OHS Students Gobble Up Family Specialties on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day celebrating the autumn harvest and a time to look back and admire the blessings over the past year. And this year it was on the twenty-fourth. Many families celebrate by having a large feast with distant relatives and friends where everyone brings a dish or drink. Most Thanksgivings have traditional food such as turkey, pumpkin, and/or apple pie, dinner rolls, and gravy just to name a few. Many OHS students stick to this tradition including Erin Choi and Ismail Kashif.

“We usually serve ham, cornbread, and mashed potatoes. My family doesn’t really like the taste of turkey because it’s really dry, so we mostly just have ham at Thanksgiving. The ham tastes a bit salty, but still much better than dry turkey,” said freshman Erin Choi.

“[Our family usually eats] chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, stuffing, and biscuits. We don’t like to make cultural food because it doesn’t feel as special since we have it every day,” said freshman Ismail Kashif.

Despite the many students who stay with traditional meals, there are some who chose to prepare more unique food. Tamarindo and a log cake made with a secret family recipe are just some of the unique foods OHS brings to the table. So what is behind these family specialties? 

“[My family tends to make] tamales, the one made out of chicken, vegetables, and wrapped in plantain leaves, which isn’t too unusual, but not something everyone eats. As for dessert, we have a Hispanic banana pudding that tastes different from any banana pudding I’ve had. For beverages, there is tamarindo, which is like a brown drink made out of seeds and it tastes sweet and bitter,” freshman Heyle Cortez said.

 “We have something unique which is a log cake that my aunt makes. It’s really chocolatey and rich. When you eat it you can feel its cakeyness and the moist surface on the roof of your mouth in a good way,” said freshman Alice Hertz.

Many families prepare a common turkey meal with stuffing and gravy, but it seems that a good number of OHS students like chicken better. Many students dislike how dry turkey tastes and its lack of variation.  So what’s better: chicken or turkey?

“Chicken is 100% better than turkey. Turkey is really dry and never tastes like it’s cooked right. You need to really try if you want to make chicken taste bad — it’s just hard to mess up. I just think that chicken goes well with a lot more things compared to turkey,” freshman Lily Lucero said.

“Chicken is way better than turkey. You can cook chicken in so many different ways; it can be fileted, fried, roasted, or literally anything. Turkey is just light or dark meat,” said freshman Victoria Ingram. 

One student at OHS believes neither chicken nor turkey to be the winner. She prefers ham as the main dish at Thanksgiving. 

“Personally I think ham is the best food for Thanksgiving, but it’s kind of saved for Christmas. If I had to choose one of the two, I’d probably choose chicken over turkey because turkey is lacking in flavor and I just can’t deal with the dryness,” said freshman Sophia Vandivere.

Drinks are always necessary to have with the main course, from simple sodas to fancy seasonal ciders, it’s really just something Thanksgiving can’t do without. OHS families make tons of different drinks, some of which are unique to a certain family.

“My aunt makes apple cider with lots of cinnamon and granny smith apples. That’s kind of the only thing we have other than water, but it’s still really good,” said freshman Alice Hertz. 

“We drink sprite and this fake champagne drink, it has no alcohol. Sunny D is my favorite, it’s cool to drink and it’s bubbly,” freshman Paola Almazàn said.

A meal isn’t complete without dessert; pies are known to be paired with Thanksgiving — more specifically pumpkin pie, but there are so many more desserts out there. So what other desserts do OHS students have at the table? 

“Besides pie, we have pound cake and cherry cobbler. Cherry cobbler is this dessert that has cherries at the bottom of the dish and has some type of cake covering it, along with nuts on the top,” freshman Destiny Payne said.

“Apple pie with ice cream goes really well together. But besides pie we bring kheer. Kheer is a dessert that includes milk and half-and-half cooked down until it gets thick, with some sugar and vermicelli noodles. It tastes rich, creamy, and sweet,” said freshman Ismail Kashif.

At the Thanksgiving table, there can be some strong opinions, to say the least, but the strongest is always about food. We all have that one family member whose dish is always something spectacular and looked forward to; who is that relative for OHS?

“Me, I bring the best dish. I bring apple dumplings. It’s like a regular dumpling with cinnamon sugar. It’s easy to make and it tastes good,” freshman Paola Almazàn said.

“My grandma. She brings the turkey. It’s crispy and juicy at the same time, that’s why it’s the best. She brings it every year,” freshman Lexi Hill said.

“Pineapple upside down cake. It tastes like bready pineapple and like it’s from the tropics. It feels chewy and a bit crunchy in your mouth because of the crumbs and pineapple,” said freshman Sophia Vandivere.

You don’t have to like everything served at Thanksgiving. There are always dishes that some people don’t like; what are dishes OHS students dislike?

“When I was younger I didn’t like mashed potatoes. They added a lot of veggies and all I could taste was that. It was disgusting,” freshman Heyle Cortez said.

“Turkey. It wasn’t cooked well. I don’t even think it was cooked. When my family tried cooking it, it took forever. We didn’t even get to eat it all at the end said freshman Erin Choi.

Leftovers are very common after Thanksgiving as it’s one of the biggest meals of the year and there are many different ways people combat this. Oftentimes they are just reheated and eaten on the days following Thanksgiving. 

“Yes, we end up with a couple of leftovers. However we give our leftovers away to the guests, but we also keep some,”  freshman Akessa Avila said.

“Yeah, I end up with leftovers. We end up eating them within the span of two days though. But we don’t give them to anyone,” said freshman Mathew Whitesell.

Regardless of location and time zone, there are many different times to eat Thanksgiving which is very important to consider for balanced digestion. Eating too late in the day can cause you to feel bloated when going to sleep, and eating too early may not satisfy you until going to bed. How do OHS families keep their meals balanced?

“We usually eat around 7:00 p.m. Our table is set up with the bigger dishes on the outside and the smaller plates in the middle,” said freshman Nicole Brotherton.

“Thanksgiving should be eaten at 3:00 p.m. because you have time to cook and be hungry. It also gives your stomach time to digest so you don’t feel stuffed going to bed,” freshman Sarah Hill said.

Numerous families don’t just limit themselves to the traditional Thanksgiving menu. As you read there are so many other dishes served. With this in mind, some people think that the menu needs an upgrade. 

“Pizza, everyone loves pizza. It’s very versatile, and it’s easy to make,” said freshman Ismail Kashif.

“Apple pie, not pumpkin pie. Apple pie is the best pie there is. It’s because it reminds me of the time with my family. I eat it every time I go to the fair with my family,” freshman Lexi Steinmetz.

“I think shepherd’s pie should be at every Thanksgiving meal because it has the same vibe as all the other foods so why shouldn’t it be included,” said freshman Sarah Hill.