Thanksgiving Festivites AboundBy Jane Yoo
For college students across the country, out of the dark depths of the fall semester, before the onslaught of final exams, arises one last ray of hope:Thanksgiving. While many MIT students will be going home to see relatives over the break, people who remain here have a number of options for what to do during the holiday.
In McCormick Hall, housemasters Charles Stewart III and Kathryn M. Hess have held a pot-luck dinner for McCormick residents for the past several years. Additionally, residents who leave on Thursday are able to go to a special Thanksgiving breakfast. In true holiday spirit, this involves eating muffins and fruit and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
"We try to reproduce a traditional middle-American Thanksgiving Day, without the football," Stewart said.
Others choose to spend the holiday in the service of others.
Circle-K, a service organization on campus, was recently involved in serving Thanksgiving dinner at the the site of the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation. With the help of several cooks from Walker Memorial, members cooked six turkeys and prepared stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce for the eighty people who attended the dinner.
On Monday, the Class of 2001 sponsored an Thanksgiving inspirational speaker. This year's speaker was Stephen W. Altes '84, an aerospace engineer, humorist, and Brad Pitt stand-in. Currently, the sophomore class is also holding a canned food drive to benefit Cambridge's Margaret Fuller House, a shelter.
Holiday offers food and memories
Who can deny that Thanksgiving is a holiday all about food? Americans associate Thanksgiving with specific types of food - stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, pumpkin pie, and turkey. The careful and time-honored custom of preparing these comestibles continues to delight many people at MIT.
Like many others, President Charles M. Vest "enjoys every minute" of preparing the entire Thanksgiving meal. Joined by his wife, two children, and other family members, he will be spending this Thanksgiving in Charleston, W. Va.
Many MIT employees have very fond memories of Thanksgivings past. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Bonnie J. Walters remembers spending several Thanksgivings in Spain.
Although Spaniards normally only eat turkey at Christmas, Walters and her American roommates always managed to obtain a Butterball turkey for the holiday.
Once, for her Spanish guests, Walters made pumpkin pie from canned pumpkin. When the guests learned that the pie was made from pumpkin, their faces turned slightly green, Walters recalled. Food "can serve as a wonderful bridge between cultures," she said.
In the midst of basting turkeys and making gravy, we often forget for what we are truly thankful. Professor of Biology Robert A. Weinberg '64 has much for which he is grateful. Weinberg, who will be spending this Thanksgiving in Hartford, Conn. with his wife and many other relatives, grew up in a family that came from Europe. As a result, he did not experience a deep-rooted Thanksgiving tradition. However, Weinberg is very "thankful for the stroke of luck of being able to grow up and thrive in this country," as opposed to Central Europe, which his parents fled.
"We live in a great country full of wonderful people, and there are few days in my life when I'm not very thankful for that!" he said.