Sac State students dish out their Thanksgiving favorites

Hornets reveal their essential dishes for the upcoming holiday


Hailey Valdivia

Sac State students are excited to see their favorite dishes on Thanksgiving. (Graphic made in Canva)

Hailey Valdivia

As the year comes to a close, students at Sacramento State make their way home to join friends and family to enjoy the company of their loved ones. It’s also a time to share time-tested dishes that make the stomachs here in the newsroom and across the campus grumble.

But it’s not all turkey and mashed potatoes. The dishes students look forward to getting full on this weekend come from all sorts of cultural roots.

Mom’s speciality 

Celina Martinez, a first year biology major, said that her favorite Thanksgiving dish has always been her mother’s green bean casserole. 

“It tastes like green beans, but it doesn’t taste like green beans,” Martinez said. “It tastes a lot like chicken and onion — just everything I like.” 

Celia Martinez, first year biology major outside the Riverfront Center on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Martinez said that her favorite Thanksgiving dish was her mom’s green bean casserole. (Photo: Hailey Valdivia. (Graphic made in Canva) (Hailey Valdivia )

Jeanette Guzman, a first year psychology major, said that her favorite dish was her mom’s macaroni casserole — a favorite of the entire family. 

“I don’t know what it’s called,” Guzman said. It’s like a specific dish, but she puts some big macaroni pasta with cream and vegetables and it’s all by hand.” 

Guzman said that her family usually skips the stereotypical Thanksgiving menu of turkey and potatoes. 

“I think we’ve only done turkey once,” Guzman said. “We’re actually gonna have pozole this year, tamales, some side dishes, my mom’s casserole and this green bean casserole that my grandma makes.” 

Side dishes

Eduardo Garcia, a third-year history major, said that his favorite dish is bread rolls.

“They’re warm and toasty and so good,” Garcia said. “My mom often makes them from scratch when she can.”

The bread rolls remind him of his favorite memories of Thanksgiving and his family all together, according to him. 

“My cousins from the Bay Area came over to spend one Thanksgiving with us,” Garcia said. “The whole family was together and it was so nice.”

Instead of turkey and cornbread, he and his family serve chicken and tamales. 

“We usually have other Mexican food,” Garica said. “Flautas, mashed potatoes and pan dulce.”

Third year history major Eduardo Garcia outside Alpine Hall on Thursday, Nov.10, 2022. Garcia said that bread rolls are his favorite dish because they are warm and tasty. (Photo: Hailey Valdivia. Graphic made in Canva) (Hailey Valdivia )

Sweet enough to be a dessert but savory enough to be a side dish, Misty Hilbourne, a third-year child development, said that her favorite is candied yams. 

“Sweet and that’s a treat, but it’s also a sweet potato,” Hilbourne said. “So it’s healthier than a brownie you know?” 

 Hilbourne said that she first had it at her ex-boyfriend’s house and that it was something she had never tried before. 

“Growing up, we had turkey, mac and cheese, potatoes,” Hilbourne said. “Just the basics; maybe green bean casserole. But [trying candied yams] got me to step out of that comfort zone.”.  

Third year child development major Misty Hilbourne sitting outside the Riverfront Center on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. Hilbourne picked candied yams as her favorite dish. (Photo: Hailey Valdivia. Graphic made in Canva) (Hailey Valdivia )

Thanksgiving is different for everyone

Mare Nojan, a third-year psychology major, said her family does not always celebrate the holiday but when they do, it is more about spending the holiday together than the food.

“When my family comes together, it’s a potluck and they all bring some sort of Afghan food and we all know which auntie makes the best food and who brings what,” Nojan said. 

Hot takes on the classics 

Some students have controversial opinions towards traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Martinez said she likes almost every dish served on this holiday other than one that usually comes in a red box

“I personally am not a stuffing fan, but I can understand why people would like it,” Martinez said. “I think everything else is way better than the stuffing itself.” 

Both Nojan and Garica have the same disdain for stuffing but said mashed potatoes are a must for everyone across the board. 

“Mashed potatoes with gravy is my favorite out of everything,” Yessenia  Guerrero, a fourth-year interior architecture major said. 

Within the community of mashed potato fans, Some preferred a certain twist on the traditional side dish.

“You can tell when they’re out of the box versus when somebody actually puts in the work,” Hilbourne said. “And yeah, I definitely like them when they are not instant.”