This is what tradition looks like

In the last post I mentioned how someone asked me if my family does a “traditional Thanksgiving”, and coded in that question is the normalization of Anglo-American traditions. My family’s Thanksgiving feels pretty traditional American to me, even though we don’t have turkey or cranberry sauce, and we eat more rice than mashed potatoes.

So here’s another peek at what tradition can look like: the revived day-after-Thanksgiving leftover party at my friend’s house! We’ve been doing this for years, except for last year when my friend betrayed us all by spending Thanksgiving on the East Coast. Well, the West Coast won and she’s moved back so that damn well better be the last time we miss this tradition (I’m looking meaningfully at you, friend!)

My friend is Taiwanese and her mom, who provided almost the entire feast below, is an AMAZING cook. The stars of this tradition:

  • Sticky rice turkey stuffing: if you’ve ever had this, do you not agree that it’s GREAT?
  • Duck noodle soup
  • Rice porridge cooked in homemade turkey stock garnished with leftover turkey meat: so much umami how do they do it!
  • Taiwanese ham salad (this isn’t actually called that. Hopefully my friend will volunteer the actual transliterated names in the comments section, hint hint.)
  • PIES! So many many pies, varies each year. My sister brought over her homemade pies from Thanksgiving. I usually bring a pie from House of Pies but didn’t this year because I was told there would be plenty. Plus a┬áhomemade coffee cheesecake brought by another attendee of this tradition. It looked so professional and tasted so amazing that we all teased her that she bought it from a bakery and paid extra for them to put it in an unmarked cake box.
  • Sliced oranges (very Taiwanese after-dinner item)
  • And of course, ROCK BAND! (courtesy of another friend and her roadie boyfriend, who does the quickest drum setup I’ve seen)

This year we also had cheese biscuits (leftovers from my family’s Thanksgiving) and Costco holiday cookies (so good, and it turns out that my friend likes the exact ones that I don’t! The synergy, it is too awesome).

To the usual suspects who were missing this year, hope this serves as a lure for your appearance next year. You were missed!

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2 Comments to “This is what tradition looks like”

  1. You can name names. I’m that friend who so callously left that ONE TIME after making it back 7 out of 8 years, which I still think is quite the feat, and shows my dedication.

    Also, correction: My mom was the chef, but this year, I ended up being the hands while she was the mastermind and directed me. So she’s the chef, but I was the sous-chef (SOUS chef, GET IT?!) who did all the chopping, mixing, and stirring. I felt pretty proud that I did a lot of the heavy lifting, up to and including the 24.2 lbs (we weighed it pre-oven, post-stuffing) turkey.

    The ham salad is just known in my house as Chinese style salad. My mom tried to make rename it Japanese style salad, because we used Kewpie mayonnaise. For a while, we couldn’t find it in the usual Chinese markets, and my mom was like, “Oh, let’s just use regular mayonnaise instead.” I threw a fit and demanded that we hit up 2 more markets for the correct mayonnaise. You’re welcome.

    At some point, I was anatomically dissecting the turkey and duck carcasses to make the turkey porridge and the duck noodle soup, respectively, and my mother looked over and remarked, “So, all that tuition for medical school, and this is what you have to show for it.” Indeed.

    Day After Thanksgiving is just as much of a tradition as regular Thanksgiving. It’s the family you make, after the family you were born to. (Awwwww.)

  2. That looks like a fantastic tradition!

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