It matters less what food sits on the table than who sits around it. The collective message of what makes a “Friendsgiving” special varies, but that much rings clear.
“Friendsgiving was like a piece of home when we were really missing it,” Janna Schulte, graduate student in architecture, said.
Schulte and Taryn Borelli, both second-year graduate students in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, live together and will hold their third Friendsgiving this week, mostly with classmates from their studio.
Their small group began the tradition as sophomores at K-State because their academics were challenging them and they sought familiarity and comfort.
“We actually kind of call ourselves ‘the fam,’” Schulte said. “That’s kind of why we started doing it because we felt the need to do something together.”
Quality time has created special memories for these Friendsgiving hosts.
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“We just like making food and having an excuse to get together during the week and drink wine,” Borelli said. “It’s kind of sad because it’s our last year to do Friendsgiving too, because we’re all graduating this spring.”
Schulte said she ties herself close to tradition, and much of the food they plan to have mimics a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
“This year we’re having fried chicken instead of turkey, but I am making sweet potato pie,” Borelli said.
Another friend will bring scalloped potatoes, and Schulte tried mulled wine in Italy last year for the first time and has asked Borelli to make it for the special dinner.
Other students stray from traditional dishes during a Friendsgiving meal.
“I believe we are going to be eating Mexican,” said Cooper Imthurn, sophomore in animal sciences and industry. “I think everyone’s going to get plenty of Thanksgiving food, so we wanted to mix it up.”
Imthurn said he plans to eat with a group of fraternity brothers this week before the break next week.
“It comes down to more of an opportunity for all our friends to get together and share stories and have a good time,” he said.
Some campus clubs and organizations organize a Friendsgiving meal during this week also.
The president of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, commonly known as MANRRS, said their objective is similar.
“With this being the last week before Thanksgiving break, a lot of students go home and dead week and finals week is about to show up,” said Jordan Bailey, sophomore in animal sciences and industry. “We kind of see that as an opportunity to get together and have a nice potluck and nice community bonding.”
Bailey said they extended the invitation for the meal on Wednesday to friends of members and others on campus. Usually, about 30 to 40 graduate and undergraduate members attend their meetings.
“We usually have a couple of staple items,” Bailey said. “Last year we had turkey. This year we’re doing fried chicken.”
Other common dishes at the club’s annual event include green bean casserole, sweet potatoes and yams. Still, the meal mixes traditional with non-traditional foods.
“For myself, I’m going to be bringing chips and salsa, because that’s always a good party food,” Bailey said.
The best part of their Friendsgiving, Bailey said, can also come from friendly competition.
“Usually we have games, like spades or Uno, and we get really competitive when it comes to our card games,” Bailey said. “For me, that’s what it’s about.”