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Thanksgiving on the Radio: Pavochón, ‘Thanksgivukkah,’ and Other Fusions

Listen to ‘Thanksgiving’s Hybrid Of Cultural Traditions’ on NHPR’s Word of Mouth.

Thanksgiving: Korean Style. (Photo: Flickr/Hane C. Lee)

Thanksgiving, Korean style. (Photo: Flickr/Hane C. Lee)

When Thanksgiving merged with Chanukah this year it opened the door for all kinds of holiday hybrids like Manischewitz turkey brine, and challah bread turkeys. But chefs from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have been adapting traditional Thanksgiving foods with immigrant flair for years.

This week chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst spoke with NHPR’s Virginia Prescott about how immigrants often meld exotic flavors with traditional fare. Gunst says it’s all about the stuffing, which is a common way people with different cultural backgrounds create new Thanksgiving culinary fusions. She talks about her family’s oyster stuffing, Grace Young’s rice stuffing, Von Diaz’s mofongo stuffing made of fried plantains, garlic, and chicharron, and how David Harry Yoon’s Korean family makes turkey (even though no one really likes it).


Also this week, journalist Von Diaz dives into her Puerto Rican culinary heritage by making her grandmother’s famous pavochón—a Puerto Rican take on traditional Thanksgiving turkey seasoned like a lechón or pork roast, then stuffed with mofongo. Listen to her journey making this traditional dish on NPR’s Latino USA.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in Two Worlds brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Since 2005, this award-winning project has expanded the diversity of voices and stories on public radio by presenting the work of journalists representing a broad spectrum of immigrant communities including Arab, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Latin American, Pakistani, Polish, and Russian immigrants. Feet in Two Worlds reporters appear on nationally-distributed public radio programs including PRI’s The World, Studio 360, and The Takeaway, American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Latino USA, as well as on public radio stations WNYC, New York Public Radio, and WDET in Detroit.