Potayto, Potahto: The Varieties of Thanksgiving

By Kelsey Chen (II), Staff Writer

Thanksgiving began as a feast between the Pilgrims and Indigenous people to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Since then, various cultures in America have influenced the holiday. Even among the Boston Latin School community, there are a variety of traditions and opinions concerning Thanksgiving.

Turkey may be the first thing you think of about Thanksgiving, but to most, it is not the focus of the holiday. Overwhelmingly, the majority of surveyed BLS students believe that the star of Thanksgiving is the potato. The versatile tuber is an essential feature of Thanksgiving dinners all around the world. Baked, boiled, roasted, mashed, totted or fried, the possibilities are endless.

Some families eat hot pot, tofurky, Italian lamb chops or lobster. Gabriella Troy’s (I) family eats “a turducken (turkey, duck, chicken) [that] allows everyone in my family to eat the kind of meat they want, while also not leaving too much leftover for my small party of four.” This fun take on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is just one of many ways of celebrating.

Instead of an organized potluck in Gena Ly’s (III) family, everybody […] cooks a dish, but we don’t tell anybody what dish we are cooking. The dinner is usually an array of food that don’t often go together.” A variety of dishes creates a solution to differing preferences among these family members, but what about the disagreements among BLS students?

Pie, like any other Thanksgiving dish, is a controversial decision. From the classic option of pumpkin to the more radical choice of apple, the debate is heated. Anna McWeeny (II), a pumpkin supporter, believes that pumpkin pie “is the perfect mix of sweet and savory. The texture, although uncommon and arguably nauseating, is a fun way to mix up a normal boring pie.” On the other side of the argument, Lily Huang (II) declares, “Apple is better because it’s sweet and has chunks of apples, so it has more texture and a deeper flavor.”

During Thanksgiving, most students have a short break to unwind and spend time with their families. Zoe Nagasawa (I), for example, eats Thanksgiving dinner with multiple families from her church. She says, “Generally, sharing food with people you love is a great community-building activity. Good, warm food makes people happier.”

There can be arguments over the food and activities, but Thanksgiving is a holiday for joy and laughter with loved ones. Thanksgiving is only the beginning of a season of festivities with family and friends, all of which food heavily influences. After all, food is the way to a person’s heart.

Opinions on Thanksgiving foods differ from family to family. (Photo by: Christopher Testani)