Thanksgiving food favorites bring back attached memories

Pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving favorite. (Archive photo by Taylor Alderman | Collegian Media Group)

From a big family bash spent in the kitchen whipping up the aromas of turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie to getting together with your best friends and ordering pizza, the best part of Thanksgiving for many is the food and company.

Whether it be ham, pecan pie or mashed potatoes, just about everyone has a dish they hope to see each year on the table, filled to the brim. So, what is the best Thanksgiving food?

For some, a special memory with friends or family around the dinner table is what makes a certain side or dessert stand out from the crowd.

“I love sweet potato pie,” Andrea Azeltine, graduate student in accounting, said. “Since I was a little girl, my dad and I have baked sweet potato pie together every year for Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions, and it’s a cherished memory I share with my father.”

Walking into a house filled with lively chatter with the best dish in hand for everyone to enjoy is something many pride themselves on. Why not dedicate time to ensure the best is served for Thanksgiving?

“I am so excited to share this Thanksgiving tradition because everyone should try it,” Megan Weller, junior in marketing and finance, said. “My family makes Better-Than-Sex pumpkin cake every year for Thanksgiving, and it’s easily every family member’s favorite.”

This out-of-the-box dessert stemmed from another favored recipe of Weller’s, but added a festive twist to it, including ingredients of a yellow cake mix, a can of pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, a tub of whipped cream, crushed heath bars and caramel syrup.

“We just took the ‘better-than-sex’ chocolate cake recipe and kind of did our own version of it,” Weller said. “It’s very good, super moist, very rich and literally so delicious.”

For Ashley Walton, Kansas State alumna, a not-as-popular side dish is what she reaches for first, but said she does not mind there being more for her.

“I feel like everyone goes for the turkey or the pumpkin pie, but stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving food,” Walton said. “My boyfriend has never tried stuffing because he thinks it looks weird, and when he told me that, I was like, ‘How am I dating such a strange person?’ It’s just crumbled up, delicious bread mixed with some seasonings. It’s so savory and fluffy and pairs well with all the other classic Thanksgiving foods.”

Ultimately, the quality time spent with loved ones — while being stuffed with food, of course­­ — is what Thanksgiving is about for many.

“I always like to pitch in making the stuffing with my family,” Walton said. “Last year, we burned it so bad though in the oven that it was black and crispy because we didn’t set the timer — that was really a bummer. But it’s a funny memory to laugh about, and just being in the kitchen at home with my family is fun enough.”