Thanksgiving in a nutshell
Thanksgiving for a number of college students was a chance to have a bit of familial comfort and a respite from the Ratty/Vdub experiences to instead indulge in pumpkin pie, apple pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and everything autumnal and awesome. But of course, not everyone at Brown celebrated Thanksgiving or ate Thanksgiving food; BlogDailyHerald went straight to the source and asked a few international students to share their own favorite holiday foods. We posed a survey to the international community at Brown and here are some of the answers we got:
For those looking to mix up the obscene amount of chocolate eaten during the holiday season (hello, winter break ’15), José Soria ’19 of Madrid, Spain, has your alternative. Jose loves turrón, which he describes simply as “super Spanish.” Turrón is essentially a blank canvas for your sweet tooth dreams. Any variation of a block of egg whites, sugar, and honey is considered turrón, and add-ins typically include nuts and chocolate. (Side note: when I lived in Spain my host family had a basket of turrón on the table for three months surrounding Christmas and it was beautiful.)
For Ian Cheung ’16, of Hong Kong, his favorite holiday food is tang yuan, which is “composed of these little balls of glutinous rice filled with black sesame, in a kind of soup broth.” In addition to being delicious, tang yuan has sentimental value for Ian because “‘it’s a very non-Western sweet food that symbolizes family union,” and reminds him of visiting relatives and family gatherings in Taiwan when he was a kid. It also has the added bonus of being hilarious to eat, because according to Ian, tang yuan is super chewy and often leaves lots of black sesame seeds between your teeth.
Does that not look ridiculously fun to eat?
Last week, college first-years nationwide returned home for Thanksgiving to reunite with family, spend time with old friends, and, in many cases, dump their high-school sweethearts. This phenomenon is often called the “Turkey Drop” (“dumpsgiving” or “Turkey Dump” work as well) and refers to students using that week back in their old stomping grounds to end long-distance relationships. This is especially the case for first-years, who came into college determined to stay true and loyal to the person they thought was their “one and only.” It’s a big commitment to try to keep a relationship going after two people go off to different schools, but what’s with the sudden end?
First of all, going home for the first time since leaving for college can be super weird. The place that was once more familiar than anything else in the world suddenly feels distant and small. Your universe has become full of new people, ideas, and desires, and with this often comes the need for change, which may mean ending a relationship that ties you to home.
For many people, the timing also just makes sense. A few weeks before the holiday season is one of the year’s peak break-up times because breaking up with someone during one of the most festive and magical times of the year just feels wrong. And if the Drop doesn’t happen over Thanksgiving, the dumper will realistically have to wait until The Spring Clean to break it off with peace of mind.
For a lot of first years, this week will be the your first time home since the summer. And while you may have gotten used to having your only mug, which you drank tea from once at the beginning of the semester, unwashed, gross and chilling on your desk, your parents are not. You won’t only have to clean up after yourself (what does a bed look like when it’s been made, anyway?), but you can probably count on being asked to “help out around the house.” For the laziest of us, to whom the simplest chores may seem as difficult as running a marathon, here’s a guide to (dealing with) getting out of them.
- Play the Friends Card
Always, always, always have plans. When your dad asks you if you can rake the yard, say “Oh, but Sheila and I were going to catch up over coffee and my guess is it’s going to be a looooooong chat.” Emphasize how much you’ve missed your hometown friends, and how, because the break is so short, you want to pack as much time in as you can with as many people as possible. Don’t forget to throw in some long bit about how sad it is that the times when you are home will become rarer and rarer.
- Or Play the Sibling Card. It’s Even Better
Parents are suckers for seeing their kids spend quality time together. If you have brothers or sisters, pay attention to them. Watch movies, give them lots of hugs, take your younger sister to lunch, etc. Pull at your parents’ heartstrings until they are afraid to ask you for help because it would disrupt your wonderful newfound fondness for your brother. And actually, sibling time can be really fantastic anyway– don’t take it for granted.
- Be one with the P-Set
So a lot of us may actually have a significant amount of work this Thanksgiving. Every time you are home and sense your mom might be about to allot you a chore, make sure you are working intensely on your APMA problem set. Take on the homework and take out the home work.
This year, East Side Marketplace ran a special where, after spending a certain amount of money from late October to early November, customers could turn in their receipts for a free turkey. My roommates and I, as four students off meal plan and with a kitchen, were able to get two after our weekly grocery trips. In other words, I finally had the perfect excuse to want to take on the challenge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a dorm room kitchen.
11:00 a.m., Sunday We head to East Side Marketplace, picking up our free turkeys (one of which we gave to another friend for her Thanksgiving dinner). It turns out the free turkeys were frozen, which would never thaw in one day, so we took a voucher to get $20 off of a refrigerated turkey breast (which cooks faster and was cheaper, so win-win there).
11:08 a.m. A very nice woman at the deli counter calls me “papa.” It’s going to be a good Thanksgiving indeed.
11:20 a.m. We pick up the other necessary items: stuffing, potatoes, cranberries.
11:33 a.m. It takes two employees plus myself to find gravy in a jar.
11:35 a.m. Found it.
11:55 a.m. We return and unpack our groceries. One of my roommates is a vegan and has prepared well for dinner later (see below).
Regardless of whether you’re staying on campus or headed elsewhere, your Thanksgiving break has officially arrived!
Want to know what’s on our mind? Cranberries. In honor of Thanksgiving, we want to know all about your cranberry consumption. How will you be celebrating your break in ~cranberry style~?
While a lot of students reading this are already home, here are some on-campus goings-on for those of us pushing through til Wednesday at noon.
Monday, November 23
Event: Grading the Green
Location: Main Green
Time: 10:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.
“As a part of the class Pathology to Power, a group of Brown students have turned the tables on this University and graded some of the most important spaces for students on campus. These buildings were graded with various types of accessibility in mind to be more inclusive of our community.”
Event: Applied Music Voice Masterclass
Location: Grant Recital Hall
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Is singing “Happy Birthday” a struggle? Have you always been secretly envious of Ariana Grande? If you answered yes to either of these questions, or are just interested in improving your singing voice, join Dr. Brad Fugate in a musical masterclass. This event is free, open to the public, and not nearly as intimidating as a having doctorate in vocal performance would lead you to believe it is.
Event: jSwipe Live
Location: Petteruti Lounge
Time: 8:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.
Happy Cuffing Season! Find a “jBae” to text over the break. All are welcome and “aphrodisiacs will be served.”