By: Alyssa Albano
The house smelled delightful as my father basted the turkey in the oven. He’d spent the last two days brining that turkey in our fridge— it’s a wonder that my mother was able to make it fit inside. Sometimes, the way he spoke about that turkey made me think maybe he was too invested in how it turned out. After all, you can’t really have Thanksgiving without any turkey... or so as they say. For some odd reason, Christmas music was blaring through the speakers and it felt almost illegal to have Christmas music playing during Thanksgiving, like the police were going to come knocking on my door shouting, “What the f**k?” when they hear Jingle Bells from down the street. Well, jokes on them, because my Filipino family has been playing Christmas music since September and I’ve already memorized every Christmas song there is. I guess it isn’t too odd at my house after all.
My brother desperately gelled his hair to look right, but he had the same disheveled look as my poorly shaved dog. This year, my dad believed we didn’t need to spend the extra hundred dollars at the groomers and that he could do it himself because it’s “just shaving hair!” How wrong he actually was when our fluffy Shih Tzu came out of his DIY haircut looking like the lost gremlin that didn’t make it past the audition to the Gremlin movie. I was suddenly grateful that we took our Christmas card pictures before his haircut, otherwise all our friends and family would think we had a rat as a pet.
My cousins were arriving any minute now with my entire extended family. It was a potluck so no one was burdened with catering for an entire family of fifteen, but it was always a confusing potluck. My father always cooked the Thanksgiving turkey, and this year he’s added on his homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. My grandmother, on the other hand, has decided to bring traditional Filipino food like Palabok, Lumpia, Leche Flan, which in some twisted way, is like Filipinos taking over an American holiday which is about Americans taking over land that isn’t theirs. So, it all checks out in my mind. Now that I think about it, why does anyone celebrate this holiday? My palate, however, was very confused. My aunt brought Spanish chicken, yellow rice, and Pernil, which made the dinner even more confusing. As everyone ate their food, the younger cousins clinked their glasses together, pretending their apple cider was champagne. I was seated at the kid’s table, listening in on all the family gossip from a distance.
Looking down at my plate I made no complaints despite the odd mixture of different cuisines. As far as I was concerned, I did absolutely no cooking and everything was delicious.