Brothers Campfire on Embracing Melting Pots


Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here.

Cassa Bassa told me she learns about my culture when I write about things

I never thought about it like that. I was raised in Colorado Springs, a melting pot of cultures due to numerous military bases.

Imposter syndrome is apparently a thing where folks have an internalized fear that at some point they will be exposed as a fraud. I don’t understand this concept at all; everything I have I fought tooth and nail with few freebies. No fraud fear here.

A military brat, I have absorbed a lot from different cultures. In a world of political correctness, there is no way to describe it without offense to some demographic. I will end up doing it anyway and hoping for the best.

I think imposter syndrome should have a different meaning, like taking something like a Holiday from a group and making it your own. For example, I am all over Cinco De Mayo and it has nothing to do with me or where my ancestors are from. I have read enough about it to score free Mexican food from my neighbors. I have also learned smatterings of Spanish to score these lovely delectables from numerous “donors.”

I have literally no fear of being found to not be Mexican, and I will impost as long as I can. (is that a verb?) This should be imposter syndrome if you ask me, but I don’t make the decisions about such things.

Well Cassa Bassa, I don’t know If I qualify to speak of culture, but here is a bit about Thanksgiving.

Our traditions are made up. When I was a child, it was my responsibility to prepare the turkey. I have passed this on to my son who prepared it this year without assistance. He opted to bake it legs down for super moist white meat and he succeeded.

My dad has made a tradition of reading a poem called When Father Carves The Duck.

When Father Carves the Duck  (1891) 
by Ernest Vincent Wright

We all look on with anxious eyes
When Father carves the duck
And mother almost always sighs
When Father carves the duck
Then all of us prepare to rise
And hold our bibs before our eyes
And be prepared for some surprise
When Father carves the duck.

He braces up and grabs a fork
Whene’er he carves a duck
And won’t allow a soul to talk
Until he’s carved the duck.
The fork is jabbed into the sides
Across the breast the knife he slides
While every careful person hides
From flying chips of duck.

The platter’s always sure to slip
When Father carves a duck.
And how it makes the dishes skip!
Potatoes fly amuck!
The squash and cabbage leap in space
We get some gravy in our face
And Father mutters Hindu grace
Whene’er he carves a duck.

We then have learned to walk around
the dining room and pluck
From off the windowsills and walls
Our share of Father’s duck
While Father growls and blows and jaws
And swears the knife was full of flaws
And Mother laughs at him because
He couldn’t carve a duck.

It is an entertaining bit and a family tradition.

This year, we elected to have Thanksgiving at home and missed this part.

We had turkey, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, bread rolls, deviled eggs, and stuffing.

White meat and cranberry sauce is almost always my favorite part of a Thanksgiving dinner.

All this made me think of my neighbor from Moscow. She cooked a turkey today and spent several days preparing it just right.

Several months ago, she celebrated the Fourth of July so vibrantly that the air smelled acrid for days.

She is more festive and patriotic than me. Is she an imposter? Absolutely not. She is part of the melting pot, embracing and absorbing the best parts of our culture. She is an American in all respects.

Perhaps one day I can convince her that I think Aleksandr Karelin is the baddest dude on earth so I can get some free food. I doubt it. She has caught me imposting in the past.

Thanks for reading the ramble, I hope your Thanksgiving was amazing!

Author: Benjamin

Benjamin Thiel is a community leader, urban farmer, and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire. He might know a guy...

28 thoughts on “Brothers Campfire on Embracing Melting Pots

  1. Ryan Callahan says:

    Your Thanksgiving feast looks delicious. We have found Florida to be a melting pot too. People from all over the country & the world live here, especially the snowbirds from the northern states & east coast, and folks from Cuba, Mexico, and the Central & South American countries. Your Thanksgiving meal looks a lot like ours. It was a blessed and tasty day for sure. Blessings!

  2. Ritish Sharma says:

    I love this poetic tradition of yours.

    And I think the Impostor syndrome is just the self doubt, that we are here because of that dumb luck. We live the possibility of success to others because we don’t seem to ourselves to be competitive and deserving with people around us.

  3. leendadll says:

    Is there any consolation in knowing Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo? It’s totally an American thing. Now, Dia de los Muertos….

    I enjoy celebrating almost all non-American holidays… not cultural appropriation, I simply enjoy new things.

    Looks like you had an amazing traditional feast! I wish I could be there for leftover turkey sammiches on rolls. I miss that! And “thanksgiving dinner” sandwiches… everything, including gravy & stuffing, between bread. Honestly, please post a pick of any snacks/meals of leftovers!!

  4. ogaraderrick says:

    I wouldn’t call it “imposing” either if your culture is made of different cultures.
    I would keep that neighbour close just for the celebrations 🤣

      1. Herb says:

        Thank you! I take that as high praise coming from a reader such as yourself.

  5. filipamoreiradacruz says:

    What a beautiful tradition! The whole world 🌎 is a melting pot. Your meal looks delicious! 😋

    1. Benjamin says:

      Mouthwatering, melt in the mouth delicious! Indeed! The world is a melting pot! Great to hear from you!

      1. filipamoreiradacruz says:

        We are four brothers and sisters and we live in four different countries. My husband is French and one of my brothers in law is Italian. Our family reunions are a melting pot too. Thank you for being here.

        1. Benjamin says:

          Thank you for being part of the Campfire! You are a gentle soul that I like being around! Here! Have some hot chocolate!

          1. filipamoreiradacruz says:

            Here, it’s stormy and cold. I’ll accept your hot chocolate with pleasure. 🍫😋 Your blog is a amazing.

  6. Cassa Bassa says:

    I enjoy your father’s reading and what a fun poem to read around dinner table. I love family meals of generations are together to celebrate. It is evidence of God’s grace. We are only a small family here (my parents, us and my son), so I miss being in China. My parents are both the oldest of 5 children. So we have decent sized family in China. What I missed most is the family banter and the traditional meals which are very simple but delicious food: soya chicken, radish cake, baked sweet potatoes and lots green vegetables (we are from the sub tropical climate so lots fruits and vegs.)

    1. Benjamin says:

      I am sorry that you are missing your family, Cassa Bassa.

      The food, well, I would like to try soya chicken and radish cake. Those are new to me!

  7. Petra says:

    Looks delicious! I think imposter syndrome usually applies to work more than culture, and at this point most of the larger cities are melting pots. For example, I celebrate Halloween, because I enjoy the idea, but it’s not part of our original culture here at all. I also celebrate Christmas even though I’m not religious, but it is part of the culture here. So, I think it’s totally ok to celebrate whatever we want, as long we’re not pretentious about it

    1. Benjamin says:

      Sounds like a plan! I think you have a measured approach on this!

    1. Benjamin says:

      Thanks! I used to buy liver and gizzards from KFC. Hot Sauce and Honey.

  8. Terveen Gill says:

    Imbibing qualities and traditions from other cultures is a wonderful thing. Hope you have a great festive season ahead. 🙂

Comments are closed.