I just returned from another annual Thanksgiving feast with the immigrant class (here is the post from last year with photos). The Mexican and Guatemalan women gather in the big kitchen and whip up a feast—tamales, tostadas, fried steak (milanessa), homemade tortillas and enchiladas, which is actually a salad made with lettuce and ham and tomatoes.
Juana made 60 tamales—she mixes maseca flour with water to make the filling, stuffs the flour mixtures with seasoned chicken, and wraps the whole thing with a banana leaf that has been soaking in water. She wraps each tamale in foil, and then she steams them all in a big pot. It's a staple on a Latin plate and understandably so.
There was no room in the kitchen for me to even watch, so I sat out in the big room with the American students in the GED program, the ones who don't eat no Mexican food. They contributed the traditional American Thanksgiving dishes and the desserts because the Latin students aren't fond of desserts, at least not the ultra-sugary ones Americans seem to crave.
I shared a table with some educators and a county commissioner, and I think I've got the commissioner talked into spending a morning observing one of the classes. He seemed like a good guy who really wanted to know more about the program.
So, now that I've had my Latin Thanksgiving, we're off to Illinois to have an American one. Happy Thanksgiving to all of blogville.