Thanksgiving Around the World: Cultural Dishes to be thankful for

We all are probably familiar with the staples of the usual “American” Thanksgiving: roasted turkey, cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes… and too many more to name!

pumpkin-rolls

Like these pumpkin dinner rolls I made last year!

Thanksgiving might be considered a uniquely American tradition, as American as apple (or pumpkin!) pie. However, individuals and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds have invented their own twists on the traditional Thanksgiving dishes — and that is surely something to be thankful for! Here are just a few examples of culturally various Thanksgiving food traditions.

German

In some parts of rural Germany, the locals actually hold their own harvest festival called Erntedankfesttraditionally celebrated on the first Sunday of October with fairs, parades, and a feast of Goose and autumn vegetables. Here in the United States, German families may celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving meal with accompaniments like braised red cabbage.

german-braised-red-cabbage-ericasrecipes-3

Italian

Traditional and delicious Italian accompaniments to the Thanksgiving meal include the antipasto platter, an assortment of deli meats, vegetables, and sometimes cheese and bread depending on the region. There is a variety of ways to mix up this appetizer, with a few examples here and here!entwine, May 2011

Korean

Like Germany, Korea also celebrates its own harvest festival, known as Chuseok. It is similarly celebrated by eating special foods, including a signature dish called Songpyeon (pictured below), rice cakes filled with beans, sesame seeds, or other fillings and steamed over pine needles. In the U.S., Korean families may also spice up Thanksgiving dishes with

songpyeon

Puerto Rican

While a United States territory, Puerto Rico maintains its own unique culture, and likewise its own unique foods. The turkey is still the centerpiece of a Puerto Rican Thanksgiving, but rather than the usual stuffing it is filled with mofongo, fried plantains mashed with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients.

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If you and your family have any unique food traditions on Thanksgiving, feel free to share them in the comments!

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