Breaking bread and sharing food amongst family, friends, and chosen family is something I will forever cherish — a sentiment that is only highlighted around a Thanksgiving meal.
I grew up loving the Thanksgiving holiday as a kid — based solely on the idea of family gathering together to share food. I wasn’t taught the reality of the holiday in grade school – that for many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is actually a day of mourning and protest since it commemorates the arrival of settlers in North America and the centuries of oppression and genocide that followed.
When I cook on Thanksgiving Day now as an adult, it’s about conjuring up childhood food memories that connect me to people in my life that have passed but whose spirits still influence me so greatly in the kitchen. I see my grandmother once again when I’m pulling the turkey out of the oven, I can hear the silverware being set on the table, and when the tin foil gets lifted off the turkey; I can smell the stuffing that reminds me of my dad — who always proudly based the turkey.
I have always loved sharing food. I’ve considered cooking my first artistic gift. So, I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of Mama G’s Thanksgiving Street Dinner. which is being held today, November 20th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. this afternoon. This non-profit addresses hunger by sharing food and hope by bringing resources donated by community members directly to the people who need it most.
Founded in 2009, Mama G’s is a growing group of committed volunteers who have served thousands of people a warm, nutritious meal in the heart of the Tenderloin.
I get great joy out of making cranberry sauce for their annual dinner.
Juanita MORE! preparing Cranberry Brandy Sauce in her Tiny Tenderloin kitchen.
Juanita MORE! is a denizen of the limelight. For almost three decades, the laudable hostess has blitzed San Francisco with high glamour, drag irreverence, and danceable beats that have illuminated the entire city. MORE! continues to be a heaping dollop of generosity and a sprinkle of nerve. She inspires those around her to make positive differences in their lives and communities — and doing it all with timeless elegance and an innovative spirit. Most recently, after her reign, Miss MORE! holds the title of Absolute Empress 56 of the Imperial Council of San Francisco –– one of the oldest non-profit organizations globally.
To date, MORE! has helped raise over 1 million dollars for local charities — among them GBLT Historical Society & Archives, Our Trans Youth, Q Foundation, Queer Lifespace, Transgender Law Center, and more. In addition, MORE! tirelessly fundraises for organizations in San Francisco that are adamant about helping communities in the seven-by-seven thrive, all while shining light and offering support to those who’ve been overlooked for far too long.
MORE! embodies what it means to be a conduit of connection. MORE!’ brings the people together to fundraise, celebrate community, and demand social change around San Francisco and elsewhere. Her culinary expressions are an extension of what mothers have been doing in their kitchens for generations — which, simply states, is sharing “loads of love.”