Culture

Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

Thanksgiving is almost here and the pandemic is changing things for the holiday season. One of the biggest changes is that it is not advised to gather in person for the celebration. This might seem like a bad thing but it does give you the chance to mix things up before a Zoomed Thanksgiving feast. Here are some Latin Americans substitutions you can make to your Thanksgiving table as a test run for next year.

Turkey is great but give some lechon a try.

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Lechon is a Cuban pork dish made for big celebrations. Thanksgiving is a big celebration the revolves around food. Lechon is already the meat of choice at a Cuban Thanksgiving and is usually the star of the plate. You can spend hours dealing with a turkey for the tenth year in a row or you can be a little more excited and make this delicious Cuban meal.

Tostones (patacones) are the perfect replacement for potatoes.

Tostones, also called patacones, are made using green plantains. They are tough and starchy so they make a great savory side dish. make sure you double fry these bad boys. Once when they are chopped and a second time after smashing them to their iconic flat shape. If you let the plantain ripen, you can use it to make maduros instead, which are sweet.

Or, take those plantains and make mofongo.

Mofongo uses the same green plantains except they are fried once then mashed. It goes great with pork so this is a perfect little dish to pair with the lechon if you really want to go for it. The Puerto Rican dish is something that will forever change your mind about what you’d like to see at Thanksgiving.

Causa rellena is a Peruvian take on the classic mashed potatoes.

If you want to stick to the potatoes you are used to buying, Peruvian causa rellena will given them a Latin American spin. The dish does not take long to make and requires minimal cooking. The most you have to really cook is boiling the potatoes so you can mash them but the way the dish ends it by popping it in the fridge. Just layer the cooked ingredients and set it in the fridge overnight to save on Thanksgiving Day cooking time.

Corn is always a hit, especially as esquites.

Esquites is one corn dish everyone needs to try at least once. It is a neater version of elote because it is all the same ingredients but in an easier to eat way. Better yet, you can make a big batch or opt for personal servings to make it all cleaner and easier for everyone involved.

Guava con queso pastelitos are the dessert everyone is really asking for.

This little Cuban pastry is probably one of the best desserts ever created. This is not up for debate. It is just a simple fact of Latin American desserts. Honestly, when you taste the sweet and tangy flavor of the guava wrapped in the flaky, buttery pastry, your life will change. Drop the pumpkin for one year and give this Cuban dessert a try.

READ: Take A Tasting Tour Of Latin America This Thanksgiving With This Curated Menu

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Snoop Dogg Handed Out Thanksgiving Turkeys To People In Inglewood

Entertainment

Snoop Dogg Handed Out Thanksgiving Turkeys To People In Inglewood

The holidays are always hard for some families. There is the expense of providing the holiday experience every year. However, this year, with mass layoffs and hardships, Thanksgiving is an extra hard burden on some. Snoop Dogg teamed up with the Chargers and Rams to provide free turkeys to Inglewood residents ahead of Turkey Day. Families lined up to pick up the food at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

Snoop Dogg being Snoop Dogg spent time helping those in need to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Covid-19 has made 2020 the year of hardships and loss. However, the LA Chargers and Rams with the help of Snoop Dogg volunteered to make the holiday a little better for people this year. The rapper and football players gave turkeys to Inglewood residents in need to bring the magic of the holiday to their dinner tables. The food giveaway took place in the SoFi Stadium parking lot. The stadium in Inglewood is the home of the LA Chargers and Rams.

“I love the personal side,” Snoop Dogg told ABC 7. “To be up close and personal; for people to see me, touch me, take pictures with me, to be able to know I really care.”

Families not only got a turkey, but they also got all of the trimmings for a Thanksgiving feast.

Don Lee Farms, the L.A. Regional Food Bank, Pepsi, and Frito-Lay donated the turkeys and fixings for the giveaway. The kind act gave 2,500 Inglewood families a Thanksgiving meal as lockdown orders around the state forced some businesses to close back down. The lingering impact of the Covid outbreak has been devastating for American families exacerbated by the federal government’s failed response to the pandemic.

Snoop Dogg is no stranger to helping people during the holidays.

