Thanksgiving in the Southwest: It’s Not Your Mother’s Turkey


Here at Vantastic Vans, we think one of the best parts of living in the southwest is Thanksgiving. You see, this time of year the scenery is gorgeous, people are particularly happy and we get to enjoy a feast unlike anything we get all year. Yes, Thanksgiving in the southwest is totally different when compared to what you probably grew up with. Here’s a snapshot of how and why.

First off, we’ve got a large Native American and Hispanic influence. That means that everything from our music to food to dress to holiday celebrations is heavily influenced by these wonderful cultures.

Now, let’s talk about food. Plain old Thanksgiving turkey has gotten a bad rap. Poor Aunt Mildred’s dry old bird just won’t cut it down here. We like robust flavors and bold combinations. As a result we don’t just slather our turkey in butter. Instead, we opt for unique combinations like chipotle slathered turkey or Guajillo-tamarind turkey.¬†Cumin, oregano, and chile powder are some of the most common spices you will use when cooking in the southwest. Instead of plain old sugar, one of our favorite sweeteners is honey. It helps lessen the heat found in the food.

Side dishes are totally different too. For example, you might get a cornbread-chorizo dressing (that’s served outside he turkey). This pays homage to Hispanic chorizo and Native American corn. Looking to compliment flavors? You’ll love creating mashed sweet potatoes with chipotle.

Dessert might include spiced pecan pie or apple and cinnamon empanadas. Spicy pecans aren’t your mom’s pecan pie, but the sweet and spicy combination is one that is incredibly delightful. If you want to break southwest tradition add a little vanilla ice cream.

Although we do Thanksgiving a little differently when it coes to food, one thing the southwest has in common with the rest of the country is the fact that we always take the time to reflect on what we’re thankful for and spend time with family. We hope you will do the same.

Photo credit:¬†“Carving turkey-01” by Dinner Series – Match Pewter Carving Set auf flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –



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