The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Hustler holidays: Thanksgiving, turkeys and traditions

A quick look at our staff’s Thanksgiving celebrations and traditions.
A Thanksgiving serving station at the Little household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Emery Little)
Emery Little
A Thanksgiving serving station at the Little household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Emery Little)

From ravenously catching up on stress-free sleep, rediscovering food other than Randwiches and Fresh Mex and basking in the presence of people other than your roommates and professors, our staff loves Thanksgiving Break. We all spend our breaks and celebrate holidays a little differently based on our unique cultures and family traditions. Below, we share some of the Hustler Staff’s go-to Thanksgiving dishes and other highlights of the holiday.

Miguel Beristain (Multimedia)

Thanksgiving food
A Thanksgiving plate at the Beristain household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Miguel Beristain)

For Thanksgiving, my family gets together with our family friends and spends the evening stuffing ourselves full of different food. The main dish (and the one I’m most excited for every year) is my mom’s pavo enchilado, a recipe adapted from my grandmother’s pollo enchilado. The hosts’ daughters make fantastic dishes (the oldest is a wiz in the kitchen, rivaling me). We laugh and catch up about how college is going, how high school is, how our families in Mexico and Honduras are. It can be hard not living in the same country as our extended family, especially around the holidays, but we’ve found a family who supports us and keeps our holidays joyful.

Justine Del Monte (Life)

Thanksgiving pie
A dessert plate at the Del Monte household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Justine Del Monte)
(Justine Del Monte)

I’m only in it for the stuffing and the pie. And also leftovers. My side of the family provides the stuffing, and the entire week leading up to Thanksgiving is essentially a willpower test as I hold back from eating the bread as we let it harden for the sacred dish. My aunt brings the pie and while I can never tell if it’s homemade or store-bought, I just slap on some ice cream and call it a day.

Alexa White (Opinion)

Table of Thanksgiving food
The Thanksgiving table set up at the White household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Alexa White)
(Alexa White)

My family’s feast is pretty simple and classic. We like to cook our turkey through a sous vide method, which uses a vacuum seal and water at a constant temperature to keep all of the natural juices in the meat. We are also all crazy about the King’s Hawaiian rolls, so half of our plates are bread most years. This year, I made our place cards out of iced sugar cookies, though place cards were silly as we kept it small this year. (Not pictured: my little lab-retriever who enjoyed her turkey from her dog dish.)

Oghosa Omobude (Life)

Thanksgiving food
The Thanksgiving table set up at the Omobude household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Oghosa Omobude) (Oghosa Omobude)

Although we have many American Thanksgiving staples like turkey, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, my family loves to add some of our favorite Nigerian dishes, like jollof rice and dodo (fried plantains) to our Thanksgiving feast. This year, we tried something different and added a second smoked turkey to the table. Holidays are usually an all hands on deck affair, so everyone pitched in in some way. From peeling potatoes, whipping up boxed cake mix, washing rice and carving turkey, everyone was able to contribute. Usually, our first-round plates are filled with a little bit of everything, and the inevitable second round is reserved for anything you couldn’t fit on the first, plus any of your special favorites. Overall, the telltale sign of a good day (and meal) are my rambunctious little cousins miraculously being out of energy and off their sugar highs.  

 

Marissa Tessier (Life)

Table filled with Thanksgiving food
The Thanksgiving table setup at the Tessier household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Marissa Tessier) (Marissa Tessier)

While South Florida lacks the cool, crisp weather characteristic of the fall season, our Thanksgiving food definitely does not disappoint. My father always prepares the meal—this year, it was a wonderfully cooked turkey, stuffing, roasted vegetables, shrimp macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. My two aunts always come over and chip in with our favorite desserts: pumpkin and apple pies! It’s never a holiday in my family without some playful games, so we ended the night with some rounds of Jackbox.

Ilana Drake (Life)

Thanksgiving food
The Thanksgiving table setup at the Drake household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Ilana Drake) (Ilana Drake)

This year, my family gathered in Morris County, New Jersey, to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. We usually gather in the early afternoon so that no one gets home too late. Eighteen members of my family attended and traveled from the Bay Area, Boston, New York City and different parts of New Jersey. My great-uncle takes great pride in making creative and colorful dishes, and my family always brings pies to the celebration!

