Written by Mariana Aguilera
Sweet and savory just like Thanksgiving has been for me these last couple of years. I have been going back and forth as to wether I should continue celebrating Thanksgiving. Why do I go back and forth? Well, as we know it, America hasn’t been so honest when it comes to the history of all of its inhabitants. Every year I read the truth on the origins of this holiday and every year I pop a turkey in the oven sweeping the truth under the rug. Also every year I convince myself as to why I should continue this tradition from ‘it’s just to give thanks’, ‘do it for the family gatherings’, or ‘for the love of food’. My biggest reliever is saying to myself I’m following the middle-path. But, is there when such heinous injustices have happened? When natives in America are still to this day fighting for their humanity? No matter which way I’ve tried looking at it, the injustice to the foundation of this holiday kept bothering me. So, I’m done giving my time to one part of history.
This year I’ve finally worked up the courage to say it’s thanks, but no thanks to turkey and friendsgiving invites—plus I already do this on a daily basis, be grateful. And I always make time to spend with friends. I’m done sugar coating this holiday! This year I decided to share the mourning of the Natives of our country, but more importantly I want to think about how can I in today’s time contribute to the betterment of natives in America and all who continue to experience racism, classism, and misappropriation of culture among some hurting acts.
I think hence food is the center of this holiday, why not start with appropriating truth to what we eat? Also, because food has been used as a tool of colonization. The star of this recipe is the ‘sweet potato’. It was first cultivated in Peru around 750 BCE. Now just in case you’re asking yourself what do the Natives from South America have to do with the Natives of what is now America. Everything! Navite groups traveled through the Americas without borders. Cacao from what is now Oaxaca, Mexico was found in North America. Cinnamon originated from the natives in Mexico. They also used honey. Ginger on the other hand originated from Southeast Asia. Goat cheese is also a product that takes us to the other side of the world. The Middle East points to the early domestication of goats. Almonds are thought to originate from Central Asia to the Mediterranean region. And finally, cranberries! They are a food staple of Natives in America. They use cranberries to make what is called ‘pemmican’—a mixture of meat, fat, and cranberries among some.
1 Large Sweet Potato
Ground Cinnamon Ceylon
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut sweet potato in half. Thinly cut one slice on the other side to be able to lay flat.
3. Coat sweet potato with grapeseed oil.
4. Put in oven for 45 min. or until fully cooked. Half way into cooking time turn potatoes to other side.
5. While still warm sprinkle generously grounded ginger and cinnamon. With a fork slightly mix the top layer of sweet potatoes. The warmth will wake up the spices.
6. Spread goat cheese and sprinkle a bit more ginger and cinnamon.
7. Garnish with cranberries, crushed almonds and mint leaf.
Know what you eat! Enjoy!