Snoop Dogg often helps those who need some help during the holidays. He has teamed up with Inglewood before to make sure that families are able to have the Thanksgiving they deserve. This time of year is all about giving and being thankful for what we have and how we can help others. Snoop Dogg is a master of putting to work his compassion for other people.

READ: Snoop Dogg Loves Banda So Much That He’s Collaborating With Banda MS On A New Song And We Can’t Cope

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That Grandma Who Accidentally Invited A Teen Stranger To Thanksgiving Hosted Him Again This Year Despite The Loss Of Her Husband To COVID-19

Things That Matter

That Grandma Who Accidentally Invited A Teen Stranger To Thanksgiving Hosted Him Again This Year Despite The Loss Of Her Husband To COVID-19

Jamal Hinton / Twitter

Four years ago, the feel-good story of how a grandmother accidentally texted a stranger an invite to Thanksgiving dinner went viral. In the years since Wanda Dench (the grandmother) and Jamal Hinton (the teen stranger) have celebrated each Thanksgiving together.

This year has, despite the pandemic and terrible heartaches, been no exception.

For a fifth year, Wanda and Jamal gathered around a table for a bittersweet Thanksgiving this past Friday in Mesa, Arizona.

For their fifth Thanksgiving together, Wanda and Jamal sat down at the dinner table, this time without Wanda’s husband. Lonnie Dench, who Wanda had been married to for 43 years, passed away in April from complications induced by Covid-19. According to Wanda, he suffered from double pneumonia brought on by the virus.

“I didn’t believe I would have to go home without him,” Wanda revealed to CNN. “Even when he was in the hospital, I thought he would get better and come back to me. He was my soul mate. He was my biggest cheerleader.”

“I wasn’t looking forward to it at first because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there. The past seven months have been so difficult, but this was really important to me,” Wanda explained. “I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us.”

Dench, her daughter, and grandson gathered together with Jamal and his girlfriend a little earlier this year. They decided on a Friday Thanksgiving celebration so that they could all receive coronavirus tests before sitting down with their own families. They wanted to avoid spreading the virus.

“At first it was sad. We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candlelit, and we were all shaky in the beginning but it lasted five minutes before we were back to ourselves,” Jamal told CNN. “We just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie, so it was amazing.”

Four years ago, a misfired text brought Jamal and Wanda together.

Twitter

In 2016, Wanda who is the grandmother to six children meant to text her grandson an invite to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, she accidentally sent a message to Jamal, who was 17 at the time. Confused that someone claiming to be his grandmother had texted him, Jamal asked for proof. Wanda replied with a selfie of herself at work. And even though she wasn’t his grandmother, Jamal asked if he could still have a plate. “Of course you can,” Wanda replied. “That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone!”

Jamal kept Wanda to her word, showed up at the family thanksgiving and the two became fast friens.

According to Jamal he and his girlfriend went on regular double dates with Wanda and Lonnie.

“It all has to do with this feeling. There’s just this connection. It feels like we’ve known each other in past lives,” Wanda explained. “There’s absolutely no generational gap between us. The conversation just flows, we never run out of things to talk about.”

Jamal explained to CNN the obvious concern of having an awkward encounter with Wanda and her family at their first Thanksgiving. The opposite was true. “Whenever we met, we would spend four or five hours, just talking and talking. It was never awkward, Wanda and Lonnie became two close best friends to me,” he said.”There’s nothing about her that is mean, or uncaring. It feels like I have told her my whole life story, and she always listens and shares her own story. She’s just the most loving person. She’s pretty much perfect.”

Their gatherings have become so important that Wanda and Jamal say they hope to never stop their tradition. Even with Lonnie gone.

“Lonnie was missing this year, and he was a big part of the Thanksgiving story and a big part of our lives, but that’s one thing Wanda and I know for sure. Lonnie would have been very angry if we didn’t have Thanksgiving together,” Jamal explained “Lonnie was never the quiet guy. Right when I walked in the door the first time I met him, he didn’t even reach out for a handshake. He just immediately pulled me in for a hug… He was the kind of guy to always bring your hopes up whenever you felt down. Losing him was losing a best friend.”

While still mourning their great loss, Wanda wants people to continue to have hope. “Just have patience,” she told CNN. “I know it isn’t easy, and everyone is frustrated and just wants to get back to normal. But we need to have hope and always care about other people.”

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