November 20, 2018

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Food Memories

Here at FoodMinds, we certainly love any holiday that is centered around food. After all, food is always on our minds. Thanksgiving is a time where family, friends, loved ones and neighbors gather to reflect upon the many things and individuals we are thankful for, and a delicious feast is often at the center of it all. Here are a few of our FoodMinders’ favorite Thanksgiving memories.


“I’m half polish and the main tie to my heritage is through the food we enjoy all together. Every year, without fail, we are sure to prepare kielbasa and sauerkraut for our meal at Thanksgiving. I look forward to it more than the turkey! My mother squeezes the life out of that sauerkraut to get the bitter juice out, and then uses butter and apples to sauté it with the sausage. Delish! It’s a great reminder of how we are connected to one another, and something that brings us closer every year, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen my extended family.”

 Emma Gregory, RD


“Not necessarily my favorite Thanksgiving memory, but a pretty funny one…

My sister oversaw making the sweet potato casserole a few years back, and she had already cooked the sweet potatoes and mashed them down. When it came time to add the other ingredients, she mistakenly grabbed peppermint extract instead of the vanilla. She poured in a tablespoon and immediately realized her mistake, so my other sister frantically tried to scoop out the peppermint extract since it hadn’t been mixed in yet. Our sweet potato casserole ended up a little minty that year.”

Annie Buckley


“One of my favorite memories was from Thanksgiving 2010. My younger brother Andrew was born in 2000 with a rare metabolic disorder that allowed him to consume only 7g of protein per day; any more would cause toxic ammonia levels in his blood and he would go into a coma. In the summer of 2010, he received a liver transplant. After months of recovery and years of living on an extremely restricted diet, my family and I were able to watch him eat his first real Thanksgiving meal! Nothing made him happier than being able to eat the same foods as everyone else! It was truly an unforgettable Thanksgiving, with so many things to be thankful for—most especially the teenage boy – Brendan – who lost his life, but through his organ donation, allowed my brother a chance at a long, full life filled with delicious food.”

Olivia Birlson


“Thanksgiving is by far one of my favorite days of the year. When I was younger, I remember hovering in the kitchen, looking on in awe at all the amazing creativity and love that my family was putting into each of their dishes. My grandmother was the master of the candied yams – a dish so simple and so delicious. Her secret ingredient? Karo syrup. Mixed up with butter and brown sugar, this creamy, sweet sauce was drizzled over the sliced yams in several large saucepans. These days, I’m often in charge of the candied yams at Thanksgiving but every time it still feels like my grandmother is right by my side.”

Carla Curle, MS


“One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is from the semester I studied abroad in Copenhagen in 2008. Although the holiday was obviously not celebrated in Denmark, there were mostly American students in my program, all homesick for a good Thanksgiving meal. Our dorm rooms didn’t even have an oven, just a stovetop. Since cooking a large turkey wasn’t an option, we opted for turkey breasts on the stove, along with several sides. My mom even shipped is about 10 boxes of stovetop stuffing. About twelve of us piled into a tiny dorm room to enjoy our meal, and we ate stuffing for days on end.”

 Tara Linitz, MS, RD


“While I thoroughly enjoy the Thanksgiving meal itself, one of my favorite food memories surrounding the holiday is eating leftovers the next day. I love to make a meal out of the sides (stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole – the classics) while Black Friday shopping online.”

Dana Peters, MS, RD


“Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories come from the day leading up to the holiday. My childhood home was only a block away from my grandparents’ house, so the day before the feast, I would slip on my snow boots and make the trek to Grandma’s to help. My job was to polish the silver, prepare the table settings, arrange the place cards (strategically, so I had a good spot at the kids’ table) and set out the serving dishes. Grandma would be peeling potatoes, mixing ingredients for stuffing and overseeing the thawing of the frozen bird. For some, hosting during the holidays is stressful, but Grandma made it look easy. Nothing made her happier than creating a special environment for her family to enjoy each other’s company and good food. Now, I find myself feeling that same joy in the (seemingly) mundane preparation; whether it’s preparing a dish to share with coworkers or hosting friends for a dinner party, it feels good to serve others through food and take the time to add a special touch.”

Becka Palmquist, MS

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