Tortillas for Thanksgiving

Soon it will be time once again to bake the squash bread, the sweet potato biscuits, the apple pie, and to stuff the turkey. It will be time to fill the house with a big crowd of people, to say grace together, and to enjoy the bounty of the harvest. Cooking on Thanksgiving is something I always do...even when in El Salvador.

Last year, we were in El Salvador for Thanksgiving. We were staying at the guest house for the Lutheran church, along with a couple of other North Americans who were serving as missionaries in El Salvador. Our little group decided to make Thanksgiving dinner. We were graciously given full access to the kitchen, and after a trip to Super Selectos, we cooked for those who usually cook for us.

It wasn't fancy. Pulled chicken in creamy gravy. Mashed potatoes. Dinner rolls. Fresh salad. Fruit salad. We couldn't find onion rings or green beans, so we opted for cooked broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. We gathered to say grace together, in one big circle in Spanish and in English. We gave thanks for family far away and family close by, for friends, for the good bean harvest, for the food. Then a long line formed, and we served platefuls of food. We used every plastic plate, bowl and cup in the house, and there was just enough for all to be fed. At some point tortillas appeared on the table. I guess it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving in El Salvador without tortillas.

It was really fun to have such a large gathering - to meet the extended family and share stories about Thanksgiving traditions in our US families. Our Salvadoran friends were very gracious, but truthfully, I don't think mashed potatoes are going to be a new Salvadoran favorite.

This year, along side the pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes on the dining table, I think my family will find a stack of warm tortillas, wrapped in a striped cotton towel. What a fun new tradition to add to our Thanksgiving celebration!


  1. To all of my readers...Happy Thanksgiving! The food is cooking, and along with the turkey, potatoes, and the pie we have a big pot of beans on the stove and te de jamaica cooling outside (where it is freezing!). When the nieces and nephews arrive, they will have the chance to make their own tortillas, granted, on an electric comal. It will be a fun and plentiful feast which blends foods from a variety of traditions which represent our very eclectic family. We are thankful for the chance to share such a banquet, and pray that God help us to provide for those who have nothing to cook today or no family with whom to gather.

  2. Loved your article! the simplest things give us great joy. Yo soy de el salvador but i live in the U.S and i find a soothing peace from knowing what you are doin there in El Salvador and for bringing a Thanksgiving tradition to my fellow men and women.

    Blessings in Christ to you and i pray Jesus magnifies the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge Him to you.

  3. Loved you article as well. I just stumbled upon this reflecting when i went to El Salvador in 2006. I ate as well at that exact table in the synod. It brings back memories with Frankie and Max and Stephanie. My life was definitely changed after that summer there. And as I prepare to head back to El Salvador, Sonsonate to be exact, in november, I look forward to those connections to be made.


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