I see you didn’t include the famous Mac ‘N Cheese casserole staple among the black families I’ve eaten with for Thanksgiving & Christmas both, & just about any black family eating event I have enjoyed over the years. Is it not a requisite among all black families?

The first time I thought it was really strange. I’d never thought of Mac ‘N Cheese as a holiday food. But then, my only acquaintance with the dish in my family came in a blue & orange box with the name “Kraft” on it.

Sweet potato pie is delish…much better than pumpkin. Potato salad must be a regional thing, cuz we never had it in my family on holidays, except the 4th of July. Mashed potatoes & gravy to go with the turkey dressing were our potato staple with any turkey dinner. We’d sometimes have ham for one of the holidays. Potato salad was for summer picnics & such.

My mom made a cranberry salad with jello & crushed fresh cranberries. Not particularly good, but it was a Thanksgiving/Christmas tradition in our family. I think it’s a midwestern thing. Jello salads are a midwestern staple. My mom left North Dakota with her family when she was 15, but she learned her cooking from my solidly midwestern grandmother. My mom was a terrible cook, to be truthful. It wasn’t until I’d left home that I had fish other than frozen fish sticks. To go with the Kraft Mac N Cheese — also a staple with hot dogs.

Given a choice I’d rather do a black Thanksgiving than a white one.

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Georgia NeSmith

Georgia NeSmith


Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.