I accidentally spent my first ever Thanksgiving with a family of Trump supporters and I’m thankful for it

Anastasia Miari
9 min readNov 25, 2020

“Did y’all see Melania’s dress the other day?” was the first clue.

Two English girls, driving through Texas

It was 2019, pre-mask wearing, pre-travel bans, pre-covid and the forthcoming US election was still an entire year away. We were two British girls on a five-week road trip, snaking through the B roads of the southern states of the USA, culminating in Thanksgiving in Texas.

We had no contacts in the US, just a mission to drive across the bible belt in our little Ford Fiesta, taking as many foodie pit-stops as possible in a bid to better understand what America’s all about through its food. We’d had our fill of New York and its bagels. We’d spent enough time in LA eating organic salad. This trip was all about seeing the real America, not another city akin to London in its multiculturalism.

And so we found ourselves driving alongside monster trucks trailing billowing TRUMP flags (I can’t say which shocked us more- the enormous cars or the Trump trumpeting), through North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana into the red barn dotted, lone star state.

Faced with a Trump flag

It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving 2019 and we’d arrived early at small-town Lexington to interview and cook with Pitmaster and legend, Tootsie Tomanetz. The line was already 200-people deep by the time we arrived and we soon realised what everyone was there for.

Tootsie’s 16-hour slow-cooked barbecue brisket was hot property days before 26th, with many of those around us waiting to walk away with an entire brisket to serve at Thanksgiving.

‘What y’all doing for the holidays?” asked a lycra-clad cyclist from Austin just ahead of. It was only then that it dawned on us that we’d be alone on such a quintessentially ‘American’ holiday.

Snow’s BBQ in Lexington

So our mission began at this barbecue shack in Lexington. The minute anyone struck up conversation, overhearing…



Anastasia Miari

Freelance journalist writing about travel, the environment, food and life for The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times and The Telegraph.