Melissa Scrivani, Associate Life Editor
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of food and family. There’s nothing better than sitting with your loved ones and enjoying a huge, delicious Thanksgiving meal. My family loves Thanksgiving food so much that sometimes my dad will request it as his birthday meal. To me, the best part of the meal would have to be the mashed potatoes. There’s nothing better than a heaping pile of creamy, gooey potatoes covered in gravy. I know that mashed potatoes aren’t really exclusive to Thanksgiving, but there’s something about them that pairs so deliciously with the rest of the meal and makes them taste extra special on this day. There’s also so much you can do with mashed potatoes: you can add cheese, garlic or use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. They can be very smooth or more chunky, no matter what there’s no way to go wrong with mashed potatoes. I’m pretty passionate about potatoes in general, but mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving are the epitome of all potatoes.
Daniel Cohn, Campus Correspondent
This Thanksgiving, give yourself a present and throw your Stove Top stuffing out the window. It’s bland garbage and only serves as a weird dull note on a potentially otherwise lively dinner plate. Stuffing deserves to be the best accoutrement to your turkey outfit, but it’ll only fit that mold when prepared the right way. As autumn melts into winter, cuffing season has arrived, and like each and every one of us, stuffing deserves love. It’s not something you throw on the backburner while stirring the cranberry sauce (Side note: jellied cranberry sauce is TRASH – use real berries, people. Ignore Jacob’s plea later on) – no, tend to it. Every ingredient counts. One of my favorite YouTube channels, Binging With Babish, put together a bulletproof recipe for stuffing a couple Thanksgivings ago, but I’ll relay some key components for the upcoming holiday. Use fresh ingredients. Fresh cut sage. Homemade turkey stock, if you’re down to go the extra mile. Deli-quality sausage (if you’re a meat eater). This might seem nitpicky, but I’m of the belief that every ingredient used on the titular Thanksgiving Thursday matters. By the time you sit down at the table at 4:30 p.m., you’ll be able to withstand your tipsy aunt talk about Trump with some excellent, savory stuffing. It’s simply the greatest T-day dish of them all, when prepared with care.
Calista Giroux, Campus Correspondent
Fall, being my favorite season, always has the best of everything. Especially the food, and whenever I think of fall foods I think of my favorite Thanksgiving side dish: broccoli casserole. This dish was a family recipe that my mother started making for our big family Thanksgivings when I was younger. She got the recipe from her grandmother and she has been perfecting it since before I was born. It consists of broccoli, cheese and breadcrumbs and when served hot will melt the cheese perfectly into the broccoli. Then, you mix the cheese-broccoli in with the breadcrumbs and it has a very Thanksgiving-y taste that is hard to describe. There are many side dishes that my aunts bring every year that are enjoyable, but it is the broccoli casserole that both my cousins and I get seconds of. Members of the family who don’t really like broccoli usually enjoy eating it, because it’s so much more than just the vegetable. There’s also so many memories associated with the dish: sitting in an extremely cramped dining room telling everyone what we are thankful for, taking long walks in the woods with my cousins and playing tag after we had finished eating. Thanksgiving is always something I look forward to, and although each year is different, my family still keeps the same Thanksgiving traditions and, thankfully, the broccoli casserole is always there to remind me of the holidays.
Hollie Lao, Campus Correspondent
I have always believed that the side dishes of the beloved Thanksgiving dinner to be the true stars of the show. No one should judge you for having a hefty plate if it’s filled with sides, because who is to fault you if you just want to try “a little bit of everything?” Yes, sides are an excuse to eat more and I’m not sorry – I’m thankful. My favorite side dish, macaroni and cheese, might not be one of the traditional Thanksgiving sides, such as mashed potatoes or stuffing, but I believe it has emerged as a rising side dish to our Turkey Day dinners, akin to how Pluto is a favorite planet of many… even if it’s not technically a planet. Deprived of cheesy foods as a child – it’s not a sob story, my mom was just allergic to dairy, and thus, did not make anything with dairy – macaroni and cheese has a nostalgic and comforting allure of a childhood revisited. The versatility of the dish, from a crispy crumb top, to the plethora of add-ins, from bacon to even more cheese, can elevate macaroni and cheese from a humble pot of happiness to a sophisticated casserole fresh out of the broiler. You don’t even need to use macaroni – from shells, to penne, to fusilli, macaroni and cheese is such a universal dish that it tastes good even if you change one of the ingredients in the name. And the amount of ideas for leftovers is just as extensive. You can put in different add-ins of your choice, eat it on pizza, fry it as mac and cheese balls – the possibilities are endless. And so is my love for macaroni and cheese.
Meghan Shaw, Campus Correspondent
Thanksgiving is a time for family, togetherness and tradition and, to me, few things can connect the three like the stuffing that has been a constant on my family’s table for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was hesitant to try the mishmash of bread, sausage, celery and an array of other ingredients no one besides the chef was privy to. However, after overcoming my fear, I understood why it has stuck around for so long. There is nothing that brings up memories of fall and Thanksgiving like stuffing does. The secret recipe was recently passed down to my cousin so she can carry on the tradition, and now it even has a vegetarian-friendly counterpart to ensure all members of the family can enjoy this classic side dish. Its unique combination of flavors can be paired with any other dish, allowing it to pull the entire meal together. It is not only delicious during Thanksgiving dinner, but also on turkey sandwiches we make the next day. Stuffing is a time-tested and versatile side dish that has more than earned its place on the table, and on my plate.
Jacob Kowalski, Opinion Editor
During Thanksgiving, we all have a lot to be thankful for: family, friends, not having school. Near the top of the list for me, under family and about the same as friends, is cranberry sauce. Not just any cranberry sauce, mind you. Only Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce (yeah, I said jellied, Daniel) can sate my desires. Why Ocean Spray? Well, because in some deep dark laboratory they perfected the recipe. Their sauce pairs incredibly with other Thanksgiving food and also tastes great on its own. It’s a simple ingredient list: cranberries (obviously), high fructose corn syrup, water and corn syrup. Now you might be thinking that they’re using too much corn syrup. But the people at Ocean Spray are the experts and it tastes great, so I’ll eat it without any regard for how unhealthy it is. Thanksgiving is basically a cheat day. I’m not popping cans of cranberry down my gullet most of the year, so when Thanksgiving comes around I can put sugary, syrupy goodness into my body without any regard for my personal health. Good thing too, because the way it slides so easily down one’s throat means you can eat a whole can without even noticing.