Opinion: A fun twist on a traditional Thanksgiving

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson is a senior architecture major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I know that most of us have a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully this year, that will include a few modern holiday recipes as well.

For as long as I can remember, every year it has been the same routine: turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Now, it’s clear to see why they’re a popular choice for your holiday dinners, but why not change things up a little bit this November?

Everyone has their traditions — I was recently teased about my family’s long-standing history of Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve — but if you’re looking for something new to bring to the table, give these suggestions a shot.

In this column, as in life, let’s have dessert first. I love pumpkin pie, and a well-done one can be fabulous, but a delicious alternative is pumpkin cheesecake. This chilled cake is a light, pleasant end to a heavy meal.

Next comes the main course: the turkey. Ladies, if you’re trying to get your guy to help in the kitchen, go out on a limb and let him fry the bird. There is also the option to cook the mythical turducken. This poultry triple play — a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey — is a lot of hype, but not many people have actually undertaken the task.

When you want to get your cranberry fix, substitute the traditional sauce with a cranberry-inspired cocktail, such as a sparkling wine and cranberry juice or a cranberry cosmo. If these aren’t family-friendly enough for your taste but you like the idea of adding something unexpected to the dish, try a sangria cranberry sauce; a mixture of citrus juices, cranberries, strawberries, red wine and sugar would be a pleasant facelift to an often overlooked holiday staple. You can also skip the sauce and throw the cranberries in a salad or the stuffing.

Something I’ve never considered until now is soup. You can try a squash or sweet potato soup, which will incorporate something healthy into a meal known for fat and starch, and will also warm you up on a cool November evening.

Finally, for that tricky relative who is a vegetarian or has gluten intolerance, there are plenty of recipes online for ways to make even the guest with the most sensitive palate feel included and well-fed. Things such as Tofurky and gluten-free stuffing or macaroni and cheese will keep the family together even when tastes differ.

I hope you get some inspiration from what you’ve read, but no matter what you make for Thanksgiving, have a safe and pleasant holiday, and good luck battling those Black Friday crowds.