How To Survive Thanksgiving If You Can’t Get Home
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family. If you live far from home, though, making the trip to see your family might be too expensive. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole week curled up in bed with Netflix, though. You can fight the homesick blues by throwing your own Thanksgiving, right from your dorm.
So, gather your still-in-town friends and plan to make your very own Thanksgiving dinner! Try these plans to give your holiday meal the classic flavors of home. It won’t make up for not seeing your family, but it just might help you connect with them in spirit and bring you closer to others on campus.
1.) The turkey
The bird’s the word on the Thanksgiving table. Fortunately, turkeys are incredibly cheap at any grocery store during this time of year. With a little bit of preparation, you can turn a frozen bird into a delicious feast. The secret is every dorm chef’s best friend: the crock pot. Cooking in a crock pot does mean aiming small; don’t get a turkey larger than 10 pounds.
Take out everything inside the bird and give it ample time to thaw. You can do this in a garbage bag or a clean bucket, but be sure to add ice to prevent bacteria from growing. Once it’s thawed, take a package of dry soup mix and coat the outside of the bird. Place it into the dry crock pot with the lid on and cook on low. It’s best to leave it overnight or start it early in the morning for an evening meal. It’ll probably take 7-8 hours to fully cook. Once it’s done, you can feed your friends (and yourself) for several meals. Look for the tiny plastic timer on the bird. It’ll pop up when it has reached a safe temperature.
2.) The sides
Most thanksgiving sides come in a can. All you need to do is open them, heat in a microwave, and serve. You can reuse the same heating dish and return them to the cans to serve; there’s no rule that Dormsgiving has to be classy!
Vegetables like green beans are incredibly easy to prepare. Just put them in a container and microwave them for a few minutes. Salads, too, just take a quick chop and a toss with bottled dressing. If you really want to be fancy, two-burner ceramic cooktops that plug into the wall can give you all the functionality of a skillet or sauce pot.
This is the biggest challenge. No oven means no traditional baked goods like pies, but there are a few cheats. First, use a store-bought crust. This eliminates the need to bake it to crisp it up. Look for graham or cookie crust, depending on your flavor preference. Next, look for refrigeratable fillings. Think pudding pies, cream pies or cheesecakes. Most of these desserts just need to be mixed up and put in the fridge. Of course, you can simply buy dessert at the supermarket.
Remember, though, that the important part about the holiday isn’t what you eat, it’s your frame of mind. If you’re grateful for what you have and who you’re with, you’re already celebrating Thanksgiving.
Enjoy it, no matter where you are!