A Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Sofia Panuelos | Staff Photographer—Not going home? All's not lost for Thanksgiving at college!

Around this time, three years back, I received a phone call that changed my college Thanksgiving experience forever.

It was my aunt and she called to tell me, “We’re having a huge turkey this year!” The excitement in her voice made me slightly jealous as I sat in the common room eating my Top Ramen.

Every Thanksgiving, my family would get together and create a feast that our waistlines would never forget. However, that year was not only my first year in college, but also my first year missing out on Thanksgiving dinner with my family.

A piece of consolation to an otherwise lonely and feast-less Thanksgiving break was the fact that my roommate stayed in Irvine as well, and we were well-stocked with snacks. We spent the break watching movies, munching on nutritionally deficient foods and most importantly, making plans for the next Thanksgiving.

The following year, we kept to our plans and created our own version of Thanksgiving. Gathering a couple of our close friends who also forwent going home to stay in Irvine, we created our own Thanksgiving dinner. We wanted a Thanksgiving to make up for the ones we were missing back home, and we wanted turkey. Our first daunting task was picking a turkey. The 11-pounder? The 17-pounder? How much can we eat? How much can the guys eat? Don’t forget to keep in mind the other food we’ll be having! The factors to keep in mind went on and on. When we finally left the grocery store with our turkey and other ingredients in hand, our spirits were high, thinking, “How hard can cooking that bird be?”

Three hours and bits of gizzards and guts later, our bird was cleaned, seasoned and in the oven. Our second daunting task was watching the bird. It needed basting every hour. It needed a lot of attention and it didn’t help that we were frantically rushing between kitchens preparing the individual dishes we were each responsible for. Our third daunting task presented itself in the forms of pies, sauces, mashed potatoes, stuffing and, of course, the turkey that we had to eat. In the end, everything turned out better than expected. It was a Thanksgiving we were proud of. But of course, this Thanksgiving, we’re going to outdo last year’s feast. I’ve already tested some of the recipes I found and I’m here to share one!

For those of you who are staying and decide to make your own Thanksgiving dinner with your friends, here’s a relatively simple recipe for a cranberry pie (that is not so much pie as it is bread). Warning: it is quite tart, but not too much that it stopped me from nearly finishing it on my own!

Crustless Cranberry Pie adapted from allrecipes.com:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of a lemon

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a nine-inch pie pan.
2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt.
3. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts. Then toss to coat the cranberries. Add the zest.
4. Stir in the butter, beaten eggs and almond and vanilla extracts.
5. Spread batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the center is checked for doneness.
6. Enjoy!