In the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the 4th Thursday of November. Every so often, my birthday falls on the same day, as it does in 2019. Unlike Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines, my family is never the only family in the neighborhood celebrating the day by eating turkey.
The turkeys available in the grocery stores of Olongapo always look a bit anemic and undersized. Not so here in Hawaii. I was surprised at how many large turkeys were available at the Schofield Barracks Commissary. We wanted a ham as well this year, so we couldn’t afford to get too big a turkey. The turkey was around $30.00 and the ham was around $30.00. We had to save enough to pay for all the side dishes.
Unlike many Americans, I’ve seen live turkeys being raised for food. I was intensely amused the first time I saw a male turkey strut. That particular turkey seemed to be strutting all the time.
I’m not going to get into the specifics regarding various ethnic groups. It would be an incredible waste of time and space. Suffice it to say that the main dish and the side dishes can be different based on ethnicities and alternate traditions. The turkey might be replaced by a duck or a pheasant, for example, because any large bird will do. I’ve known families who only use hams as their centerpieces.
Every time my wife, Josie, and I celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we try to emulate the dinners as my mother and older sisters (and sisters-in-law) prepared them. Unfortunately, we don’t have strong enough desires to follow through on some of the dishes.
We’ll have some traditional dishes as well as some nontraditional dishes. After all, my daughter-in-law (Cathy) is Filipino as well. Instead of candied yams, we’ll be having kamote kyu (camote cue), but probably without the sticks. We’ll be having fruit salad the way it’s made in the Philippines instead of the way my mother always made it. It’s much sweeter because of the sweetened, condensed milk (I’ll probably avoid it).
Instead of potato salad, we’ll be having mashed potatoes. The choice was a unanimous decision. We’ll be using giblets as a gravy for everything they can go on top of, including the mashed potatoes. We’ll have greens, of course, which include a salad and green beans. We decided to forego the baked beans with bacon and the lumpia because we’ll already have more than enough meat (a turkey and a ham) on the table.
We already have three pies of pumpkin, apple and sweet potato. We won’t have any pudding or cake this time around, unless someone else brings it. Anyway, I’m sure I’ve left something out.
Although Cathy invited more than three families for the Thanksgiving Day dinner (which will be in the early afternoon), only one couple is confirmed. Although Jon invited some Army soldiers that he works with, none of them are confirmed.
We may end up having more leftovers than we may have room for, even with both a refrigerator and a separate freezer. I have no problem with eating turkey and ham sandwiches for days, but storing the meat could be a challenge. I hope most of the side dishes and main dishes get eaten, so we won’t have to worry about it.