Barrie Barto (Multimedia)

Thanksgiving dishes
An array of Thanksgiving food at the Barto household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Barrie Barto) (Barrie Barto)

We celebrated Thanksgiving in South Carolina with my mom’s family. Not pictured are my homemade honey butter for the cornbread, cranberry sauce out of the can (my brother claimed one can and the rest of us split the other) and whole black olives. We always have black olives because my mom specially requested them as a kid, and they’ve been a staple at our Thanksgiving celebrations since. We ate dinner with just my grandparents and immediate family on Wednesday to leave enough days to eat leftovers. Thursday, we always spend the morning watching the Macy’s parade and dog show. That night, we ate homemade pumpkin cheesecake as well as sugar cookies, apple pie, layered caramel cake and pumpkin pie with the rest of my mom’s family and made turkey soup with the leftover turkey meat. The highlight of Thanksgiving food for me is always the stuffing; we make it with mild Italian sausage and lots of Parmesan, just the way my dad’s dad liked it.

Rachael Perrotta (News)

thanksgiving food
Thanksgiving side dishes at the Perrotta household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Rachael Perrotta)
(Rachael Perrotta)

My family is Italian, so our Thanksgiving and other holiday meals consist of multiple courses, the first being antipasto and salad. This year, we had a smaller antipasto than usual, with a selection of meats, cheeses, olives and marinated eggplant. For the main course, we had a selection of typical Thanksgiving food, such as turkey, squash, cranberry sauce and stuffing. We also had an Italian side dish consisting of sliced mushrooms topped with marinara sauce. Not pictured are the Italian stuffed mushrooms and mini quiches we had for appetizers, chicken soup, apple pie and pumpkin chocolate cheesecake! Traditionally, Thanksgiving is hosted at my house with my immediate family and sometimes our family friends. Before we eat, my brother and I attend my high school’s annual Thanksgiving football game against our city rival!

Emery Little (Multimedia)

Thanksgiving table
The Thanksgiving table at the Little household, as photographed on Nov. 25, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Emery Little)
(Emery Little)

In my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Thanksgiving is characterized by football, football and more football. Every year, I celebrate the holiday with my dad’s parents on Wednesday night and my mom’s parents on Thursday afternoon. We always make four (yes, four) desserts so we have plenty to choose from while watching the Thanksgiving football lineup. 

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About the Contributors
Oghosa Omobude, Life Copy Editor
Oghosa Omobude ('24) is from Atlanta (kinda), Ga. and is a student in the College of Arts and Science. Although currently majoring in biological sciences with aspirations for medical school, she has interests outside of STEM that include fine arts, writing and DIY projects. She can be reached at [email protected].
Miguel Beristain, Senior Staff Photographer
Miguel Beristain (’24) is a philosophy and cellular and molecular biology double major in the College of Arts and Science from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When not shooting for The Hustler, he can usually be found playing Magic the Gathering, exploring new restaurants or practicing guitar. He can be reached at .
Justine Del Monte, Former Life Copy Editor
Justine Del Monte ('22) studied Public Policy. She enjoys nature, VSG, cooking videos and talking about how she's from California. Send inquiries and Broadway-related playlists to [email protected].
Alexa White, Former Graphics Director
Alexa White ('23) is from Traverse City, Michigan, and is double-majoring in secondary education and English. When she isn't writing for The Hustler, she is probably teaching, reading or creating art. After graduation, Alexa plans to be an English teacher and hopes to inspire kids to love reading, writing and exploring their creativity in all forms. She can be reached at [email protected].
Marissa Tessier, Former Staff Writer
Marissa Tessier ('24) is majoring in secondary education and English. When not writing, she can be found at a café reading the latest YA novel. She can be reached at [email protected].
Ilana Drake, Former Staff Writer
Ilana Drake ('25) is majoring in public policy studies and English with a minor in human and organizational development. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her advocating for social justice issues, swimming and finding the best cold brew coffee. She can be reached at [email protected]
Barrie Barto, Senior Staff Photographer
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with a minor neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. Outside of The Hustler, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
Rachael Perrotta, Senior Advisor
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and is majoring in cognitive studies, communication of science and technology and political science in Peabody College. She was previously Editor-in-Chief and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
Emery Little, Former Social Media Director
Emery Little (‘22) is from Birmingham, AL. She majored in communication of science and technology and Spanish. In her free time, she loves to design graphics, follow tech news and run her photography business. She can be reached at [email protected].
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The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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