I had little patience for Mexico on Thanksgiving Day. It’s just a regular day here, so nobody really knows you’re whipping up a huge, crazy meal in your kitchen and that you need things now. My cheese vendor at Mercado San Juan forgot to create my cheese plate, which he swore he’d have at 11 a.m. The dude I ordered olive tapenade from likewise didn’t have it.
I wanted to kill everyone, but when I went to get a coffee, the coffee guy said, “Hola hola hola! Feliz Día de Thanksgiving guerita!” And the Oaxacan vendor gave me extra charales enchilados. “Señorita Lesley… verdad?”
The tortilla lady greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and said, “Qué milagro!”
When I went to grab a snack, the tlacoyo lady, who never talks EVER, asked me for the first time, “De dónde es usted?” And then when I said Estados Unidos, she said, “A poco es de allá?” I blabbered on and on, telling her about my fascination with Mexican food, how I fell in love with street food and fondas when I got here, how I really didn’t have any choice but to create a street food-markets-food tourism business, all the while she flipped the hot tlacoyos on the comal. I said goodbye and wished her a happy Thanksgiving. Even the chicken guys didn’t hoot at me while I walked by, I like to think because they recognize me by now. Or maybe it was the great spirit of Thanksgiving.
The meal came together, even without the cheese plate and the tapenade. Here was my Thanksgiving menu:
Panela cheese with epazote and chile cuaresmeño, purchased at Mercado San Juan
Fried charales enchilados, from the same stand
Quelites salad made with quelite cenizo, parsley, chivito, tomato, organic sprouts and parmesan cheese, with a lemony vinaigrette
Crayton’s mom’s mushroom casserole (mushrooms, parsley and onion bathed in heavy cream and butter, and baked)
Pan-fried brussells sprouts with bacon
Pears poached in red wine (I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking)
Mexican chocolate cream pie — A riff on this Food & Wine recipe
*My friend Pam made the turkey, two types of stuffing, mashed potatoes and baked sweet potatoes.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Would love to hear of any dishes you plan to make again next year.
Who is Mija?
Mija is Lesley Téllez, a food writer and culinary guide in New York City. I spent four years in Mexico's Distrito Federal, which launched my deep love for Mexican food and culture. In 2010 I co-founded the tourism company Eat Mexico.
Be kind, ask permission!All photos on this site were taken by me, unless otherwise noted. If you'd like to use a photo, please email me.
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