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Pat Robertson seemingly baffled by someone else’s Thanksgiving food tradition

Daniel Gonzales

November 23rd, 2011

Given Right Wing Watch‘s scare quotes around “black thing” in the video title I think I’m supposed to be offended by Pat’s confusion regarding a tradition of mac and cheese served at Thanksgiving celebrations in many black families.

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My dad’s family is from Las Cruces, NM and every Thanksgiving we serve New Mexico red chile and corn tortillas with our dinner.

It’s totally a “New Mexico thing” and I’m proud of that.  Would I expect it to befuddle a person with an incredibly narrowly focused cultural and world-view like Pat Robertson?  Duh.  He’s probably still confused by women who wear pants.

Feel free to start a discussion in the comments about your own family’s cultural food traditions at Thanksgiving.

Red chile photo via the food blog Girl With Spoon

Comments

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elaygee
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

We serve cocktail franks on little upside down crosses with ketchup, just to curl Pat Robertson’s panties.

Bill T.
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Pat is a racist flim flam man. Ignore him.

Jamie O\'Neill
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Nice to see the fireside white-haired man doing good by his freed people. Makes you think the whole Civil War thing was … well, kinda civil.

Mary in Austin
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

That red chile looks delicious.
I guess the only non-mainstream item on tomorrow’s menu for us is home-made hummos with locally-made pita chips. (Thanks, Phoenicia Bakery!)

Aaron
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I’m from an Irish family and we have mac and cheese at all the holladays.

Ray Harwick
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Since I’ve been in California we’re had home made tamales just about every Thanksgiving. This year we’re eating a gay night club around noon then going to an Italian restaurant where they throw out the Italians at Thanksgiving and serve the standard Thanksgiving holiday fare. The cooks are *all* Mexicans at that Italian restaurant so maybe we’ll get some tamales.

Shofixti
November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Could Right-Wing watch have been trying to post a funny video? It’s more laughable than offensive.

TJ Davis
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Ah poor old Patty the Robber’s son. She just doesn’t get it.
But that red chili ohhhhhh looks to die for.
I am far away from home this Thanksgiving, in a foreign land, forced here by prejudice about how I make love. But that’s not gonna stop me. We will have poultry, (chicken breast, can’t buy turkey as such again this year) and baked potato. I am thinking of going all out and boiling up a bag of frozen corn too.
Enjoy everyone. We will!

Lightning Baltimore
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Holy shit! I’m black???

No wonder I was listening to Beyoncé a moment ago!

Listening to Pat is always so enlightening.

Cassie from Georgia
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Mac and cheese ISN’T a traditional Thanksgiving food? Man, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.

Anyway, ever since I started cooking Thanksgiving for my family, I’ve never made a turkey. I love being non-traditional!

Tony P
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

That red chile looks good!

Of course I’m sure Robertson would be shocked by lasagna at Thanksgiving too. That is a tradition in my ancestry.

Robertson is a bigoted fool.

Priya Lynn
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

I’m with Pat, I don’t get the mac and cheese thing. To me on a holiday you want something special, out of the ordinary, a treat. Mac and cheese is very ordinary, very bland, and not a treat. It really surprises me that that would be anyone’s special dish for a holiday. Maybe if you’re like Condoleeza and only eat it once a year?

Rick Loesser
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

This year for the first time in many years (I live alone)I get have a traditional Thanksgiving meal – shared.

Ben in Atlanta
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Our extended family has been doing pot luck dinners the Sunday before Thanksgiving for over 30 years. I come from a time and a place where “Soul Food” would just be called “Supper”.

For a different perspective read LZ’s column:

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/11/16/my-first-thanksgiving-with-white-people/?hpt=op_bn4

BlackDog
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Why does anyone even listen to Pat Robertson anymore?? He’s not only wrong, but easily proven so, about an awful lot of the things he shoots his mouth off about.

That said I had a pretty traditional thanksgiving dinner (albeit buffet style) at work at 2AM.

I’m hella tired, I’m going to bed. I’ll sleep away the majority of the rest of this thanksgiving.

Jim Burroway
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

My sister-on-law makes mac and cheese with smoked gouda and parmesan. I’m always thankful when she makes it.

Our family’s big tradition is oyster dressing. My grandmothers homemade noodles were always a feature, but she passed away without ever writing it down. We tried to get her to write it out but she said she didn’t know how. She made them sorta by instinct and never measured anything.

Regan DuCasse
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Mac n cheese is an American diner staple. It’s part of the public school cafeterias. I’m sure there are few families who don’t have a person whose variations on the recipe haven’t become legend. Kraft Foods put it in a box, and has had commercials for it for decades.

