Thanksgiving Recipes and Reflections


Nestled beside turkey, stuffing, and mounds of mashed potatoes at every one of my family’s Thanksgiving dinners is the most important dish in the spread: kimchi. In addition to its function as the sole source of spice, acid, and crunch in a meal that otherwise shares the textural variety of baby food, kimchi has become a symbol of my multiculturalism. Regardless of whether I spend Thanksgiving with my Korean grandparents or my white ones, kimchi remains a center piece of our feast, reminding me of my family’s history in this country, and how that history lives within me today. That’s the significance of Thanksgiving to me — a meal to enjoy with my family, a time to shape my own definition of what it means to be American.
But each Lakesider has a different relationship to the United States and Thanksgiving. To provide a small cross section of the many meanings of Thanksgiving, here are the traditions (and lack thereof) of three Lakesiders.


Gabby S. ’23
After a brief prayer, the festivities begin. Amidst the buzz of bachata music and chatter in Spanish, Gabby and her family feast on panes con pollo every Thanksgiving. The El Salvadorian chicken sandwich is accompanied by flan and tamales. Her parents, who immigrated from El Salvador and Guatemala respectively in their late teens, came to the United States with no tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving. But Gabby’s parents quickly imparted their own significance on the holiday, making it a day to spend cooking with family, while thinking of their loved ones still in Central America — an “excuse to really be grateful.” While Gabby notes that Thanksgiving helps her family to assimilate into American culture, for her, a native-born American, the holiday serves a more important purpose: “It doesn’t really connect me that strongly to America, I would say, but I think it really helps me connect to Guatemala and El Salvador.” For her, the holiday is not about the United States or any of the historical baggage that comes with it; Thanksgiving is their own creation, a day for family and heritage.


Panes con Pollo (courtesy of Gabby S. ’23 and her family)

  • Garlic cloves
  • Red onions
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Chicken legs (bone and skin on)
  • Mustard
  • Salsa Inglesa
  • Consommé powder (chicken flavored)
  • Salsa recaudo

Experiment with quantities of ingredients according to taste.


  • Shredded cabbage
  • Shredded carrots
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced radish
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Panes frances
  • Salt to taste


  1. Bring the chicken legs to a boil and add in the garlic, onion, bay leaves, and salt
  2. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked (Optional: fry the chicken legs until crispy and brown)
  3. Strain chicken and save the liquid for the salsa recaudo
  4. Mix mustard, salsa inglesa, and consommé powder and rub into the chicken
  5. Debone the chicken once it is cooled
  6. Boil cabbage and carrots in salted water for 4-5 minutes
  7. Strain and add mustard and mayonnaise (to taste) into the veggie mixture
  8. Slice your pan frances and spread mustard and mayonnaise as you prefer
  9. Add veggie mixture, deboned chicken, and sliced cucumbers, radishes, and tomatoes into your sliced pan frances.
  10. Pour your salsa recaudo into the panes.

Buen Provecho!


Avery K. ’23
Unlike Gabby, Avery views Thanksgiving as inseparable from its origins of Native American genocide. While she goes to her white grandparents’ house for dinner every year, the day takes a somber tone for Avery, one of mourning and remembrance of her Native Hawaiian ancestors on her father’s side, who were brutally colonized by the United States. “I like the idea of it — people coming together and giving thanks — but I just know that wasn’t originally intended to be that,” she says. In elementary school, she remembers being assigned to portray Sacajawea in projects glorifying white expansion into Native land and drawing pictures of Columbus for activities — the harmful mythology of Thanksgiving penetrates even supposedly safe spaces, she says.
For Avery and many other Native Americans, Thanksgiving is one of a few days of mourning, specific to each tribe (for the Kanaka Maoli, Avery’s tribe, theirs is the day Kauai was annexed). But Avery notes issues with Native Americans being recognized by Americans only for a history of pain and oppression: “There are never really times to come together and have it be just be Native Hawaiians outside of mourning or sadness, which is kind of messed up.” There is joy in Avery’s community as well: around the time of Thanksgiving, they celebrate Makahiki, a holiday for the harvest, where they play Hawaiian games and enjoy platters of poi and laulau. Avery opted to not share a recipe out of concern of cultural appropriation — especially within the framework of Thanksgiving traditions.


Yazzy M. ’23
Because her family is so busy, rarely being able to have meals all together, Yazzy sees Thanksgiving as a time to connect with her loved ones and her roots through food. Everyone in her family spends the day cooking and contributes a dish to the feast: mac and cheese, corned beef, and, as a new addition this year, African food. Malva, South African apricot pudding, made its way onto Yazzy’s family table during the pandemic, when her dad took an even stronger interest in connecting with their family’s African American roots. “That’s something that we’re dealing with right now and trying to figure out. My dad has spent a lot of time looking through our family trees,” Yazzy says. Cooking African foods serves as a continual reminder of her heritage, and what more she wants to discover about her family’s history in the United States.


South African Malva Pudding (Used by Yazzy and her family, written by Zuretha R. from


  • 6 1⁄2 ounces sugar (3/4 cup, 200 ml, or 180 g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour (150 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter (a generous tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1⁄3 cup milk


  • 3⁄4 cup fresh cream (200 ml)
  • 3 1⁄2 ounces butter (100 g)
  • 3 -5 ounces sugar (90 – 150 g)
  • 1⁄3 cup hot water (90 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence


  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F/180 deg Celsius. (NOTE: I find my convection/fan oven very hot. I baked the pudding at 170 deg C and had to turn it down to 160 deg C/325 deg F for fear the pudding might burn. You know your oven — Adjust accordingly).
  2. Grease an oven dish. I used a 7 x 7 x 1 1/2 inch Pyrex dish. (18 x 18 x 4 1/2 cm)
  3. Beat or whip the sugar and eggs. It’s quickest in a food processor, or use electric beaters. Beat until thick and lemon coloured, then add the jelly (jam) and mix through.
  4. Melt the butter (don’t boil) and add the butter and vinegar to the wet mixture.
  5. Sieve, or simply mix together: the flour, soda and salt.
  6. Add this mixture with the milk to the egg mixture in the processor or mixing bowl. Beat well.
  7. Pour into an oven-proof dish and bake until pudding is brown and well-risen — depending on your oven and oven dish this will be between 30 – 45 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes this time).
  8. In a pot, melt together the ingredients for the sauce, and stir well.
  9. Pour it over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  10. Leave to stand a while before serving. Serve warm. Because it’s rich it does not really need enhancement, but if you want, serve with vanilla ice cream.