Ahead of Thanksgiving, The Guardian thoughtfully provided a recipe swap, with people of different cultural ethnicities sharing dishes that could slot right into the traditional holiday meal. So there was Sichuan dry-fried green beans, Gratin dauphinoise with sweet potato and pink turnips, Leeks in olive oil (from the Middle East), Cellophane noodles with crab, Murg Musallam, Sweet potato latkes with celeriac root and apple, Persian stuffed eggplant, Roasted butternut squash with Asian tahini and West African jollof rice. Pudding is Thai steamed pumpkin custard, Hungarian sour cherry strudel and Dulce de leche cheesecake brownies. The idea was to swap “an established dish in favour of something from their own cultural background,” something that most people with hyphenated identities do automatically.
Ayesha Kazmi, a Pakistani –American wrote some years ago, in an evocative piece headlined ‘As Muslim American as apple pie’ about the “biryani that sits next to the 22lb turkey every year at my family’s crazy thanksgiving dinners”.
I have Anglo-Indian friends (the real sort – ie Anglo-Saxon with some Indian blood) who grew up in India and rejoice in a Christmas curry every year. The mix-and-match made for a Merry Christmas.