For Thanksgiving in Brooklyn, my Sicilian grandmother would make lasagna to eat and cook a turkey to prove she was a naturalized citizen.
The turkey a bird the size of a Buick reigned, solitary, on the sideboard. It was separate from the more ordinary, familiar and delicious (whaddya want me to do, lie?) food that fed the immediate family of approximately 113. A totem offering to the blessed land of America that had opened its doors to her at Ellis Island, the turkey fulfilled its role as a ritual display of patriotism as we feasted on eggplant, lamb, chicken, sausage, bread, olives, artichokes and peas.
Cooking both turkey and lasagna for Thanksgiving was like being bilingual but in culinary terms.
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