Students feast with friends for holiday

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Students feast with friends for holiday





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Last year, Claire Witkewicz, accounting senior, carved a Popeye’s fried turkey for six of her closest friends for her first “Friend’s Thanksgiving.”

“I went to Popeye’s to pick up the turkey and when I came home, my friends had already prepared all the side dishes,” Witkewicz said.

Like many out-of-state students, Witkewicz and friends didn’t travel home for Thanksgiving – instead, they cooked the holiday meal together using easy and inexpensive dish ideas.

“It was nice because everyone brought one thing. Just to have that moment and share the flavors of different people’s families was very fun,” Witkewicz said. “We made green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, biscuits, stuffing and gravy – it was all very easy to make.”

“The mashed potatoes were out of the box, the gravy was from a packet and we had stuffing from a box,” Jordan Riewer, environmental studies junior and guest at Witkewicz’s Thanksgiving meal said.

“We made green bean casserole just by using French fried onions, green beans and cream of mushroom soup and putting it into the oven,” Riewer said. “Everything was easy to cook because it was from a box.”

“The Popeye’s turkey was $30 and we did have to reserve it, but if I could estimate the cost of everything else, maybe $25 all together,” Witkewicz said. “I think in all there were seven people in attendance, so that’s not that much money for what was on the table.”

Beth Moncel, food blogger for Budget Bytes, a blog devoted to eating well on a budget, suggested that students cooking Thanksgiving hold the meal potluck style.

“As a student, you’re too busy and stressed to take on the whole thing yourself, so get everyone involved and have everyone bring their favorite dish,” Moncel said.

“Keep it simple,” Moncel said. “There’s no need to do fancy, elaborate recipes.”

Joseph Walter, economics senior, had a potluck Thanksgiving his sophomore year with about 20 friends.

“We made two whole turkeys and ham and all the good things: pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes,” said Walter.

Cooking a turkey can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time.

“Make sure you are always on top of it – don’t let it go dry, don’t overcook it,” Walter said.

“We didn’t overcook it,” Walter said. “After we moved out we realized that we never took the leftover turkey out of the oven.”

“Roasting a whole turkey is intimidating, stressful and hard to carve,” Moncel said. “My favorite tip for students is to try a turkey and stuffing casserole instead of roasting a whole bird.” Turkey and stuffing casserole consists of turkey pieces baked over a bed of stuffing.

“You get all of the benefits of roasted turkey without the hassle,” said Moncel.

If money, not cooking, is an issue, try replacing the classic turkey with a chicken.

“It’s like turkey, but cheaper and with similar preparation,” Walter said.

For those not keen on braving the heat of the Thanksgiving kitchen, Loyola Dining Services will be celebrating the holiday in the Orleans Room on Tuesday, Nov. 20 during lunch.

“We will feature traditional Thanksgiving fare: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc.,” Heather Bacque, general manager of Loyola Dining Services, said.

“If you’re going home or not, just try to have a ‘Friend’s Thanksgiving’ beforehand,” Witkewicz said. “Even if you eat lasagna, you share the dinner experience and that kind of chemistry with your friends – I think it’s more than worth it.”

Lauren Irwin can be reached at [email protected]