Every Meal Matters

Do they celebrate Thanksgiving in Spain? 

On the metro, I eavesdropped on a cute Spanish family’s conversation. A little boy tugged on the leg of his father’s pants, curious about the American holiday. I overheard the father explain to his son, “Well, there’s this day in America. The people in America first shared corn with British people and now they celebrate with turkey.”

This Thanksgiving, Sarah and I hopped into a time machine. We headed back to the 1950s – Tommy Mel’s diner. Welcome to America! This gem of a restaurant sits tucked behind Corte Inglés, a secret refuge for study abroad students, the holy grail of American food. The bubbly waiters at Tommy Mel’s wear classic Pepto-Bismol pink and powder blue uniforms. The girls prance around the diner in pig tails, while the men sport slicked-back Grease hair-dos. The neon walls are decorated with roller girls and English phrases. Shiny metal and sea-foam green plastic booths line the checkered floor. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that I was in the heart of the good ol’ USA.

In my homestay, I’ve learned that the idea of a hamburger remains open to interpretation. Sometimes Peppi makes “hamburgers” for dinner. She prepares her mystery meat patties on a George Foreman grill and pairs them with a stark-white Wonder bun. After a few months, Sarah and I discovered the origin of the interesting purple meat: lamb. We’d been eating lamburgers. 

For Thanksgiving, we treated ourselves to cheeseburgers (my first cheeseburger in nearly four months).

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Happy Thanksgiving! I love you, America, and everyone inside your beautiful borders.

In the wise words of my mama, “Every. Meal. Matters.”

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