Oberlin Blogs

A Very Fierce Thanksgiving

December 4, 2010

Ma'ayan Plaut ’10

When it rolls around to late November, when it starts to get chilly and it gets dark earlier, all I wanna do is hang out inside around people I like with a lot of food. I'm thankful that it's Thanksgiving time.

I've gone to many places for Thanksgiving, including an Obietastic adventure I wrote about two years ago, but I'm growing up. And one of the things you do when you grow up is make your own family, so you throw your own Thanksgivings. No, I'm not ready for marriage or kids, not for quite a while, but my little Oberlin family and I had our own Thanksgiving this year, in cozy Oberlin. It was a strangely grown-up experience, but still with all the frivolity and wonderfulness that comes from an Oberlin crew.

Our cast of characters:

Ma'ayan "Faux Pirate" Plaut

Thanksgiving in Oberlin backstory: It would have been great to leave, but I'd refuse to travel over the busiest travel weekend of the year by plane, so Hawaii is out. The opportunity to travel elsewhere by car this year never arose. So, reluctant jetsetter that I am, I am here.

Had her sticky little fingers in: the green bean casserole with caramelized onions, orange-citrus cranberry sauce, four-bread stuffing, pumpkin pie, gravy-making part 1, turkey deconstruction.

During our Wednesday pie-making, I channeled pirateness for a variety of reasons. First, I have a plastic pirate's hook. Secondly, pirates are awesome. Thirdly, we had a marathon of Pirates of the Caribbean. On Thursday, I decided to wear a shiny sash-thing and a striped shirt while cooking. Also a rainbow scarf. And occasionally my pirate hook. I looked awesome.

The author with a flower crown

Patrick "Mr. Rogers' Cardigan" Doherty

Thanksgiving in Oberlin backstory: Patrick lives on the West Coast. It's far and expensive. So, bedecked and bedazzled, he is here.

The mastermind behind: the cream cheese pie, the beautiful butter-basted turkey, the rolls.

Fellow blogger Patrick is convinced he will beat me to posting about our Thanksgiving festivities. We will see. He also did a fair amount of livetweeting, DJing (of the Glee soundtrack variety), his computer was piping movies to us all day, and the entirety of Thanksgiving would have been impossible without him and his car. Oh, and he was responsible for getting Brandi on video chat so we could thank her (as close to) in person for the use of her house for all of our festivities.

Carving a turkey

Ali "The Shiniest Unicorn" Pohanka

Thanksgiving in Oberlin backstory: Ali's art show is opening a week from Friday (her opening was on December 3rd in Fisher Gallery!). She's filling an entire galley with her pieces starting Friday, and needed as much time as possible on the ground in Oberlin prior to her show. So, paint-splattered Ali is here.

The chefess behind: the roasted garlic brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy-making part 2, white cranberry-strawberry cosmopolitans.

Mixed drink with cranberries

Ali was, by far, the best dressed and most quoted of the day. Ali looks like she eats like a bird (a tall and skinny lass, she is), but put her at a Thanksgiving table and she will eat everything in sight. Her taste palate is much like mine; she would rather have savory foods over sweet, which means that we ate far more plates of food than dessert. We also have big BIG plans for our Thanksgiving leftovers (those links contain ridiculous photos and recipes, FYI).

As student at a bathroom sink

Carolyn "Rainbow Legs" Michaels

Thanksgiving in Oberlin backstory: I actually only found out on Tuesday evening, at Harris' 22nd birthday party, that Carolyn was going to be here over break. As a fellow member of an Obie sibling duo (Carolyn's brother Eric is one of my closest friends, and graduated the year before Carolyn began here), and a good addition to any social gathering, it was only natural that she join us. So, legacy-lovely Carolyn is here.

Most glorious helper of: the mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and creator of the incredible apple-yogurt pie.

Carolyn didn't actually know Patrick prior to Wednesday evening's pie-baking, but they hit it off quickly with as many innuendoes and "that's what she said" jokes, and quoting Pirates of the Caribbean. Her pie-tart was so freaking incredible. It was like a kugel, but tangy rather than just sweet. She was also wearing the best socks to dinner.

