November 22, 2012
FROM THE THANKSGIVING ARCHIVES: THE ASSIMILATIVE POWER OF RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE:
Turkey Is Basic, but Immigrants Add Their Homeland Touches (KIM SEVERSON, 11/25/04, NY Times)
For all those struggling to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table, consider the plight of Yaser Baker, a restaurateur in this city's Arabic shopping district.
First Mr. Baker had to find a turkey that was slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law, a challenge because some local halal butchers decided not to sell turkeys this year. Then he had to adapt the traditional American recipe to Arabic tastes, which meant bathing it in lemon and olive oil and stuffing it with rice, beef and pine nuts.
Finally he had to brace for reaction from his Muslim neighbors, some of whom are either too devout or too upset about the war in Iraq even to acknowledge Thanksgiving.
But for Mr. Baker, Thanksgiving is all about the bird.
"Believe me, I don't look at it as an American holiday or a holiday that is not for Muslims," said Mr. Baker, a Palestinian and naturalized American who has been in the United States for 24 years. "I live in America. You tell me to eat turkey, I'm going to eat turkey."
The desire to celebrate Thanksgiving was so strong for Leticia Maravilla, a Mexican immigrant, that she roasted her first turkey before she had her green card, struggling through a newspaper recipe in English.
"I wanted to do it the same way Americans did it," she said, speaking from Los Angeles though an interpreter.
Suffice it to say, there is no "Dutch way."
(originally posted: November 25, 2004)
Posted by oj at November 22, 2012 12:03 AM