Any frozen food company from Stouffer’s to Swanson and so on, has their own version of mac n cheese.
Thanksgiving without HOME MADE mac n cheese, is like the same without apple or pumpkin pie. It’s at least as part of the tradition as a switch up to ham or ham in addition to the typical turkey dinner.

We know that Pat Robertson has been under a rock. Which is the only reason to explain he’d make such an impossibly stupid comment.

mike
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

that stuff is probably tasty no doubt but it looks spicier then what they fix in creol La, i don’t think it would agree with me.

TomTallis
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Our family tradition, ever since I was a little boy, has been to make a reservation at a nice restaurnt. My husband and I continue the tradition.

ZRAinSWVA
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

Priya Lynn, you’ve just never had it made properly!

Try making it as you would a quiche. I can’t give exact amounts, I’m afraid, as we generally eyeball the following:

Boil large elbow macaronis (around 16 dry ounces) until just that side of al dente. Drain and rinse.

For about 16 oz of large macaronis, cooked, we’d use about: 1 pound each of Monterrey Jack, Sharp Cheddar and Colby grated and mixed together.

In a 3+”x9x13″ or so sized baking dish, buttered (real, please!) bottom and sides, start with a layer of the cheeses. Follow with a layer of noodles, then cheese…you get the idea. At the last macaroni layer, press down gently on the top to firm. Finish with a layer of cheese. Dot the top with butter.

Mix one egg (or two+ if they’re smaller) with about two cups whole milk and fresh-ground black pepper and salt (to taste). Pour over the mixture in the pan to just cover. Bake at 350 degrees until it’s bubbling, less liquid and lightly browned; as necessary, use the broiler to brown.

Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

jutta
November 24th, 2011 | LINK

When I first read “mac and cheese” in this article, I thought of hamburgers and cheese and thought “Well, hum, kind of strange for a dinner with family and friends.” But fortunately there are Google and Wikipedia.

@ZRAinSWVA: Your recipe sounds like one should go on diet at least one week ahead :)

By the way, if you ever come to Southern Germany, Switzerland or Austria, you will find a similar dish under the name of “Kasnudeln” or “Käsespätzle”. (Not with maccaroni but with homemade pasta and often with roast onion on top.)

WMDKitty
November 25th, 2011 | LINK

Happy Thanksgiving, guys — I’m doing my turkey imitation right now (stuffed), and about t-zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Timothy Kincaid
November 25th, 2011 | LINK

Ya know, I’m not finding pat to be offensive or nuts on this one.

We all have a culture. Some of us more than one. We have language or dialect or idiom that is distinctive and shared by those with a common background or community. Can I get an amen?

We have clothing styles that speak to how we see ourselves. Today I watched the philadelphia Kennel Club and let’s just say that ‘dog people’ have a very distinct sense of style.

Celebrations are also important cultural markers. They are common heritage, even when they aren’t exactly related to our history.

But a HUGE part of culture, especially ethnic culture, is food. And holiday food takes on both the element of celebration and the almost primal food identity association.

And let me assure you that the conservative Christian middle-class white American culture does not share the tradition of serving the dish that they call “macaroni and cheese” on the holidays. No, we have the dreadful “green bean casserole”, a tradition I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

But “mac and cheese” is part of the black holiday tradition -or so I’ve been told. So yeah, it’s a “black thing”. And it is perfectly fine that Pat not know that. I’ll bet many readers didn’t know it as well.

It’s funny how we get about culture. Possessive, defensive, apologetic, and all sorts of confused. But culture is cool and interesting and adaptive and – if we let it be – often very inclusive.

One of my favorite food culture moments was when I was shopping at my local Vons grocery store some years back. I lived at that time in a predominantly black neighborhood and I was the only white person in the store one day when the guy behind me struck up a conversation. He was buying greens of some sort (collard, mustard, I don’t recall) and when I knew what they were (nasty things, ugh, but my dad likes them) he turned and told the shoppers in a surprised voice “the white boy knows about greens!”. I could I guess have been offended that he made assumptions about me based on my skin, but what he really was doing at that moment was finding a commonality, a cross-cultural meeting point. It was funny, but it was also a very cool thing.

We can rub Pat a bit for not knowing mac and cheese. But to me he didn’t sound any more offensive or stupidly misinformed than the nice guy who was delighted to learn that greens are a part of the northern California culture as well.

