Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie—these are the most common foods of Thanksgiving. However, many students’ Thanksgivings are quite different from the norm, whether they involve food allergies, eating contests or just different foods altogether.
Junior Julia Cox is allergic to many food items, such as eggs, peanuts and all dairy products. On Thanksgiving she cannot have mashed potatoes made with butter and milk nor can she have brussels sprouts with cheese sauce.
“I feel I’m missing the full Thanksgiving experience a little bit because my family makes a lot of special accommodations for me,” Julia said.
Despite having a “subconscious self-consciousness,” Julia said she still loves the holiday.
“Thanksgiving still remains my favorite meal of all time,” Julia said. “I love food.”
Every year, junior Taylor Spielman and his family and friends all participate in their annual eating contest. The objective is to gain the most weight in one meal.
“You can take a break and come back, but it all has to be all at one sitting,” Taylor said. “So non-stop but no speed rule.”
Taylor’s friend Ryan Pon is usually the champion, but he and his brother senior Parker Spielman only fall close behind. The winner usually gains 6-8 pounds. There isn’t a prize for the winner although Taylor said that “bragging rights” are a good enough prize for this competition.
For senior Neha Shah, Thanksgiving dinner is usually combined with traditional Indian foods. Since most of her family is vegetarian, her family doesn’t have the traditional turkey.
“It’s a mixture,” Neha said. “We’ll have mac and cheese and Indian style potatoes.”
For Neha, Thanksgiving is more than just the food. In the spirit of the “thanks” in “Thanksgiving,” Neha’s family go around the table to say what they’re thankful for, which Neha said can be pretty funny.
“[Thanksgiving] for me is not solely an American holiday,” Neha said. “[It is] spending time with family and bonding over a lot of good food.”