New take on turkey

Cindy Liu and Catherine Liu

It’s nearly Thanksgiving Day, but for some Diamond Bar High School Brahmas, that doesn’t mean sitting down and enjoying a traditional turkey and mashed potato meal.

Instead, freshman Annum Hashmi’s family have their tables filled with plates of homemade dumplings, fish soup and Pakistani mixed rice— dishes that all have a taste distinctly different from the typical American feast.  

On the other spectrum of Thanksgiving foods, Hashmi eats traditional foods from her Pakistani culture such as “biryani,” a Pakistani mixed rice dish, “kafta,” a meatball style dish in curry and “nihari,”a slow cooked stew of mainly beef. On Thanksgiving Day, she is in the kitchen preparing the food with her mother. It’s a time consuming process but it’s well worth it in the end, she said.

“Everyone’s different. Everyone eats different things,” Hashmi said. “As a Pakistanian family, we eat different things and it just brings our family together.”

Elyssa Rodriguez is another of the students who do not eat the typical Thanksgiving dinner. Her family eats ham and tamales as part of their Guatemalan family tradition. Waking up early in the morning, Rodriguez and her family hand make the tamales, using chicken and pork as stuffing, along with preparing the ham and other side dishes.

“My family does it because Thanksgiving is about being thankful, and we make it all together to be thankful for family,” Rodriguez said.

The party is hosted by her family while her aunts and uncles visit, bringing other dishes prepared for the party. One dessert that Rodriquez really enjoys is the champurrado, or Mexican hot chocolate, that her aunt makes from scratch.

“It’s like the beginning of the holiday season. She makes it for Thanksgiving, for Christmas and then we will also have some for New Year’s,” she said.

Meanwhile, sophomore Ian Ejan enjoys exploring other culture’s cuisine during the holiday season. Though he’s Filipino, Ejan said that Korean barbecue brings the family together instead of turkey. All of his close family members meet up at a relative’s house and celebrate there.

With many mouths to feed, the kitchen is a bustling area where his family cooks while other relatives bring other dishes to share, such as orange chicken, steamed rice, chow mein, wonton soup and pasta. Ejan prefers the untraditional meals during the holiday to the traditional turkey meals.

“[Thanksgiving] is all about gathering around loved ones, enjoying the food that you more likely grew up eating and have a good time,” Ejan said.