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Staff Editorial: Please pass the memories

Top row, left to right: 2. Vegan mac and Cheese 9. Stuffing 6. Pupusas 6. Tamales. Middle row, left to right: 2. candied yams 5. Pumpkin pie 10. Casserole 5. Red date soup. Bottom row, left to right: 1. Turkey 3. Mashed potatoes 8. Chilaquiles 4. Choereg

For this issue, we have compiled bite-sized reflections on what the holidays look and feel like for some of us at the Campanil. These excerpts were summarized and retrieved from direct responses and interviews. The food illustrated matches the corresponding story numbers: 1. Turkey 2. (Vegan) mac and cheese 2. Candied yams 3. Mashed potatoes 4. Choereg 5. Red date wood ear soup 5. Pumpkin pie 6. Pupusas 6. Tamales 7. Cranberry sauce 8. Chilaquiles 9. Stuffing 10. Casseroles.

  1. I have been vegan for the last three years and vegetarian since I was 12, though growing up I had traditional holiday meals, like turkey—a dish that was my favorite. I still have just as much fun preparing for the holidays as I did when I was younger! 
  2. I went vegan three years ago, so the holidays have been really different for me. My family has been supportive and have been phasing out certain ingredients in recipes where you don’t need to use dairy or meat, like vegan mac and cheese, or candied yams.
  3. Since I’ve been away from home for Thanksgiving, the way that I observe the holiday has become a friendsgiving. I don’t celebrate the holiday on the basis of its colonial roots, but rather use it as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and loved ones since everyone gets so busy around this time of year.
  4. I am mixed, and for the longest time I was ashamed about being Armenian because people didn’t know about the culture, or where Armenia was and it felt very isolating. This has changed since I’ve gotten older, and after recently visiting, I’ve been embracing my heritage by making Choereg (or cheese triangles) for friends. I see Thanksgiving as a way to share culture through food.
  5. I come from a mixed racial background, so Thanksgivings are weird, but we take them pretty seriously. When my great grandparents were still alive we’d have a mix of southern food along with my mom’s traditional Chinese food. One of my favorite dishes is a soup that has chicken instead of pork, red dates, wood ear mushrooms, ginger and salt. Whenever I eat red dates I just think about my mom.
  6. My brother and I have had to navigate having mixed holiday celebrations. Thanksgiving with my dad, his new wife and her family is a very American traditional experience. Most of my family is from El Salvador, so during the holiday we celebrate by making pupusas and tamales. The little cousins help get all the ingredients and make the masa, and we have fun spending time and cooking together. 
  7. Growing up, my mom and I generally got up early on Thanksgiving morning to make turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. (The only one of those things that I liked was the cranberry sauce, which was one of my favorite foods.) However, most of these foods and traditions no longer apply since my parents’ divorce. I will not be traveling home for Thanksgiving this year since my home state is too far away but I’ll be happy with any Thanksgiving plans as long as I get my cranberry sauce. 
  8. My family and I would visit tías and tíos and have turkey coupled with other various Mexican dishes: pozole, red rice and frijoles de la olla, and tamales made from scratch. Recently, I’ve started celebrating friendsgiving with folks who also stay on campus for break. We spend the evening cooking and later enjoying the meal together. I make chilaquiles and it’s a fun way to remember my family while celebrating with friends. 
  9. When I was growing up, there was not really a set tradition—as long as I was with people close to me, all was well. Plane tickets were too expensive for me to visit home this year, but luckily, I’ll be celebrating with my grandma and her neighbors. I just see this holiday as a time to be with family, and with my family in particular, that usually involves lots of laughter and stories.
  10. As a child I was a very picky eater, so holiday dinners were always difficult for me. I would often eat simplified or alternative dishes. Being a vegetarian on this turkey-centered holiday is also interesting, but hasn’t been a huge issue. While I have warm associations of family during Thanksgiving, I also can’t separate the colonialist ideas that underlie its history and undermine the unjust and cruel treatment of Native Americans.