On Sharing Food and Cooking Nostalgia Come Thanksgiving Day

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.

Volunteers prepping my cranberry sauce at Mama G’s

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.

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