How Latinos celebrate Thanksgiving

Estela Santillanes, who came from Mexico 32 years ago, celebrates both Thanksgiving and her daughter Esmeralda’s birthday at the same time. She marinates the turkey with wine, garlic and seasoning to add more flavor. She prepares the stuffing with ground beef, chopped onions, celery and two cloves of chopped garlic. Her daughters help out by making the mashed potatoes. For dessert, she has pumpkin pie ice cream and a birthday cake. “My mom passed away few years ago, and being the only girl from the family living here in Chicago, I feel that it is me who brings the family together and we enjoy our delicious turkey every year,” said Santillanes.

Fatima Olvera who is a first generation Mexican is going to celebrate Thanksgiving the “traditional” American way, but with an extra flavor added to it – picadillo stuffing. “My father will not eat any other stuffing but picadillo,” she says with a smile. In addition, her family will have dinner twice – once at noon and once in the evening, so that her grandkids can see how the turkey is being prepared and cooked.

Fiorella Reto who comes from Peru celebrates Thanksgiving the Peruvian way – with lots of traditional Peruvian food and at least three course meals on the table. Some of the “must have” dishes on her table are huancaina, panettone, mazamorra, and even salsa rusa. In addition to the turkey, she also cooks chicken and pork. “We always have salsa rusa on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We never celebrate without it,” said Reto.

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This post is also available in: Spanish

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