Happy Thanksgiving, this year we have to be extra grateful for what we have, and for those, we surround ourselves with. In this new normal of socially distant meals, we are relying on smaller dinner parties and more facetime calls. Staying in touch with those you care about and checking in to let them know they are loved. USM will be closed from the 25th until students return in January. Returning home for the holidays will start the warm seasons of holiday cheer and celebration.

The Free Press staff shares their plans as well as what is on the menu. You can also recreate our dishes as we have shared the recipes, and take a walk down memory lane.

Remember, although this year has been difficult, we can still appreciate the love we have for others and give thanks to those we care about.

“I will have the gratitude for the little things even while I wait or the big things to fall in place” -Morgan Harper Nichols

I’m Zoe Bernardi, the Community editor, and writer of this article. For my Thanksgiving break I made the trip from Portland to Upstate New York, after a week of isolating in Maine, two negative tests, I have made it home. While in the past my holiday meal takes place in New Jersey with 60 other cousins and relatives, this year will be at my grandparent’s house with my parents.

My favorite thing about thanksgiving is the warmth that comes from being around those you love, helping in the kitchen, dressing up to just change into yoga pants and saving room for double dessert.

My grandmother owns a bakery, so she has always loved the dessert course. This year a maple rum pecan pie, made with gluten-free crust has my name written all over it. But for the main meal, the sweet potato casserole is the family favorite. Follow the recipe below to add some festive color to your plate.

When it comes to Cullen McIntrye, our Editor-in-Chief at the Free Press, he will be making the short trip to his home in Saco, Maine for his holiday meal. Most times people fall into two categories around holiday prep when it comes to the kitchen. You either are the helper and help prep the vegetables and set the table, or you are the pest, sneaking bites of the food and asking when dinner is going to be served. Luckily for the McIntrye household, Cullen said he was “Neither I avoid the kitchen until it’s time to eat.”

Below is the recipe for Cullen’s favorite Thanksgiving treat, homemade peanut butter cookies. Enjoy the joy of waiting for them to be done baking, and it will be a Cullen move.

Originally from Woodbridge Virginia, but currently living in Biddeford Maine, our Director of Photography Nora Devin explains her “favorite dish is pumpkin pie!! My mom usually buys it from the store because we’re lazy!” So maybe Devin can recreate her hometown meal right in her new home.

When asked about her favorite thing about Thanksgiving she replied, “the warm feeling I get when I’ve surrounded by the people who love me most.” We wish you the best stays-giving in Maine. To make a Devin classic pie, head to your local pie shop, or follow the recipe below.

Our Art & Culture Editor, Abigail Nelson, has been studying this semester at home in Union Maine, where she will be celebrating the holiday at her grandparents’ house. Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of the warm holidays. Filled with baked goods, and long hugs this year the season will be filled with Zoom calls and elbow taps and hello waves.

Most people will have the same conversations on repeat, Abigail predicts the topics will be “ the holidays, school, how much we want Covid to go away!”

Abigail is a part of the gluten + dairy-free club, but stated that she “actually takes the holidays to cheat a bit on my diet since my family makes food too good to pass up.” Which is a wise choice as she explains that her Italian grandfather and mother make “my mother’s bread rolls and my grandmother’s sausage rolls.”

If you would also like to join Abigail and everyone else this season, try out the recipe below and start a new topic for your table.

Kelly Ledsworth, our Design Director, is living in Brunswick, Maine, “although Rhode island feels like home.” She explains that for her Thanksgiving she will be “visiting my brother, aunt, and uncle as well as my mom, my boyfriend is joining us as well.”

Since Kelly can see her family, another year of traditions can live on, she said that “some family traditions for thanksgiving include watching the Macy’s day parade and making hand-drawn turkeys with my nieces.”

Similar to Abigail and Zoe, Kelly shares she is also in a gluten-free club,
“Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays but in 2014 being diagnosed with celiac disease it’s changed slightly and made it a bit harder.” Now her favorite meal has changed, this year she is most excited for her father’s deviled eggs. “Some people don’t like them because they’re on the sweeter side but I think they’re to die for.”

For a gluten-free appetizer, you can follow along in the recipe below, to create your platter of deviled eggs.

Now brings us to Connor Blake, our Sports Editor. Blake resides in Westbrook, Maine, “but my family recently moved to Buxton ME, as far as where I’ll be celebrating thanksgiving it will depend on if my covid-19 test comes back positive or negative.”

Back when Connor was interviewed he said, “If negative I will be celebrating at home with my parents in Buxton, if positive I will be celebrating my Thanksgiving at school this year in quarantine.” Luckily for Connor, although testing positive he did get freed from quarantine and will be able to celebrate with his family.

Connor did recall a few funny memories from his past holiday meals, he shared, “Thanksgiving is another word for ‘Backyard Family Football’ in my Family. We always go to the backyard and play as if our lives depend on it because winning this game gives you bragging rights for 365 more days until the next turkey bowl.”

When it comes to the famous recipe in the Blake Family, he describes a “Dump Salad but I think there is an official name for it somewhere.” However, it is a desert, and sweet, no lettuce here!

To create the dump salad for yourself check the recipe below. Make a plate for Connor while you are at it, he deserves it.

Our News Editor, Amelia Bodge, is going home to Sanford Maine for her Thanksgiving meal. This meal is not quite dinner or lunch, as most people have a linner of sorts. A late lunch but enough time to go back for an entire meal at 6 pm. If you start the meal mid-afternoon the more plates you can have.

In the Bodge household, Amelia says her family “dresses up but like a casual dress up, nothing fancy but like it’s definitely a “good jeans” kinda event, and we usually eat around 4 pm-ish”

Ameilia shares that she loves her grandmother’s cookies, the recipe is below, but she warns you not to fill up on carbs to save room. “I like turkey but I usually have to try to not fill up on carbs before the rest of the meal, I love bread of any kind”

Emma Walsh, one of our Staff Writers, has been living at home in Readfield, Maine, and will be “celebrating at home in Readfield with my mom, dad, and sister and going to FaceTime with my family in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.” The new normal of sorts, a collective call time to check-in and be most thankful with those you can’t see in person.

Emma shares that she is “the most thankful for the health of my loved ones and the courage of the front line workers who are caring for those in need.” As this is the giving season, and sharing your thankfulness and gratitude to those you love.

Emma has “a sweet tooth, so the meal that I eat most of is desert! My mom makes apple cake and chocolate pudding for Thanksgiving and they’re so good!” Below is the recipe to make the Walsh apple cake, a mix of warm spices and fall apples.

As we enter the holiday season, please be sure to do so with caution and care. Be aware of state travel restrictions, get tested, and try to isolate yourself to ensure safety. Although this is the season of giving, try to do so from six feet apart, outside, or through a phone call. The Free Press wishes you a happy holiday season, good health, and many full plates of food. This semester has been challenging, so grab yourself another slice of pie and pour yourself another drink. Cheers!


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