While this Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a particularly atypical one, everyone still has their ways of celebrating that are uniquely their own. From long-running family jokes to beloved cultural influences, the dishes on our tables are one thing we can rely on year after year.
I asked some of the V2ers which unconventional foods are always part of their holiday celebrations; from the silly to the highly savored, here’s what they said:
Ocean Spray (canned) Jellied Cranberry Sauce, with the tin can markings visible. We NEVER ate this unless it was Thanksgiving and even though my mother made her own delicious cranberry sauce, we insisted that she also serve this for Thanksgiving dinner. – Maura FitzGerald
Stuffing with chourico—my mom’s side of the family is 100% Portuguese, so I grew up with a little spice in my stuffing! To me, Thanksgiving stuffing isn’t complete unless it has chourico, a spicy Portuguese sausage, in it. – Jillian Saftel
Take out. Not something normally associated with Thanksgiving, but my family is in the restaurant business and Thanksgiving was always a very busy day so we never all ate together in the afternoon like many do. So, I always associate Thanksgiving with the bustle of the restaurant and my father bringing home a fully prepared whole turkey, many old-school Styrofoam boxes of sides and perfectly portioned plastic cups of cranberry sauce for a late meal and ample leftovers. – Katelyn Holbrook
My mom loves canned cranberry sauce, but no one else eats it. However, we don’t hold it against her because she always makes us “cream cheese pie.” It’s not cheesecake, but instead a pie made from Cool Whip and cream cheese. Add some canned pumpkin and it’s quite festive! – Shannon Casey
Meat cakes. Sound gross? Well—you’re 100% mistaken. My dad’s family is Lebanese, so at all our family gatherings we have homemade Middle Eastern food—grape leaves, tabouleh, stuffed kousa squash and, everyone’s favorite, meat cakes: technically called Fatayer, meat cakes are essentially lamb or spinach turnovers packed with flavor. – Allison Webster
We always have a couple Jell-O “salad” molds – usually one pink and one orange. So gross, but they always get eaten. That, and green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup and some sort of FunYun topping. Super health-conscious Thanksgiving group. – Kristen Leathers
My mom’s side of the family is Italian, so after the “traditional” Thanksgiving foods, we have a spread of Italian foods—meatballs and sausages in homemade sauce, stuffed shells, lasagna and my Nana’s “Italian stuffing.” It’s a miracle nobody falls asleep at the table after eating so much. – Erin Cooper
Two words, “corn pudding.” Did that make you uncomfortable? Me, too. I hate the name but love the food. It’s not Thanksgiving if we don’t have it and over the years my mom has learned that she needs to make at least five of them no matter how many people are at the house day of, because it’s also the #1 leftover in the house. – Victoria Newell
Spiked eggnogs and blood orange old fashioneds. My grandfather would only drink twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, we have always kicked off the holiday season with the classic eggnog with bourbon and nutmeg. Winter is also blood orange season, so my dad also serves up his famous blood orange old fashioneds for football viewing. – Rachel Levy
Champagne. Some people start Thanksgiving by saying grace…we start it every year with a champagne toast. – Jenna Gilligan
Banana fritters. First off, for anyone who doesn’t know what this is, consider yourself lucky. These sliced, battered and fried bananas are served with a strawberry sauce at my family’s Thanksgiving every year – and not for dessert! My dad’s great–grandfather loved them, and it’s been tradition ever since. No one really eats them, but they’ve become a running joke and a staple on the table each year anyway. – Liam Sullivan
V2 wishes everyone a healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday!