When we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, our meals and traditions will be as diverse as our team, with everything from enchiladas to stuffed grape leaves to turkey and sweet potatoes on the menu. Three BMG team members shared their traditions and memories of this truly American holiday.

Maddie Flores who works in the fulfillment department in Houston comes from a big blended family, so perhaps it’s no surprise that she enjoys three separate Thanksgiving meals with her family and boyfriend’s family. Maddie gets an early start on the holiday with a meal celebrating her stepmother’s Greek heritage held early in the week. If Pastitsio (meat and vegetarian versions of Greek lasagna), Spanakopita (spinach pie), and Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), Baklava (honey and nut pastry) and Koulourakia (a sugar cookie dunked in chocolate and walnuts), Greek songs and dancing sound like you’re idea of a festive celebration, you may want to hit Maddie up for an invitation.

But this is only the start of Maddie’s Thanksgiving celebration. On the 25th, her first top will be her Mom’s house where the family honors their Hispanic heritage with savory Mexican delicacies — enchiladas, tacos, rice, beans and queso. Her mom uses Maddie’s great-grandmother’s recipes that make the meal even more special. To cap it all off, there’s a third Thanksgiving meal at her boyfriend’s house with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes. What a way to celebrate, Maddie!

Houston Legal Assistant Mary Bilton grew up with some rich Thanksgiving family traditions in her hometown of Grand Coteau, Louisiana. She fondly remembers going to a special 9 a.m. Thanksgiving mass at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church where parishioners brought a prepared dish that was blessed by the priest and eaten later that day.

Back at home, the family – Mary’s mother, brother, sister, and grandparents — each spoke of something they were thankful for before enjoying the Thanksgiving feast. Her mother and grandmother did all the cooking, and the meal included turkey (carved by her grandfather) and cornbread dressing, yeast rolls, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and green beans with new potatoes – and a special dish made by boiling and stuffing a mirliton squash with seafood and seasonings, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. The meal was capped with a homemade sweet potato pone. Mary, thank you for sharing this special memory!

Hector Tavera, a Legal Assistant in Flower Mound, says his family’s Thanksgiving is pretty simple — but you can always count on it being a well-executed, delicious feast. The planning starts a month before the holiday when Hector, his sister and brothers start discussing what dishes they’ll prepare. Because the family is first-generation Mexican-American, there’s really no precedent for what to cook, so they review a myriad of potential ideas. One thing is for certain: there will be copious amounts of decadent carbs like last year’s jalapeño-cheddar mac-n-cheese, with a bacon and breadcrumb topping.

Hector says he and his siblings have heated discussions on what foods make the final cut for the menu, with their motivation driven by their grandmother, Doña Maria, who instilled a love for cooking in the family. He says it’s not just about the sustenance or gustatory pleasure from sharing the Thanksgiving meal, but about creating and sharing it in homage to his grandmother, while celebrating her and the cherished memories of her in the kitchen. So, although the dishes may not resemble his grandmother’s mole or tamales, the intention behind each dish is not so different, and for that, he’s thankful for his grandmother. Sounds like a special celebration to us, Hector!


Up next: Extra Mile: Ayse Yigit