Biscuits on a sheet pan

Our motley crew had one thing in common: we wanted to have the most kickass and ridiculous Thanksgiving ever, and we were still in Oberlin. Nothing stood in our way, except for the fact that we all fiercely missed our families and our stomachs are only so big.


I'm going to try and tell this story in a less-than-usual fashion, and piece it together from a selection of tweets that the four of us compiled over the 48 hours of pre- to post-Thanksgiving. For cleanliness and ease of reading, I've changed the usernames and tags to our actual names.

@Ma'ayan — Thanksgiving pre-adventures: I have the genius idea that fondue night is the best idea for pre-Thanksgiving dinner. More on this later.


@Ali — Tonight = PotC, pie-baking, and fondue at Ma'ayan's house. Hurray! I put on all of the layers! I bring all of the foods!

@Ma'ayan — "I don't have a fondue pot, but I have this." "Ma'ayan, that is a fondue pot." So then we MacGyvered a contraption to make it work. YES.

@Ma'ayan — Thanksgiving pre-adventure: Patrick discovers my handmixer, Ali remembers I have sugar cookie tea, PotC marathon has begun.

@Patrick — Ma'ayan: "Once upon a time I had a pirate hook, but I don't know where it is... Wait! I know where it is!"

@Ali — "My favorite food is food I get to dip in other food." - Me, on fondue and other such yummies

A table of fondue fixings

@Patrick — Cream cheese pie is in the fridge. My tummy is full of fondue. Ali, Ma'ayan, and I are watching Pirates. I am blissfully happy. :)

@Ma'ayan — Thanksgiving pre-adventures: Carolyn is making apple pie, Patrick's pie is in the fridge, my pumpkin pie and mini custards are done.

@Ma'ayan — @Carolyn The bit of crust and topping that fell off your pie onto the cookie sheet just got nommed and it was AMAZING. No, seriously.

@Carolyn — @Ma'ayan AAAH yay I'm so glad! Three pies, four people. This will be the best Thanksgiving/Slapsgiving.

A paper with lists

A thanksgiving schedule written on paper

@Patrick — Tomorrow's theme: A Very Fierce Thanksgiving. I will be roasting a turkey while wearing a tie. #fiercethanksgiving #bestthanksgivingever

A brief intermission for calling parents, getting things ready for tomorrow (throwing Bananagrams in my bag, listing ingredients to take to Brandi's house, washing dishes), showers, and sleeping. Our story reconvenes around 11am Thursday morning.

@Ma'ayan - Yes, I will be cooking in ridiculous getup. #Fiercegiving

A picture of a student

@Patrick — #fiercegiving is about to commence with me making my first turkey ever. Here's hoping that it goes well....

@Ma'ayan — Breakfast sandwiches by Ali, Patrick has put the turkey in the oven, PotC. #fiercegiving

A student cooking in a kitchen


@Patrick — Basted the turkey. Did I mention that this turkey is slathered in butter? #fiercegiving

@Ma'ayan — Cranberry-orange sauce on the stove to simmer, starting to prep all the veggies for the stuffing. #fiercegiving

Cranberry sauce in a pan

Chopped vegetables in a pan

@Ma'ayan — Green bean casserole & stuffing underway. Turkey out of the oven soon, Ali's going to my house to do the final dishes and pie pickup.

A student cooking in a kitchen

@Patrick — Turkey is nearly done, Ma'ayan is finishing up her dishes, Ali is finishing up hers also. Pies are ready to go. #fiercegiving

@Carolyn — Watching Pushing Daisies with Ali while she makes food. Soon, ALL the food with Ma'ayan and Patrick!

@Patrick — Turkey!! #fiercegiving

A turkey in a baking dish

The turkey on a platter

Carving the turkey

You may note that there is a picture of Patrick with the turkey earlier... I actually carved the turkey. Yes, I was wearing that crown. (Thanks for the photo, Ali!)

