Latinx Files: JP Brammer’s list of things to be thankful for on Sansgiving

A graphic combines images of celebrities and one of syringes.
Clockwise from left: Bennifer at the Venice International Film Festival, Lady Gaga at the U.K. premiere of “House of Gucci,” Adele on CBS, and our weapon against COVID.
(Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; P. Lehman / Barcroft Media via Getty Images; Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images; Cliff Lipson / CBS via Getty Images)

Hi everyone, this is Angel Rodriguez, editor of this newsletter, pitching in while Fidel Martinez is taking a much needed vacation for a couple of weeks. As it’s Thanksgiving and we’ve logged a full year of Latinx Files, Fidel and I are incredibly grateful to all our subscribers. We’ve both learned as we’ve gone along, and thanks to you we have exceeded all our goals for the newsletter.

One of the goals that Fidel had from the start was highlighting the incredible talent of Latinx creators. Over our weekly coffees, he kept talking about being given this opportunity and how we wanted to make sure that the door that was opened for him stayed open for others. That theme has been our guiding light over the last year.

With Fidel on vacation, we wanted to welcome another person through that door. This week we are highlighting author and illustrator JP Brammer, whom we highlighted in the newsletter earlier this year.


My LatinX list of things I’m thankful for in 2021

Welcome back to the Latinx Files. It’s me, John Paul Brammer, better known on the internet and on Grindr as ¡Hola Papi! I’ll be guest writing this week. The joke in the title above is that the “X” in LatinX is the Roman numeral 10, and these are the 10 Latinx things I’m thankful for this year. Pretty clever of me, all things considered.


‘30’ (pronounced treinta) by Adele

Is this really a Latinx thing? Yes, because I am Mexican and I listened to it, and I’m happy to report that Adele “la Bombalera” Laurie Azul Adkins put her entire chancla into this album. I’m not sure what kind of shoes British people stereotypically wear. Loafers?


I will never forget Jennifer Lopez singing “Let’s Get Loud” at President Biden’s inauguration amid the ashes of an attempted insurrection mere weeks prior. My soul left my body. Did a better, stronger America rise up from those ashes like a phoenix? Not necessarily, but Bennifer did. I feel like anything is possible now. That’s the power of JLo.

Pfizer and Modernx

Moderna? Modernx? Moderne? It’s unclear, but what is clear is that I finally get to spend this Thanksgiving with my family in Oklahoma. I’m so glad Dolly Parton invented the vaccine, thus also ensuring I get to have tamales on Christmas next month. No shade to my New York friends who offered me a wide variety of casseroles last year.

¡Hola Papi!

As a Chicano, I must constantly be hustling like a shark that will die if it stops moving. I had to grind for this brief L.A. Times mention. Buy my book. Gracias!

Salma Hayek, generally speaking

Whether she knows it or not, Salma is my tía. When I see her on the big screen, I elbow the person next to me, even if it’s a complete stranger, and say, “That’s my tía.” Seeing her press tour for “The Eternals” is the best part of “The Eternals.”

‘House of Gucci’

Speaking of press tours, Lady Gaga is doing one right now for “Casa de Gucci” that I can only call Mexican. When she said she was snooping around the Capitol ahead of her inauguration performance looking for signs of the insurrection, it reminded me of how my abuela would also unhinge her jaw sometimes and just start saying stuff. Iconic.

Maluma’s character in ‘Encanto’

Be still, my gay little heart: Maluma’s character in “Encanto” just blew every other Pixar dad out of the water. It’s so important that hot Colombians are represented accurately in the media.


When I saw that my guy, my dude, my ese Shea Serrano got the greenlight for his show “Primo,” I was so excited. It makes me happy to think a show about a Chicano kid growing up in San Antonio is getting support. You can bet your nalgas I’ll be watching as soon as I humanly can.

Christian, my Spanish tutor

Bless this man and his patience. As soon as that first chunk of my book advance hit, I hired a Spanish tutor to work on completing my transformation into a “real Mexican.” Christian doesn’t judge me when I accidentally refer to “dinner” as “cinema.” I would die for him.

Los Angeles horchata (that comes in those ugly cups)

There is an inverse relationship to the aesthetic beauty of the cup and the quality of the horchata in it. If the cup is ugly as sin, I mean like those free cups that the church keeps around for the old people, then the horchata is about to slap. I sampled horchata every single day during my last L.A. trip, and this is what I’m looking forward to the most in 2022.

We made it, mi gente. Be kind to yourself this year.

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El Sansgiving recalentado

Last year during Thanksgiving, this newsletter had only just launched. Our current subscriber numbers dwarf those from the early days, so we thought we’d give the people who might have missed last year’s version a taste of our Sansgiving stories.

Fidel put out a call asking our readers how they celebrated Thanksgiving and how they incorporated their Latinx favorites into the more traditional holiday customs.

Read our full Thanksgiving newsletter here with a Q&A with chef Alejandra Ramos.

From the Latinx Files archives:

For those of you whose families hail from Puerto Rico, there’s pavochón, which is turkey seasoned like a lechón.

Salvadoran American respondents touted pan con chumpe, either as leftovers or as the main course. If you’ve never had this delicious sandwich, you’re missing out.

For the Mexican Americans among you, el guajolote is served as tamales, pozole, mole or even birria. Like the pan con chumpe, these are eaten as the main meal or as leftovers.

Of course, not everyone is eating turkey for Thanksgiving. Some Cuban Americans eat lechón asado, some Argentinian Americans go with churrasco, and there are Colombian Americans eating sancocho de rés — a beefy broth.

And then there are the sides, oh my! Who needs green bean casserole, regular ol’ boring stuffing or cranberry sauce when y’all are eating everything from mofongo stuffing, congri oriental, tequeños and pasteles en hoja? Oh, and tortillas instead of cornbread.

Mashed potatoes are a staple for some of you, but even they have a Latinx twist, whether they have chile relleno or green chiles.

Not all Latinx Thanksgiving traditions involve food. A few of you mentioned eating dinner very late, the next day or in some cases not at all. I can relate. Growing up, celebrating this holiday was a rarity for my family, and when we did have it, it was usually thanks to the kindness of friends or extended family inviting us into their home.

Regardless of how you celebrate, I hope that you are doing it safely, and if you can’t be with your family this year, here’s hoping that you can next Thanksgiving.

The best thing on the Latinternet

Although Fidel is in Mexico for Thanksgiving and his yearly tradition of watching the Cowboys and expecting them to lose, he did shoot this great video of visiting the streets of Oaxaca and just walking into this celebration. It is a great reminder to all of us to enjoy the time we have because nothing is guaranteed.

And now for something completely different ...

"Our food is a one constant we can cook almost anywhere."
(Valeria Olguín / For The Times)

Valeria Olguín is a Xicana visual artist and community organizer raised between South San Francisco and her mom’s burrito shop. She refers to her work as lighthearted love letters, using it to connect with others with similar experiences and identities through shared joy.

“This illustration is for our migrant Latinx communities as the holidays approach. Our food is one constant we can cook almost anywhere. Our food is a staple that we use to express love and create community. While holidays as migrants communities will never be the same as they are in our home countries, we create new traditions with our new communities, sharing plates over stories and loud voices!”

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