Priya Lynn
November 25th, 2011 | LINK

ZRAinSWVA I’ve actually never had home made macaroni and cheese. If I recall correctly it was only served at a meal once in my life and I didn’t eat it, it struck me as weird that someone would make macaroni and cheese themselves rather than buying a box of it at the store. To me homemade macaroni and cheese was an oddity, kind of like home made ketchup or butter and I wasn’t feeling that adventurous.

Timothy said “But “mac and cheese” is part of the black holiday tradition -or so I’ve been told. So yeah, it’s a “black thing”. And it is perfectly fine that Pat not know that. I’ll bet many readers didn’t know it as well.”.

I had never heard of it until this post either. I also agree, Pat is stupid and a bigot, but finding thanksgiving macaroni and cheese strange is not one of the things that makes him stupid and a bigot.

Andrew
November 26th, 2011 | LINK

I don’t have a problem with this clip of Robertson. I had no idea this was a tradition in anyone’s family. His reaction wasn’t hostile, it was curious and baffled – and I can see that. For many people TG is a day when you bring out your most “refined” recipes, and M&C for many is a comfort food rather than a holiday food. I’m disappointed to see this labeled as some kind of evidence of horribleness — and certainly not unique to “the Right Wing”. What a waste of space on their site.

Interestingly, he’s clearly comfortable with the young (black) hostess and at ease. That’s not really what I associate with a racist mode of thinking. If anything, the clip almost humanizes the man.

TwirlyGirly
November 26th, 2011 | LINK

(Ray Harwick wrote): “This year we’re eating a gay night club around noon..”

Things that make you go “H-m-m-m-m…!” Don’t forget the Pepto. Lots of it!!!(Next year, perhaps some turkey instead?) LOL!!! Thanks for making me giggle!

Regan DuCasse
November 26th, 2011 | LINK

When I was on the road with RBBB, one of the few black girls in our show found a market that had collard greens. Fortunately she knew how to cook them and they take a while. As some of the rest of the girls started coming back to our dorm car for the evening a few of them said some, shall we say racially insensitive remarks about it.

One of the other white girls in the show was a VERY popular Southern belle to the bone.
She comes home, smells what’s in the pot and shouts so happily “who got COLLARD greens, I want some! Could I have some?!!!
None of the other girls thought white people ate them and said as much to our Southern belle. Who promptly told them it’s a SOUTHERN thang, not a BLACK thang, without actually finishing her admonishment with ‘stupid’!
They’d never heard of pot liquor either.

But hey, it DOES help to know the difference between what’s Southern, what’s poor people’s food and that’s what’s influenced the Black American diet.
Oh and the rest of the girls missed a wonderful down home supper.

Regan DuCasse
November 26th, 2011 | LINK

Oh and…for girls between the ages of 18-25 not having a clue is more understandable and forgivable.
Pat Robertson is an old cooter whose base of operations is closer to the South than the rest of the country.
He might have black guests on his show, but popular black entertainers were on television shows during the Jim Crow years who couldn’t get shows of their own, nor the same kinds of sponsors or upper level jobs their white counterparts could get.
Pat Robertson earned getting slammed.
He wasn’t much of a civil rights supporter back in the day either.

Aeval
November 26th, 2011 | LINK

Thanksgiving reminds me of when I was an exchange student in Minnesota. During a history class and couple weeks before Thanksgiving the teacher explained why “we” celebrate thanksgiving.

At the end of the class she turns to me and asks how we in our country celebrate thanksgiving, “We don’t”, I said to her, “we celebrate the day they left Europe, we call it the Good Riddance Day”.

It was during the same class I learned how sensitive some Americans can be.

Regan DuCasse
November 28th, 2011 | LINK

One of THE best Thanksgivings ever, was at the home of an immigrant friend of mine. Our hostess was from Bolivia, but the house was full of people from over 14 different countries. Most of whom brought dishes that were a part of their national or ethnic culture.
There is nothing like the most memorable meals of your lifetime and regardless that Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, that dinner was the ‘of many one’ cultural ideal that this country stands for.
And being in a beautiful house, with all kinds of people thankful for living in America, THAT sure put things into perspective in a big way.

Priya Lynn
November 28th, 2011 | LINK

“Our hostess was from Bolivia, but the house was full of people from over 14 different countries. Most of whom brought dishes that were a part of their national or ethnic culture.”.

Now that sounds like a treat!

David Wachter
November 28th, 2011 | LINK

My parents and the rest of my family came from semi-rural Wisconsin, but I was born in Tucson. I guess I imprinted on Mexican food, because comfort food for me is Sonoran-style Mexican food. If I don’t keep at least trying to expand my cultural palette (not everything sticks; some things just don’t work for me), I’m the one who loses out.

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