think of Thanksgiving, you usually think of one of many different things, like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, etc.

While some Mexicans now living in the US can do just that, others incorporate or replace that with food, candy, and games from their homeland, incorporating them into their respective celebrations.

For some of the different Mexicans and Mexican Americans AL DÍA spoke to, their respective interpretations of Thanksgiving differed from one another, but were similar.

As for food, tamales were the most common food. It is one of the most traditional and popular foods seen on a Mexican Thanksgiving table. And there are so many different types! Just as there are different wines for different dishes of a meal, tamales have the same rule.

There are Pork Tamales, Green Tamales, Corn Tamales, Sweet Tamales, Mole Tamales, Bean Tamales and many more.

Other foods are Menudo and Pozole, two different types of traditional Mexican soups, which are considered comfort foods. Pozole is also a common sight on Mexican Thanksgiving tables, and there are three different types of pozole you might see: red, white, or green, like the Mexican flag. The only real similarities between Menudo and Pozole are that both soups use dried corn (corn) as the main ingredient.

For pozole, the three types are all different in flavor and get different palettes of flavors. You’ll find pork or chicken slow-cooked in a huge pot. But like any other soup, the broth, along with the corn, is what is put together ahead of time. You can add onion and cilantro (chopped and diced cilantro and onion) and lime to further complement the dish.

Menudo is one of the more traditional dishes you’ll see as well, but each family will prepare it in a different way, so expect some differences depending on the household. Like the pozole, there are two types: red and white.

Both versions use dried maize (maize), but Menudo uses cow tripe; the stomach lining of a cow or pig can also be used. In the broth it is also essential that the lime, onion and coriander are basic. Some people, including me, use toasted buttered pan bolillo (bread). Red Menudo is similar but different chiles are added to it, giving it a different color and flavor.

Several people interviewed by AL DÍA also said that baked ham with pineapple was also on the Thanksgiving table. The only American food that featured on the majority of the Mexican-American Thanksgiving tables of the people AL DÍA spoke to was mashed potatoes.

Another common food item seen is arroz con leche, a rice pudding made with rice mixed with milk and other ingredients, such as cinnamon and vanilla. It is a common desert in Mexico.

For those who live in areas with brutal winters like Philadelphia, Punch can also be served. This is a fun and hot drink that can be made with or without alcohol. Like the aforementioned soups, you’ll find this spicy citrus punch in a huge pot with different kinds of stewed fruit. It is made from water, fresh and dried fruits such as tamarind, prunes, hibiscus, cinnamon and sweetened with piloncillo. You can serve it with or without alcohol, such as brandy or rum.

When it comes to dessert, beyond the aforementioned rice pudding and punch, there is the famous chocoflan. It is a normal custard cake, but made with a caramel topping. It is essentially a flan and baby chocolate tart. You can also see pan dulce (sweet bread) of different types, some with fillings, others with colorful exteriors, and of different sizes and flavors.

Games are also part of the celebration with classics like Lottery, which is a game similar to bingo, except instead of ping-pong balls and numbers, a person reads the names of the pictures on a deck of cards. If you have such an image on your card, place a bean or coin until all the images on your card cover.

To learn even more about the local Mexican traditions of South Philadelphia, AL DÍA spoke with Reyna Guzman Cazares, multidisciplinary artist, host and producer of Talent and Community at Philatinos Radio. She has been a resident of South Philadelphia for over 15 years and gave insight into her respective interpretation of the American holiday, but also a bit of history about what Thanksgiving is to Mexicans in this country and how long before they adjust to it.

She said that for Mexicans like her, it can take a while before they fully adapt to the traditions of the holiday, since the culture of Mexicans is to come to this country and work hard, sometimes two jobs. She mentioned that Mexicans come to this country and understand that Thanksgiving is for those born in the United States and not for them. She added that it could be a couple of years before a Mexican family fully embraces the holiday or puts their own spin on it.

Guzmán Casarez said the adjustment process can be accelerated if Mexican immigrants later have children in the US because of what those children will see in school with their friends and simply adjust to the American culture that surrounds them in general. Parents and families at home will take it and make it their own respective interpretation.

Guzmán Casarez also confirmed some of the foods that are present in these diners. Pozole or menudo is what you normally see on the table according to her, since the cold weather in Philadelphia and elsewhere makes Mexicans want to cook hot and comforting meals.

Regardless of how you want to spend Thanksgiving, or whatever food you eat, the important thing is to spend it with your loved ones (family and friends) and remember to be thankful for all that is good in your life and eat some! of pozole!

There is no real right or wrong when it comes to how to celebrate Thanksgiving. We are a country of many different cultures and traditions and that is what makes this country so special.

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