Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday. A time to gather with close friends and family, reflect and be grateful for each other. And a tomboy Thanksgiving is, if anything, a little better. This holiday, we want to share the traditions of one of our favorite tomboys, our Director of Product Development, Julie Nomi. Julie is not only the person behind the exceptional quality and comfort of your favorite undies, but she is also a part of a family of Italian and Japanese history, and Thanksgiving traditions that span from coast to coast.
What does Thanksgiving Day look like in your family?
It has looked very different over my lifetime, from my childhood, to my years in Boston and now back in the Pacific Northwest. We are currently living in Seattle, so most years we have it at my brother’s home with family and many friends - it’s a party! Socializing, lots of potlucked Asian and to each his own family cross-cultural favorites. Not just the turkey, but at least 3 or 4 main dishes. The meal spans all nationalities and diets. Everything from vegetarian to vegan, diabetic. You’ll eat fresh sushi and roasted turkey. It’s a big contrast from our Thanksgivings on the East Coast.
How were they different?
We lived in Boston over 30 years and would drive to Pennsylvania to share the holiday with my husband’s family. These were the Thanksgiving dinners people of think of when they recall Norman Rockwell pictures - but with their Italian twist . Very traditional New England style with extended family. We started with a shared experience of cooking in the kitchen and catching up with each other. Some just came for dessert. And the next day we’d have leftovers and homemade calzones or stromboli and pepperoni stuffed mushrooms at one of the uncle and aunt’s home. These family Thanksgiving dinners are few and far between now as the kids grow up, and are special to me.
What traditions have you carried forward from your childhood?
Growing up in a family of Americanized Japanese traditions, our Thanksgiving was eclectic. The first thing that comes to mind is waking up to the smell of dried shrimp boiling. This was used for the sushi. Most of my family lives in Portland, Oregon, so we would drive down from Seattle each year for the holiday. We had this special rice dish made with red beans called Adzuki Gohan. The color from the beans turns the rice pink. It’s not as tangy as sushi rice, but does have a bit of vinegar, black sesame and sugar mixed in. And then there were the American foods like giblets and chestnuts stuffing that Gran’pa made. I have to admit, giblets and chestnuts are no longer allowed in my stuffing. One of my happiest food memories is of my Aunty Molly. She’s 94-years-old now. She still makes the best sticky buns. The best part is she would wait until we sat down for dinner to bake them and the aroma would fill the house. I have kept this tradition and prepare the buns each Christmas.
Has it changed now that your daughter Keiko is in college?
This is the big change. We go to my brother’s house. She goes to my sister-in-law’s house in Pennsylvania. In a way, she is keeping our family tradition alive!
What is your favorite dish?
The vegetables and salads. But really, I could be happy with apps, dessert and a glass of wine! I usually make a new vegetable dish or tart every year.
What do you hope to pass on to Keiko?
Sharing the time with family. Just pause. Hit the pause button.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?
My greatest memory is visiting my grandparents in Portland, Oregon. I would get to see all of my cousins. My grandmother would make American apple pie and manju, a Japanese dessert. We would cook adzuki beans and green soy beans. Then we’d sweeten them and grind them into a paste. The paste would be used to fill little flakey pastries. They weren’t too sweet. Perfect for after a big meal.
What’s your favorite TomboyX product?
The Feeling Frisky boxer brief. It’s the foundation of all the underwear we have developed since. While' it's been one of our first products, we are focused on continued improvement, so I still have opportunities to work with it from time to time.