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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Our staff’s favorite Thanksgiving foods


Trenedy’s Pick: Turkey and Ham

Obviously the largest Thanksgiving staple is turkey. Turkey is a must have at every thanksgiving gathering across the country, and it’s got so many different ways to eat it. Put it on a roll, eat it by itself, put it with the dressing, the opportunities are endless. Another large staple that goes hand in hand with turkey is ham. Ham is truly what steals the show. Honey, country and brown sugar are just a few examples of the way ham can be cooked. How many other holiday foods have that kind of versatility? None. 

Both of these have been a staple at Thanksgiving celebrations everywhere for as long as anyone can remember. 

Amberly’s Pick: Dressing 

Here in the South a huge staple for Thanksgiving has always been chicken and dressing. This is what my family always did in place of stuffing. This beautiful dish is usually made with chicken, celery, onions, stuffing mix and cornbread. Although, I personally prefer to forgo the celery, because ew.

I am personally of the opinion that this is the absolute best Thanksgiving dish, especially when paired with a roll and turkey gravy. Southern people just know how to cook. 

Emma’s Pick: Mac & Cheese

My mom is a goddess in the kitchen. I know it’s a common belief among most people, but I mean it with my whole chest. Her specialty? Macaroni and cheese.

Macaroni and cheese is the universal side. It goes well with steak, turkey, ham, chicken or even on its own. It can be baked or served straight off the stove in all of its gooey, cheesy glory. I’m partial to a cheddar-colby jack mix, but throw some gouda in there and it is just as mouth-watering. Whoever invented elbow noodles coated in cheese sauce deserves the world. 

Could you imagine a Thanksgiving meal without the iconic mac and cheese side? No. Only a monster would deprive themself of that little joy.

As a lactose intolerant girlie, I still wholeheartedly believe that macaroni and cheese is the best food known to man.

Kelley’s Pick: Turkey Gumbo

This is a bit of an odd pick, and it’s not *technically* a Thanksgiving meal, but it does include a Thanksgiving classic. Every year, my grandmother – my Nanny – saves whatever turkey is left over from Thanksgiving dinner, and she puts it in the freezer for one purpose: making turkey gumbo for Christmas dinner.

She learned how to make her signature gumbo from her mother-in-law, my great-grandmother (a fully French woman who grew up in Louisiana, so her recipe is to be trusted), and it’s been a family favorite for basically my entire life. I cannot begin to describe how good it is, and because she only blesses us with it once or twice a year, I always look forward to it. 

Picture this: a bowl of rice, topped with the warm, savory goodness Nan has spent the entire day making, with a side of her famous garlic bread – of which she makes an entire baguette’s-worth special for me because she knows I don’t like the crunchy edges. She’s a sweetheart, and her gumbo is to die for.

Trevor’s Pick: Pumpkin Pie

There is no food item on this earth that embodies the spirit of autumn in such an accurate manner as pumpkin pie. There is no other dish that combines the deep auburn coloring, warm cinnamon scent and smooth custardy texture as beautifully as it does.

Growing up, my family seldom made our own homemade pumpkin pie. Even still, the mass produced Publix dessert formed the foundation of many core memories of the fall season.

I will never understand how some people don’t feel a deep, personal connection with the warm colors of fall time; it leaves me bumfuzzled. The dark orange and brown shades of the filling will be forever cemented in my psyche as one with the Thanksgiving holiday. Many of my most vivid memories are those of the falling leaves and the bright auburn flames wrapping the bark of burning logs within the fireplace. Is it because of a supernatural connection between my hair color and the natural hues of autumn? Perhaps. Am I completely and intentionally biased towards these tones because I think my hair color is the best hair color? Probably. One thing is inarguable, pumpkin pie showcases these colors better than any other dish.

Regardless of my own bias, one thing is true. Throughout all of Thanksgiving’s history, though many dishes have come and gone, pumpkin pie has remained.

Whitney’s Pick : Mashed Potatoes 

“Trisha Paytas” this and “Ethan Klein” that, the REAL frenemies that I think about are me and mashed potatoes. 

It started as a kid, that silver pot on the stove with the beige fluff inside. My dad would ask why I hadn’t included them on my plate and I’d tell him, like I told him every time we had them, that I didn’t like mashed potatoes. There was just something about a food with that texture and consistency that didn’t belong with the taste of a french fry. Nope, I was perfectly happy with my lima beans and cornbread. 

However, my high school cafeteria experience changed that, and not because they made good mashed potatoes, no. It was because I disliked most of the food at school so much and yet never packed my lunch that one day, on the brink of starvation, I picked up the mashed potatoes.

And then I didn’t see what the big deal was. These were great. Of course they were, potatoes are great in all of their beautiful, starchy forms. Why had I hated them so much? 

And that’s the story of how mashed potatoes became my favorite Thanksgiving food. Just kidding, actually, the funny thing is that it depends on the day. I either crave them viciously or don’t want them in my sight. C’est la vie. 

So if you see me scooping mashed potatoes onto my plate this Thanksgiving, just know it’s an act of courage years in the making. 

Bre’s Pick: Deviled Eggs

I don’t like Thanksgiving food. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I would never turn down a plate of homemade chicken and dressing, the majority of typical holiday food just doesn’t do it for me. There’s only so many times I can down the same plate of potato salad, green beans and collards, only to eat the same things all over again at Christmas. I don’t even get excited for sweet potato pie anymore. 

But there is one food that makes my eyes light up whenever I see it on the kitchen table: my grandma’s deviled eggs. I don’t know what she does to those eggs but they are fierce. The perfect mix of savory and spice. She coats the top of each one with a fine layer of cayenne pepper. To a spice-lover such as myself, Granny’s devilled eggs are heaven (no pun intended). 

While holiday dinner food as a whole is pretty boring, the family traditions make up for it. My favorite one? Stealing one of Granny’s devilled eggs before the guests get their paws on them. They go quick!

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About the Contributors
Emma Tanner
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.
Amberly Brown
Amberly Brown, Staff Writer
Trenedy Parks
Trenedy Parks, News Editor
Trenedy Parks is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Tenne. She is working towards a bachelor’s degree in journalism and digital media. She has worked as a staff writer for The Flor-Ala since Aug. 2022, and as News Editor since Aug. 2023. Her goals as a writer are to learn more about Florence and its community and to become more involved with the people of UNA.
Trevor Mickle
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.
Whitney Veazey
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.
Kelley Peters
Kelley Peters, Managing Editor
Kelley is a junior from Tupelo, Miss. who is majoring in English literature with a minor in applied linguistics. She is currently Managing Editor for The Flor-Ala. She has loved reading for as long as she can remember, which developed her love of storytelling and the English language. Her career goal is to become an English professor at a university. She was previously a volunteer writer in the Fall of 2021, became a Staff Writer in January of 2022 and moved to being News Editor in January of 2023.
Bre Goodwin
Bre Goodwin, Former Lead Graphic Designer

Bre Goodwin is a junior majoring in Cinematic Arts & Theatre with a concentration in Acting. As a graphic designer for the Flor-Ala, she is passionate about art and the ways it can heal individuals and unite communities. She is from Leighton, Ala.

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