“Thanksgiving Traditions”

Gerad is presently a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, but he grew up in Tujunga, California. His mother is African-American and grew up in Augusta, Georgia and his father is Caucasian and grew up in upstate New York.

Ever since he was a young boy, Gerad recalls his family celebrating Thanksgiving in the same manner every year. Each year over Thanksgiving break, Gerad and his family travel to Mammoth Mountain in California. All of the members of his family who live in California join them at a ski resort in Mammoth. The family goes to Mammoth for four days, where they spend three days skiing and one- day enjoying Thanksgiving Day food and fellowship. On Thanksgiving Day, the family spends hours preparing home-cooked dishes that reflect their Southern heritage. The menu for Thanksgiving dinner includes a variety of greens, turkey, ham, cornbread, macaroni, ribs, and crispy hot wings prepared by his aunt. The meal incorporates both the tastes of the family as well as reflects the Southern background of the family, where many of the recipes for these dishes were first collected.  After the meal is cooked, the head of the family (who is always considered to be the eldest male figure in the lineage that is present) prays for the family giving thanks for the past year in addition to blessing the food.

Gerad believes that this tradition successfully unites the family and allows for recognition of his own cultural heritage, in particular in the antiquated recipes of his mother’s family from their years spent in the Southeastern United States.

Personally, it seems that this tradition is a fairly common practice in the society of the United States of America. However, it is interesting that Gerad’s family brings together a sort of potpourri of folk recipes in their preparation of Thanksgiving dinner.  In addition, the fact that the eldest male of the family is always responsible for the prayer and blessing of the meal seems to prove that this family has a history of patriarchal structuring.