This weekend was all about giving thanks, feeling gratitude and sharing food with friends and family. Thanksgiving is often stereotyped as a day when Americans stuff themselves fuller than the turkey they are serving, and pass out on the couch while watching a healthy dose of football and other sports entertainment programming on TV. That may be true for the average American, but when your roots lie deep in Russian culture, Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning – affectionately known in our family as “RusGiving” or Russian Thanksgiving. Family and food are the name of the game, and no one is allowed to forget where they came from.
Preparing for a Russian Thanksgiving this year was a bit of a challenge — several things had to be considered now that two families are blending into one, yet still striving to preserve our unique traditions. Thanksgiving day was to be spent at the in-laws and I was expected to bring two side dishes. The day after, A. and I hosted another dinner at our home for both sets of parents, siblings and their families — twelve people in all coming together to celebrate and get to know each other.
More than anything, this Thanksgiving weekend was about gratitude for what A. and I found in each other, and the family we are building together. But it was also about the food … Russian American food to be precise.
At the risk of coming off too “Americanized” I had to find a balance between my Russian recipes and standard American Thanksgiving fare. We had the turkey with all the trimmings on Thursday, and then dug into a mouthwatering brisket that A. prepared on Friday. Here’s a sampling of our Friday night dinner menu …
Everyone loves Thanksgiving because it’s a time of year to appreciate your family and enjoy delicious food. For immigrants like me this holiday is particularly touching … it is a time to remember how fortunate I am to be in the land of the free. It also often means figuring out a way to incorporate our unique cultural cuisine with the delicious offerings of a traditional American Thanksgiving meal.
From our family to yours — Happy Holidays and Happy Thanksgiving!