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A Different Spin on Thanksgiving

OPB | Nov. 24, 2011 9:06 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:54 p.m.

Last year our producer, Julie Sabatier, pulled from her own experience at the Thanksgiving table to come up with a great show about alternate celebrations. There were so many great calls and poignant stories that we thought we’d share it with you again, this time on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s Julie’s original story:

A few years ago, I was living alone and hadn’t made plans to visit my family on the east coast for Thanksgiving. I decided to invite a group of friends over and try my hand at cooking a turkey for the first time. I ended up with seven or eight people sitting elbow to elbow at my small table. Some of my guests were meeting for the first time and they quickly got to know one another over the feast. I still made everyone go around the table to say what we were thankful for (just like my family does every year). Everybody brought a side dish, which ranged from traditional cranberry sauce to Greek avgolemono soup. Every other year, I’ve found myself around a family table. While every Thanksgiving is fun (it’s one of my favorite holidays), this one stands out in my mind because it was the least traditional — both in terms of the food and the gathering itself.

On the show we cast the typical bird and stuffing aside for stories of sauerkraut and soba noodles, octopus and gluten steaks. We talked to a student who cooked for more than 100 people in the dorms at Reed college, and a family who has an annual pre-Thanksgiving feast.

What do you do to celebrate Thanksgiving? Do your holiday traditions veer from the typical to the extraordinary?

GUESTS:

  • Britta Diettrich: General manager of Northwest Portland International Hostel, where she hosts Thanksgiving every year
  • Leslie Veenstra: Teacher and translator, celebrated Thanksgiving in The Netherlands for six years
  • Daryl Meekins: Ergonimics design engineer at Hewlett Packard, raises his own Thanksgiving turkeys
  • Ivy Manning: Food writer and author of The Adaptable Feast and The Farm to Table Cookbook
  • Amy Lindgren: Optician, hosts Thanksgiving for her friends every year
  • Austin Campbell: Biology major and Student Body Vice President at Reed College, head cook and organizer for “Sub Free” Thanksgiving

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