Thanksgiving foods graphic

With only two weeks left of classes before fall break, students across Penn State are anticipating all of the food they’ll eat this Thanksgiving.

Gabriel Rodriguez said Thanksgiving is an “all-day festivity” for his family.

“I usually go to my brother’s house with my sister-in-law's family and relatives from my family,” Rodriguez (junior-accounting) said.

Naomi Davis also explained her family’s traditions — which consist of a “huge dinner” and an all-day football watching marathon.

“My parents fry the turkey. It is this huge thing,” Davis (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said. “The turkey is usually really good.”

Faith Finch said she and her family begin the morning by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“We must watch it, or else my mom will throw a fit,” Finch said. “Then we cook all day and have an early dinner with a bunch of our family at our house.”

Abigail Schmitt, unlike Davis, said she’s “not a huge turkey fan.”

“The turkey is just too dry for me,” Schmitt (junior-architectural engineering) said. “My family never makes it right, I guess.”

Some families don’t cook turkeys at all on Turkey Day.

“My family doesn’t like turkey, so sometimes we just substitute for chicken,” Kennais Simms said. “It works because everyone likes chicken.”

Being a first-generation American, Simms (junior-architectural engineering) said both of her parents “didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving growing up,” so her family cooks a “Caribbean dinner” for Thanksgiving.

“My dad loves to just stick to his Jamaican cuisine like curry, chicken and beef stew,” Simms said.

Nayshalinez Cruz also said her family doesn’t have “typical Thanksgiving food.” Rather, her family cooks Hispanic cuisine such as beans and rice, which she makes with her mother and grandmother each Thanksgiving morning.

“Traditionally, [my family] would do ham instead of turkey because I am Hispanic,” Rodriguez said. “For some reason, nobody likes turkey, but I forced everyone to start eating turkey. I despise ham. I don’t think it should be on the table.”

Cruz (freshman-marketing) emphasized this dislike of ham, saying it’s “gross” and that she “[hates] ham so bad.”


Some students said they enjoy the side dishes served at Thanksgiving more so than the main attraction.

Sophia Talotta (junior-accounting) said she doesn’t like turkey, and she “just [eats] all the sides.” She said one of her favorites is stuffing because her mother makes it.

Sophia DeBruin also “likes” stuffing and makes it herself.

“I get fresh bread, I cut it up and leave it to dry out,” DeBruin (junior-accounting) said, describing the process she goes through to make the stuffing. “I enjoy it.”

Taylor Gonet agreed that her favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing.

“Usually my aunt makes it,” Gonet (junior-architectural engineering) said. “She is a really good cook.”

Schmitt said the Thanksgiving “classics” such as “stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls” are her favorite. She also emphasized the importance of having quality bread at Thanksgiving.

“You’ve got to have good rolls,” Schmitt said.

“Personally, I can’t do stuffing,” Mackenzie Freedman said. “The flavors and the texture are too much for me.”

Davis said she once tried a casserole, and she “never had it ever again” because there are “too many textures, and it’s weird.”

Penn State students also shared opinions on what kind of desserts should be served at the Thanksgiving table.

“My mom makes a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert that is so, so good,” Davis said.

Meanwhile, Freedman said she “loves” her grandmother’s homemade apple pie.

“She makes it with the crust and will do the fancy [pattern] on the top,” Freedman said. “It is so good.”

Pie proved to be a popular pick among students.

“Pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream is my go-to dessert for Thanksgiving,” Rodriguez said. “The past two or three years, for some reason, we’ve always bought pumpkin pie from Costco, and they have really good pies.”

Finch said she prefers pecan pie because she makes the pie herself.

“My favorite part is making [the meal] as a family,” Simms said. “On Thanksgiving, we make sure we are all cooking together.”


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