Thanksgiving Thoughts

Dollars & Sense writers share their stories of meals with family, friends and strangers.
A Good Day at the Soup Kitchen

By Rena Nasar
When Shanae Johnson’s alarm clock went off at 5:30 a.m., she jumped out of bed and started getting ready. Johnson had been looking forward to this day all year, and there was no way she was going to be late. An hour later, after parking her car, she walked through the church doors, put on an apron, a hairnet and gloves, and took a deep, anxious breath as she started peeling potatoes. At precisely 7 a.m, the preparation began.

That Wednesday, Nov. 23, the Greenpoint Church Soup Kitchen was bustling with volunteers like Johnson, who together prepared a Thanksgiving meal for 70 people, and packed 500 bags of groceries to give out. Read more…
An Extra Seat at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

By Andrea Kayda
As a chronic sufferer of “only-child syndrome,” one practice I never learned to perfect was that of sharing. I never enjoyed projects involving group work and I definitely don’t like to share my food. So earlier this month when my dad informed me we would be spending Thanksgiving with his girlfriend, Cathy, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.

I knew that my dad was dating, my parents have been divorced for years and I had met other girlfriends of his in the past, including Cathy briefly, but none of them were ever included in the holiday lineup. I have always spent Thanksgiving in my home state of North Carolina with just the three “F’s” — my father, food and football; but this year, I struggled with the idea of incorporating a “G” — girlfriend — into the mix. I had nothing against Cathy; I barely knew her, yet I couldn’t help but feel wounded. Read more…
Thanksgiving ThoughtsAcross the Cultural Divide,
a Thanksgiving Welcome

By Daniel Collins
I had a very different Thanksgiving this year.

A turkey glazed with homegrown habanera peppers was just one small difference I experienced. I was afforded the opportunity of spending Thanksgiving with an Afghani Muslim family with El Salvadoran relatives, and it turned out to be very different from what I had imagined. All the same, it was Thanksgiving and I was thankful to be spending it with my boyfriend’s family. Read more…
New Elements, Old Traditions

By Christine Dayao
Imagine pork and intestines stewed in blood served alongside the Thanksgiving turkey. Or instead of the traditional mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes seasoned with masala and paprika.

Many families celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional way: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and sweet potatoes. But this menu isn’t set in stone. Two young women and their families have taken the main elements of this American holiday and put an ethnic spin on it. Read more…
Happy “Turkey-Free” Day

By Elisha Fieldstadt
More than 45 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year, according to PETA, the animal rights group. It also reports that Tom Savage of Oregon State University says turkeys are “smart animals with personality and character and a keen awareness of their surroundings.”

Meat-centered holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a nightmare for a vegetarian whose conscience is stung by these findings. Still, vegetarians can at least make a nice plate of side dishes like stuffing and mashed potatoes and then finish the night off with as many helpings of pie à la mode that they desire.

It’s harder for a vegan — one who abstains from all animal products, including milk and eggs. For vegans, the Thanksgiving table becomes a battlefield of inedible but enticing landmines. Read more…
A Liberated Turkey Hangs Out

By Anam Baig
A wild turkey has recently been hanging out at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Clove Road in Staten Island.

Dubbed Bernice by the locals (who refer to her as a female although it’s a male), the turkey has become a common sight, a companion to those waiting for the s62 and s61 buses that lead to the Staten Island Ferry.

“She’s tame and complacent, a very elegant but simple creature, definitely a Bernice,” remarks Michael Cuttita, a commuter waiting for the bus. Read more…
Feeding the Five Boroughs

By Andrew Tang
Three thousand New York City families received turkey dinners this year through the good works of Feeding NYC, an organization founded by Rob LoCascio that is dedicated to feeding to the needy at Thanksgiving. These dinners were boxed at Pier 60, at Chelsea Piers, on Nov. 22, loaded into storage trucks and shipped across the five boroughs. Read more…

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