The Chasms That Separate Us.

The other day, I mentioned on Facebook that I was looking forward to my aunt’s macaroni and cheese at Thanksgiving. An old (white) buddy from college subsequently lamented that there would be no macaroni and cheese at his family’s get-together, and that he wished he could change this.

A little bit later, Dr. Bitch tweeted this:

I knew about white people’s “pumpkin pie” thing (awww, how cute are you guys!), but I’d never considered that y’all were totally missing the best part of Thanksgiving dinner (cause it sure as hell ain’t turkey.)

Let us rectify this!



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • quadmoniker

    We have macaroni and cheese in Arkansas. And, for the most part, everything else involves cheese in one way or another, too.

  • shani-o

    I’m just sorry for all of y’all who don’t get curry goat and jerk chicken during the holidays.

  • LaJane Galt

    NC (OH, SC, MS) we have Mac & cheese. It is by far my favorite part of tgiving. Damn the turkey. POUND CAKE!!

    I’m starting a campaign to get people to stop cooking collards to death. They should be green & crunchy, not brown & mushy.

    • YEP. We had kale. Also green and crunchy.

  • My family is mostly the cotillion type Southerners from GA (yet surprisingly very liberal)who emigrated down into FL and our Thanksgiving menu does not have mac and cheese. Its all southern food, and I have never liked it. I’m gonna guess this mac and cheese is a Yankee invention.

  • My guess is that like most Southern foods, it’s a Southern thing that both white and black people do, but black people got there first (same for collards at Thanksgiving). I’m from NC and our typical Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, mac ‘n’ cheese, collards, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole (with that sugary pecan topping), mashed potatoes, cornbread or corn pudding, and of course pumpkin and pecan pies.

  • G.D., we are going to fight.

    Thanksgiving at Mom’s normally includes:

    Mac & Cheese
    Crab Meat Stuffing
    Overcooked Greens (agreed with LaJane!)
    Curry Chicken
    sweet potato casserole
    sweet potato pie
    pumpkin pie (yes, black people do eat that, thank you.)
    cornbread AND dinner rolls

    and whatever else mom likes to make to amuse herself, normally potato salad, some kind of roast, deviled eggs, string beans, and other things as she feels.

    • quadmoniker

      We have potato salad on the holidays too. My uncle used to bake the potatoes to make the salad, instead of boil them; it makes it so much better.

  • Scipio Africanus

    I want to try that green bean casserole with the La Choy onions. That looks good to me.

  • Zesi

    This Thanksgiving:

    candied yams (my contribution)
    cranberry sauce
    rolls (sister schubert…we cheated)
    mustard and turnip greens (collards are for losers)
    two different macaroni and cheeses
    some kind of fruit salad
    green beans
    mashed potatoes
    potato salad
    …desserts were all bought, but tasty

    usually we have sweet potato pie and souffle, but mama couldn’t make it this Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie is sacrilege—my father almost blew up when someone brought that thing into the house.

  • steve

    Pumpkin Pie is not restricted to white people.

    However macaroni and cheese is rarely served by white people (perhaps southern ones…). I’ve had mac and cheese at amish restaurants before but its not the same and its not baked.

    White people do eat mac and cheese baked , it just really isnt a holiday thing.

    I always viewed it as a winter comfort food.. or we ate it on fridays during lent since we couldnt eat meat.

    We eat : Green bean caseerole, turkey, stuffing, squash, mashed potatoes, and sometimes sauteed mushrooms (its an italian thing). Also, we eat ravioli and meatballs christmas eve. Christmas is always roast beef with the same sides as thanksgiving minus the stuffing and cranberry sauce. We have ham on easter.

  • Huh…maybe my southern family had a lot of lactose intolerant progyny and that’s why we’ve never had mac and cheese.

  • Dr. Bitch needs to quit trippin’ – I’ve eaten at many a (Southern) white household where baked mac & cheese was a weekly staple.

    I wonder what troll food endears him or her to the good ‘ol USA?

    PS – my uncle roasted a duck for Thanksgiving (all dark meat!)

