DIY Thanksgiving feast

Amanda Hart/File

Thanksgiving is well-known as the patron holiday of the three Fs: friends, family and, of course, food. A significant number of UC Berkeley students will be heading home in the next few hours — or are already there — enjoying the company of their relatives, tearfully reuniting with the family dog and wondering at what point all the exercise equipment in the house was moved into their room. If you are one of those lucky people, please cease and desist your reading: This article is not for you.

If you’re still reading, you’re staying in Berkeley for the holiday and are going to have to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for yourself. It’s a daunting task, but you’re in luck: we at the Clog have prepared a gourmet meal plan for your dining pleasure, consisting of locally-sourced ingredients that can be found around campus or even in your room itself. Bon appétit!

We recommend starting your Thanksgiving dinner with some light fare to whet your appetite. While in a normal situation, we’d suggest something along the lines of fruit or bread, the fact that both of those items are inordinately expensive on a college budget has created a need for a little improvisation. Plucking some ripened blackberries from the field behind Strawberry Creek will help with the cost, as long as you don’t mind stares from passersby, scratches on your arms from the thorns and a meager harvest of three blackberries after a full hour of searching. Fortunately, finding a bread substitute is much easier. Simply wrench that sweet roll you’ve been “saving for a rainy day” since September off of your shelf — careful, it’s stuck and definitely stale — and, you know, eat it. Or at least try to, because in all honesty, it’s probably harder than the second Chem 1A midterm and you might chip a tooth if you bite down too hard. 

Next, the greens. What would Thanksgiving be without them? Our suggestions aren’t necessarily edible — which is okay because even if you had real vegetables at the table, you’d ignore them — but they’re easy to make and they look pretty nice. For example, instead of finding real corn, print out a picture from the Internet and slap it on a plate for a gorgeous dinner arrangement, courtesy of Google. For green beans, simply rip up a patch of grass and throw it in a bowl — it’s green, isn’t it? Mashed potatoes are easily made by taking all your old quiz and homework papers, soaking them in water and smashing them into a thick white paste, while cranberry sauce can be symbolized with an arrangement of red apples, hastily snuck out of Crossroads and, with the power of imagination, transformed into three raw, oversized cranberries. Even if your stomach won’t be satisfied with these dishes, if you do the angles and lighting right, all 17 of your Instagram followers definitely will.

Now, the main course. Though we can never again simply get chicken strips from the Golden Bear Cafe, we do have other options. Originally, we were going to tell you to capture a turkey from the forest behind Foothill, but due to a recent uptick in turkey-related injuries, this year’s suggestion is ramen instead. (Don’t be surprised — did you really think you were going to be able to go one meal without consuming copious amounts of sodium and MSG?) Flavor your noodles with some turkey seasoning and pumpkin spices to get into the holiday spirit and to ward off the hint of sadness-flavor that pervades every ramen meal. Maybe drown out the salty taste of your tears with some stuffing made by mixing together all the random pieces of food you have in your room in a large bowl. Gravy is another option; it can be substituted with coffee or any other beverage of your choice, which honestly, you knew you were going to drink too much of anyway.

All good family Thanksgiving dinners end with pumpkin pie, and all hastily-made Thanksgiving dorm meals end with pumpkin spice lattes. Though it’s a tad basic — and definitely requires a trek off campus — it’ll be nice to have a hot drink to warm you against the desolate cold of your lonely apartment. Alternatively, go down to Crossroads for a piece of pie — or, actually, maybe for your entire dinner. 

Contact Ariel Sauri at [email protected].