@Ma'ayan — Look! @ilovecharts best described our Thanksgiving dinner.

A graphic of thanksgiving dinner portions

Thanks, I Love Charts!

@Ma'ayan — Me: "Where is all this food going to go?" Ali: "In my belly. We'll do a reverse caesarean."

The table set

A plate of food

@Ma'ayan — Already had my first Thanksgiving sandwich: turkey, cranberry-orange sauce, and green bean casserole on a roll.

@Patrick — The turkey was DELICIOUS. #fiercegiving

@Ma'ayan — I am thankful for Brandi's house and dishwasher, and Ali, Carolyn, and Patrick for their company and cooking.

The table with diners

@Carolyn — I shoved my hand into a lit candle. But I was ok! This year I am thankful that I'm NOT ON FIRE.

@Carolyn — Also thankful for Ma'ayan, Ali, and Patrick for letting me share Thanksgiving with them :)

@Ma'ayan — So, we have 3 pies and 4 people. If you're in Oberlin and want pie, text me and I'll send you on a treasure hunt for pie. Or directions.

scrabble tiles spelling out "I am thankful for you"
We also had an epic several rounds of Bananagrams before we ate pie. We sent out that all-call before we started playing. Eliza took us up on our dessert offer, and played a few rounds with us, too.

@Patrick — Pie coma. #fiercegiving

@Ma'ayan — These pies. The best. #fiercegiving of awesome.

Pumpkin pie

@Patrick — I think I'm going to explode. #fiercegiving

@Ma'ayan — Our #fiercegiving is winding down: final dish-doing, soup stock started, and watching Clue.

@Patrick — #fiercegiving is officially over. It was one of the best Thanksgivings ever. Thanks, Ali, Ma'ayan, and Carolyn!

@Ali — I wonder how Thanksgiving food would taste on top of nachos. #fiercegivingLEFTOVERS

And so the Fiercegiving story ends (or begins?). The day after, and for the week after, I will be creating Thanksgiving-inspired sandwiches, and most definitely at least one delicious turkey-stock-based soup. I am thankful for this dinner crew. You guys are fiercely fabulous.


(Note: All the photos in this section were taken by Ben. He's pretty cool, both as a person and a photog.)

Now, on a similar but slightly different note, my brother began his Oberlin Thanksgiving traditions this year, too. Ben went to Akron with his friend Hannah, where he ate Persian food, learned to dance, and ice skated.

Someone sits in a passengers seat looking at themselves in a mirror

Hannah! She is most adorable (she and Ben popped by for Fiercegiving leftover extravaganga of the Thanksgiving pizza variety).

Four students pose for a photo

A mini-Obie Thanksgiving. From left to right: Christian C. (hopeful '15!), Hannah D. '14, Ben, and Ian Z. '14.

Two years ago, when I went to my very Oberlin Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh, I was doing a cute little photography project that involved homes away from home. I took photos with my family-away-from-family, and Ben took photos with my far-away family. Afterwards, I compiled all the photos in a family album and presented it as my Utopia project for Pipo's photography class. Surprisingly enough, we had some similar photos and styles of photography. You can tell we were cut from the same cloth.

This year, we are both away from our far-away family, and doing different things. Just for fun (or maybe for the start of an epic photography project to span the decades), I asked him to take photos this year, too. Here's a sample of yet another home-away-from-home Thanksgiving. I missed him at my meal this year, but Thanksgiving is as much about where you are and who you're with as who you miss.

Babies being changed

One of the things I severely missed this year was the multi-generational nature of Thanksgiving, cute babies included.

A plate of food

Pre-Thanksgiving meal.

Musicians playing

Mo on tonbak (drum) and Babak on tar (lute).

People dance in a living room

Apparently there was dancing and dancing lessons, a tradition I heartily approve of.

Carving a turkey

Hannah's dad, Majid, carved the turkey.

Platters of food

A plate filled with food

The feast! Apparently there were three tables covered with that much food. Mmm.

Three pies

Don't forget the pie! These are pumpkin, grape, and apple.

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