Turns out there’s plenty of room for all kinds of desserts at a Turkish family’s celebration.
Posted in , Nov 18, 2016
Every November, as Thanksgiving Day approaches, one memory comes to mind. One that always makes me smile. The time my cousin Johnny brought an apple pie to Thanksgiving.
First, some backstory. At my big Turkish family’s holiday get-togethers, baklava is the norm at the dessert table. There’s rolled baklava, square-shaped baklava, diamond-shaped baklava, haystack-esq baklava, walnut-filled baklava, pistachio-filled baklava, chocolate-dipped baklava…well, you get the idea.
One year, though, back when I was in high school, my 20-something cousin Johnny decided to change things up a bit. He showed up at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving with two items that had never before graced our table–apple pie and a can of whipped cream.
Those two items caused one of the biggest controversies in Aydin family history. It was even more dramatic than the time my mom “forgot” to make baklava for Christmas. I distinctly remember my mom and aunts discussing the incident in the kitchen in hushed tones.
“Apple pie?” one of my aunts said. “What are we supposed to do with this?”
I can still recall my mom’s bewildered expression at it all. If there’s one thing is this world my mom distrusts it’s fruit-filled desserts, a no-no in our culture’s cuisine. “Why would you bake fruits into a dessert when you can eat them fresh?” she often says. (For real, she says that about once every two months!)
The whipped cream only made things worse. They would’ve been less shocked if Johnny had showed up to dinner dressed as a turkey. Still, my mom didn’t want to hurt Johnny’s feelings. In a true act of love, she put the pie out on the dining room table, accompanied by the whipped cream. It went mostly untouched.
Nowadays, things are different. We actually have pie at Thanksgiving–my sister Kristin regularly makes pecan pie (the fear of fruit-filled sweets persists, but desserts topped with fruits or nuts have been given the okay). We still laugh about the drama caused by Johnny’s apple pie. I’ll never forget it. It wasn’t just about the pie for me.
Growing up, I sometimes felt like an outsider because of my culture. That Thanksgiving, though, was one of the first times I realized that my family’s peculiarities were actually a good thing (even if we tended to overreact about pie!). It’s what made us, well, us. And one of the many reasons I’m so crazy about them.
What about you? Which Thanksgiving sticks out as your most memorable?