A Thanksgiving Delight: Bridging Two Continents with One Recipe

July 31, 2023

Embracing Thanksgiving: Beyond Borders and Dishes

Thanksgiving, that season when we students momentarily step back from our chaotic desks—echoes of sleepless nights and myriad coffee cups—to embrace the Thanksgiving delight of a classic turkey dinner. It’s a revered ritual in my family. The non-negotiables? Certainly, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Yet, when marking the occasion in the US with my grandparents, and other family members remain in Beijing, the menu evolves, introducing Chinese gems like braised pork belly and selected fresh vegetables alongside.

A Twist in Traditions: From Turkey to Turducken

This year, the Thanksgiving celebration moved to my cousin’s house. Taking charge of the dinner plans, my excitement knew no bounds. As discussions began about the upcoming “Thanksgiving-Shanghainese Extravaganza,” she dropped a bombshell, “We’ve got a Turducken!” My jaw dropped. The idea was bewildering, even a tad alarming. However, the food adventurer in me grew curious. A chicken within a duck within a turkey? As bizarre as it sounds, the curiosity was like getting lured by the latest fashion trend you never thought you’d try.

Sadly, the Turducken experiment was less than thrilling. Cooking it was a puzzle, with debates about cooking times and temperatures. The end result? Overcooked. Moreover, it wasn’t seasoned, leading to a mad scramble to get the traditional marinade ready.

A Marinade that Transcends Continents

The marinade, handed down from my grandfather, is a revelation in simplicity and flavor. His long tenure as the head chef of a renowned restaurant bore this magical blend, the secret to the most flavorful and juicy turkey. Just salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. No fancy ingredients, no extensive procedures. This marinade, despite our geographical distances, binds our family across continents during Thanksgiving, making it truly special.

Recipe for the Best Ever Turkey Marinade


  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

The beauty of traditions is that they keep us connected, even when miles apart. The Thanksgiving table might change, from classic turkey to a Turducken, or even a fusion of Western and Chinese cuisines. But what remains constant is the love, memories, and shared recipes. This marinade, spanning generations and continents, is more than just a blend of ingredients. It’s a reminder of family ties, cherished moments, and the joy of coming together, no matter where we are. So, as the world spins and the years fly by, this simple recipe continues to anchor our celebrations, making every Thanksgiving special.

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