Exploring the Palate: Thanksgiving Tastes and Traditions

By Jackson Hill, Ingrid Kildiss, Shanelle Lopez, Olivia Manna and Carly Sorenson

Think beyond the Turkey.

Gaura Narayan has a busy week ahead of her. She blames this in part on the candied yams she makes every year for Thanksgiving dinner, using a 50-year-old recipe she borrowed from a friend. “The yams take three days of cooking,” she says. “One day you boil them, one day you fry them, and the third day you stick them in the oven.”

All across campus, students, staff, and faculty alike are preparing to head home and indulge in a lavish meal. Some, like Narayan, an associate professor of literature, are responsible for most of the cooking that takes place. Others have few Thanksgiving Day responsibilities other than to show up with a plate. Some look forward to dinners that reflect their cultures in the most delicious ways. And still others wish they could be back home for their bountiful Thanksgiving banquets.

Anthony Feliciano, a second year graduate student studying opera, wishes he could be back home with his family in Hawaii to enjoy the good times and tastes of the island. “A nice ham with pineapple glaze and kalbi ribs,” he says longingly. “Then some white rice, steak, and pork lau lau, real Hawaiian style.”

Junior opera student Kevin Jasaitis has a much shorter trip for his Thanksgiving. “We all just head over to my grandma’s house next door and let the feasting commence,” he says excitedly. “We do Thanksgiving real American style, but my mom makes her fudge pie. Just imagine a brownie, but like, in an entire pie.”

Sophomore psychology major Colin Bateman also looks forward to the comfort of the classic American meal. “My family is Irish, but we usually eat a pretty typical American Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy, and biscuits or bread of some kind,” he says. But the repetition doesn't seem to bother Bateman–whose eyes twinkle when she talks about going home for Thanksgiving break. “The tradition means a lot,” she says.

Although in the past her Thanksgiving included turkey, ham and everything in between, this Thanksgiving will be different for Greta Silva.“This is my first vegetarian Thanksgiving,” she says. Worry shoots across Silva’s face when asked what she’ll be eating. “I have no idea,” she says. “I want to make a vegetarian lasagna, but I don’t know how that’s going to work out. I want to incorporate traditional foods and make it vegetarian friendly because I am the only vegetarian in my family.”

Plenty of Purchase folks can relate to Silva’s situation. Junior sociology major Jade Rodriguez’s family also leaves turkey off of the menu. Rodriguez is Puerto Rican and says that her family “does not see the point of turkey.” Instead, they have substitutions such as pasteles, a traditional Latin American dish quite similar to a tamale, or flan, two very popular Hispanic dishes.

Narayan also cooks a meatless meal on Thanksgiving. In addition to candied yams, she serves Indian dishes that are traditionally vegetarian, such as “tamarind rice, a vegetarian curry called avial, which is coconut and yogurt-based, and a yogurt dish called dahi bara.”

Despite the mountains of food made for this day, jazz studies major Whisper Jahney McRae dreams and salivates over just one thing. “There’s always turkey and mashed potatoes, but I cannot wait to get my hands on that nice warm Jiffy cornbread,” she says. “It completes the meal quite nicely.”

Editor-in-chief: Ingrid Kildiss
Digital Managing Editor: Diana Gilday
Reporting Intern: Leah Dwyer
Faculty Advisor: Donna Cornachio
General Contact

PSGA Bylaws (August 2018), Student Bill of Rights, Section B. Freedom of Speech, Press and Inquiry

Neither the student government nor any faculty or administrative person or board shall make a rule or regulation or take any action which abridges students’ freedom of speech, press or inquiry, as guaranteed Constitutional rights as citizens of the United States. Students of the campus are guaranteed:

  1.  the right to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and to express opinion privately and publicly;

  2. the right to learn in the spirit of free inquiry;

  3. the right to be informed of the purposes of all research in which they are expected or encouraged to participate either as subject or researcher;

  4. the right to freedom from censorship in campus newspapers and other media 

© 2023 by Digital Marketing. Proudly created with Wix.com