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What’s for Thanksgiving? You name it!

“I got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes. Lamb, rams, hogs, dogs. Beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes. Chicken, turkey, rabbit. YOU NAME IT!” — Shirley Caesar


By Tara Yilmaz

→ Did you know the “You Name It Challenge” refers to a hip-hop remix based on a video clip of American gospel singer Shirley Caesar naming various traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes before yelling out to the congregation, “You name it!?” The hip-hop remix video surfaced in 2016 and features a montage of professional dancers and regular people dancing to the catchy tune. The clip has been unofficially named by social media as the new Thanksgiving anthem. If you never heard the musical testament to Thanksgiving dishes, Google it, and prepare to tap your feet.

→ Did you know a traditional Thanksgiving dinner consists of oven-baked turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, gravy, cranberry sauce, pie, and dinner rolls? Depending on the household, the traditional Thanksgiving menu can be extended. Savory foods such as green beans, ham, casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, and collard greens could grace the dinner table. Planning a Thanksgiving menu is serious business and hosting Thanksgiving is not for an amateur and certainly not the day to experiment with new dishes. Thanksgiving is not only a day for spending time with loved ones, decorating the Christmas tree, or Black Friday shopping, but many Americans depend on Thanksgiving to eat the foods they crave all year long.

“I don’t expect or want to see new dishes on Thanksgiving. All I want to see is a buttery bird, stuffed to the gills with stuffing. I’m OK with adding a new dessert like cake but only if sweet potato pie is still on the menu,” said Roland Bailey, of Monaca. Expectations for cooking and eating Thanksgiving dinner are high and if disappointment makes an appearance on Turkey Day, then all will never be forgiven or forgotten.

→ Did you know there’s an alternative to Thanksgiving? Yes, it’s called Friendsgiving. This concept of spending time with friends instead of relatives has been occurring forever. In recent years the term Friendsgiving has made its way into the vocabulary of many Americans, and for very good reasons. Whether away from home at college, moved across the country from family, working, or the less popular and common reason “I don’t care to share a meal with certain family members.” Just like roasted turkey has been the staple of this familial holiday, sibling rivalries, silent treatments, and disdain for those we share blood ties with are also present during Thanksgiving.

It usually appears during the clean-up but for some, trouble first appears with one innocent question for the host. “Who’s all invited to dinner?” Simple enough question, although, say the wrong name, and your dinner guest lists may decrease in number.

→ Did you know Thanksgiving is one of the two most popular American holidays? According to, they conducted a survey in the third quarter of 2021 where Thanksgiving had a popularity rating of 81 percent, followed by Christmas with 77 percent. This is surprising since the greeting card giant Hallmark sells 13 million Thanksgiving cards annually compared to 1.6 billion Christmas Cards. Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving is a time to spread love and show gratitude and of course food and cocktails. Mostly cocktails. Drinking cocktails while cooking, before dinner, during dinner, and certainly after dinner. ranks Thanksgiving as potentially a big drinking holiday similar to St. Patrick’s Day. Wonder why? To quote a “FRIENDS” episode, “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little emotional scarring.”



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