Who Else Wants To Create Family Traditions That Matter

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Creating simple family traditions that matter and making time during holidays to make memories and to have great family time are important priorities.

holiday traditions that matter

This time of year many of us are wrapped up in creating and upholding family traditions that matter. At these gatherings and in these memories, food often takes center stage. In fact, many a girlfriend has reported that one of their most epic first-year-of-marriage arguments was about Thanksgiving foods. You can rest assured that you are not the only one who has ever fought the good fight over which potatoes to use for mashing. (We're Team Yellow Potatoes, for the record.) On VProud, there is a ridiculously funny tongue-in-cheek video about what to make for a holiday meal when it feels like everyone you invite isn't currently eating gluten, sugar, or alcohol. And below, mother and writer Nicole Rangel reflects on the first Thanksgiving dinner she made attempting to blend her roots with her husband's Mexican ones. Besides a fabulous idea for a newish take on turkey, we think you'll relate to the reminiscing Nicole does about those first muddlings and the lesson and reminder that she was left with from them. Like Nicole, we love holiday food as much as anyone else and we love the people who we eat it with even more.

—The VProud Team

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What I Learned From My First Mexican Thanksgiving

By Nicole Rangel For VProud

What is it about holidays and food!?! Every holiday is surrounded by special food. And that is not just in the United States, but all around the world. Food brings us together during holidays in a way to savor the moment of community, to savor the flavors before us and to celebrate something special.

When my Mexican husband and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, I wanted to make it special. I wanted to blend our families and our family’s traditions. I set forth to make a traditional American turkey but with a Mexican mole twist. In the United States, turkey is the traditional food for Thanksgiving and in Mexico, mole is used for many holidays be especially for weddings, so it was a perfect blend for our first Thanksgiving. If you are not familiar with mole, it is a savory sauce that is the marriage of deep earthy chilis with nutty, bitter Mexican chocolates.

Traditional mole takes many hours (or days) to prepare…..just like a traditional turkey does. The days leading up to our first Thanksgiving was full of preparation, anxiety and anticipation for bringing these two special culinary delights together. I made sure to soak the dried chilis for the allotted time, then hand grinding them to make a special paste. I had to brine the turkey, making sure the salt and seasoning levels were perfect, so the turkey would not be dry or salty. I washed more dishes and used over 40 ingredients just to prepare this special blended main course that kickstarted my multicultural family.

This was the beginning of my new family, where I wanted my Spanish-speaking mother-in-law to know I respected her culture and wanted to be part of her family. This was also where I wanted shine in making myself known in my family as a person who stepped out of the traditional dishes and tried something new, but the pressure was on. In the U.S. if you do not get the turkey right … everyone remembers. In Mexico, if you do not get the mole right … everyone remembers. In the end, I succeeded to blend two amazing dishes and two cultures. I honored what we were most thankful for that year and every year … family gathered around the table ready to eat.

nicole rangel vproud
About the author: Nicole Rangel has had the title of park ranger, hula dancer, cruise ship fun director, life guard, and event planner, but her favorite and most exciting title has been Mami. She is a PR consultant and blogger who also manages the daily content messaging, negotiations and crisis management of two laser focused children with iron willed personalities, one ADD husband, and a near blind dog. Join Nicole's honest conversations on VProud.

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Gluten free, gassy, and in AA: You can't serve anything good at the holidays anymore!

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