The All American Thanksgiving table
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 11:59 AM
If you're looking for a way to enliven the holiday table yet keep things traditional, you need only include more of the Americas: North, Central, South. A rich, dark mole from Mexico can envelop or accompany turkey; a shrimp and avocado salad from Chile can provide a cool, creamy way to start the meal. Dishes that represent the Southwestern United States and Canada will broaden Thanksgiving's autumnal palette and can even initiate discussion about the origins of perennial ingredients. Our inspiration for this year's menu comes from Fernando and Marlene Divina, who collaborated on their cookbook, "Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions," with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and helped develop the museum's Mitsitam Cafe. The couple own the Terrace Kitchen restaurant in Lake Oswego, Ore., where Fernando is executive chef. Marlene is of Cree and Assiniboine descent. In addition to honoring native peoples of the Western Hemisphere, their recipes represent a contemporary cross-section of American society. Add some of these flavors, and your own celebration will, too.