Thanksgiving is the day of the year where you can eat your body weight in food and no one will pass judgment.
The familiar and mouth-watering flavors that come to mind when the words mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, or pumpkin pie are said bring Americans a warm sense of familiarity.
Even within this cultural familiarity, however, no two families are the same in their traditions. What’s familiar to one person might be unheard of to another.
As families gather together on this day as a time to give thanks, traditions differ from family to family.
For some families, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade before they eat is the norm. Or perhaps drawing names for a Christmas exchange is common for others. But the food we eat is where most people seek comfort on this holiday and families have distinctive, unique food traditions.
Sara Polatas, sophomore exercise science major, said her family doesn’t eat traditional rolls on Thanksgiving.
Instead Polatas said, “On Thanksgiving my family eats pugotch. It’s a bread with cheese and potatoes in it. It’s really good; you can put pepperoni in it too.”
Junior community health major Amber Bourcier’s family also eats a potato and cheese dish on Thanksgiving.
“Our family eats potato lasagna, where you sauté onions and butter, put a bottom layer, then add bow noodles, sprinkle mozzarella and colby jack cheese on top, and layer it. It’s like a huge pierogi, but it’s better than a pierogi.”
Unique food traditions can also be found in families’ choice of entrée.
[pullquote]46 million turkeys were consumed on Thanksgiving day in 2011 (history.com)[/pullquote]
With 46 million turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving day in 2011, according to history.com, turkey is a staple at most Thanksgiving tables. But how about squid?
While this isn’t the traditional entrée found on most families’ Thanksgiving tables, it is what senior sports management major Tony Migliozzi knows and loves best.
Squid, often known as calamari, is one of the main dishes on his dinner table on Thanksgiving day.
“I eat calamari every year. I love it, it’s my favorite food. It’s normal to me,” Migliozzi said.
[pullquote]The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and was over 12 feet long (Guinness World Records) [/pullquote]
Pumpkin pie is the main dessert associated with Thanksgiving, with 1.5 billion pumpkins grown in the United States each year according to history.com.
However, senior education major Rachel Carter’s family eats a different sweet treat.
“We put applesauce in our jello, Carter said. “When it’s still liquid you add applesauce and it gets chunky and foggy instead of clear. We use strawberry jello usually.”
The two by themselves are not rare, but together, it adds a new twist to a classic.
What’s customary to some families might be peculiar to others, but however common or strange, these foods have become traditions that students hold dear.
Madison Schuler is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.