  • Pingback: Arroz Con Beans | I HATE Macaroni and Cheese()

  • SEK

    I think this is another case of non-Southerners not recognizing the difference between Southern and “black” cuisine. All the stereotypes that accompany “black” cuisine–mac and cheese, fried chicken, greens, and basically everything except watermelons–are staples of Southern cooking generally. (At least outside of Cajun country, but Cajun food’s a jambalaya in the best, most culture-defying sense of the term.) There’s a great article somewhere or other about how the second Great Migration caused all sorts of confusion about what’s black and what’s Southern: because the people who brought the cuisine out of the South were predominantly black, racists outside the South mistakenly associated that cuisine with blacks, etc. Damn it, I wish I could find that article. Hold on a minute, I’ll be right back.

  • Nina

    WHAT???!??!?!??! Sorry but I’m blogjacking tonight.

    Jambalaya is a creole food- a synthesis of african, spanish, french and native american cooking and is related to paella and arroz con pollo. Ok ok, yeah Cajuns have jambalaya but Im not letting them claim it. Sorry we need another example to illustrate Cajun food!!!

    Now, about the origins of Southern food. Watermelon, okra and even the fondness for rice are all from Africa. In the Gulf Coast areas there is a strong AfroCaribbean influence. The foodways of all Southerners, black and white (save the Cajuns since I just talked some smack about them) are very heavily influenced by the cooking of the Africans who were employed (or enslaved) as cooks in the South.There is significant overlape between Southern and Black, I dont think they can be entirely separated.

    A very good book discusses the cuisine of Africans and African descendants in the Americas. Beyond Gumbo : Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim. And I just BET this site has a ton of info on macaroni and cheese.

    Now that I have ruined all the fun and derailed the convo with my hateration and pontification, Im going to go finish eating my potato soup. Im unfortunately restricted to liquids this week.Now THAT is unappetizing, the most bland food in the world made into SOUP? Thank gawd I had some bacon to put in there.

    Oh- 1st time commenter long time reader.”Hi”!

  • Ladyfresh

    you know, I *just* taught my mom how to make mac and cheese this year and she taught me collards.

  • mac & cheese at thanksgiving is primarily a *southern* thing that black folks carried to other parts of the country. ditto sweet potatoes, preferably mashed, roasted, or in pie. that’s 1/2 of the menu at my southern-turned-northern-turned-southern-again family’s thanksgiving.

    strangely enough, lasagna is not unheard of among my people at thanksgiving.

    what i can’t cotton to is mashed potatoes or green bean casserole at thanksgiving dinner. THAT’S JUST WRONG.

  • LA Chicana here. Most years we don’t have mac and cheese. We usually have turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, Mexican rice, stuffing and dinner rolls. We only have cranberry sauce if one of the non-Mexican in-laws is present. No green beans and no sweet potatoes. For dessert we always have home made pumpkin pie plus some other pastry.

    I prefer Christmas food much more. Tamales!

  • Zesi

    Daddy Zes loves tamales…been eating them since he was a wee one in Mississippi. Interesting story of how they got there…

    You know, I’ve never eaten them. Maybe I should try!

  • Yeah, after some tweeting back and forth and consultation with my KY-raised (white, foreign-born) husband, I think there was a rough consensus that mac&cheese at Tgiving dinner was a southern thing, and that it was coincidence that the 2 or 3 tweets I saw about it that morning were all from black tweeple. Either that or my southern internet acquaintance is disproportionately black.

    It’s weird that I’d never heard of it, though; I generally like southern food a lot.

  • 4th or 5th generation Irish-Catholic from Boston. We typically always had:

    turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed turnip, broccoli n cheese (velveeta and breadcrumbs), stuffing, cranberries, and corn. My mom eventually married a Virginian and sweet potatoes (done all different ways, but usually w/lots of bourbon) have been added to the list, and the corn and broc n cheese (my aunt’s specialty) have been dropped.

    We’ve never been pumpkin pie people. Apple and blueberry pies, and whoopie pies!!

    My grandmother always made those and now my cousins are taking turns.

  • blackink12

    Yeah. I come from one of those handful of Southern families that doesn’t have mac & cheese at the table. When I asked, I found out it’s almost entirely because my mom doesn’t like that dish.

    But we most definitely aren’t missing anything when it comes to starches.

    Also, cranberry sauce should be a year-round delicacy. I don’t know why I forget about it until late November.

  • ChocolateGirlWonder

    Mac & Cheese is the best part of any meal!

    PS Can I get your aunt’s recipe? It looks really good. I’d make it tomorrow!