If Spanish Speaking Countries celebrated Thanksgiving



What would they eat?


Thanksgiving is a national holiday that United States celebrates on the fourth Thursday of November and Canada on the second Monday of October. No other country celebrates Thanksgiving, but what if they did? The American tradition is to gather with friends and family and roast and eat a turkey with lots of other side dishes. Setting a turkey at the table in United States is an action almost solely for this day. So we chose a typical dish from Spanish speaking countries that is not only typical but also very special, elaborate, and reserved for one special day a year (either because of its ingredients or because of its cooking time).  What would the main dish be in the Spanish speaking countries if they celebrated Thanksgiving?





Fanesca: It is a special typical soup from Ecuador people make once a year, only during Easter. Because of the Catholic tradition against eating red meat during Holy Week, what you will find in this soup is a lot of grains, like quinoa and fava beans, mostly native from the Andean mountains.  It takes about 24 hours to make this soup, and some other ingredients you should expect in this dish are salted cod, squash, chochos, corn, peas, fresh beans, rice, onions, garlic, cumin, achiote. In addition, peanuts, milk, cream and cheese. Ecuatorians usually garnish it with hard boiled eggs, fried plantains, herbs, and sometimes empanadas as well.





Pachamanca: This is actually a Quechua word that means “Food from the Earth”. It is a traditional Peruvian food that is made in a big hole dug in the soil. Yes, you read it well: a hole in the soil! Ingredients for this special dish include a large quantity of lamb, pork, chicken or guinea pig, that Peruvians marinate in spices. This typical food wouldn’t be complete without potatoes, corn, chili, sweet potato, and yucca.

Also, for the preparation of this meal, friends and family gather to cook it and chit chat while it’s fully cooked. With a preparation of a good Pachamanca you will feed about 30 people. Everything starts with the heating of stones over a fire, and the meat placed on top. They cover this fire with grass and earth, and then open up the oven after two long hours.





Lechona: While you could find this traditional dish in a few restaurants all year long, its preparation is elaborate and it is typically eaten in special occasions, like New Year. It consists of a whole pork stuffed with rice, peas, and spices that Colombians cook in a brick oven for about 10 to 12 hours. Also, you eat everything from the pork, including its ears, and skin which should be really crispy.

If you eat lechona you should accompany it with arepas (similar to a corn cake) or boiled potatoes. In special celebrations, everybody bustles to get to the lechona. Yes, it is that good!





Asado: Some say it is the wild grass on the open range the one to thank for the lean and tender meat that Argentinian cattle is so famous for. Whatever the secret is, the truth is that an asado is probably the meal that gathers families and friends the most in this South American country. Even though it might not sound very elaborate to make an asado or BBQ, it actually takes time and skill to make this dish like Argentinians do. Grass-fed beef and hardwood charcoal plus gently cooking and not adding salt at first, make this the Argentinian staple. People also accompany this dish with chimichurri, a piquant sauce or marinade containing parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes.





Arrollado de huaso: Families get together for this dish and it even makes it to contests in Chile. Arrollado de huaso or something like pork roll is one of the most typical Chilean get together meals. It consists of meat that you cook and dress in a roll, and then tie with a string. You also include pork meat, bacon, pork skin, salt, pepper, cumin, vinegar and garlic. Chileans marinate these ingredients for about 24 hours and then put them together on the pork skin, roll it and boil it for two hours until it is ready to eat.


Man I am hungry already! If you want to know what would other Spanish speaking countries eat if they celebrated Thanksgiving, check out part 2!


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Learn all the Spanish you need for real life.