Friendsgiving becomes an endearing trend among youth

Meghan Schmitt, Culture Editor

Friendsgiving — An occurrence across colleges, and an experience which I have participated in for the past two years.  Despite being roped in by my friends, not until now have I wondered from where this tradition came.

CNN marks 2015 as the beginning of the Friendsgiving trend, but other news sources claim that the term existed as far back as 2008.  Media depictions of the 1973 A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving as well as the Thanksgiving episodes of the popular television show Friends (1994-2004) also set precedents for this trend. According to the Atlantic, google searches for the term “Friendsgiving” first spiked in 2014.   

Why did this trend pick up amongst young Americans? Many believe that due to inflation, millennials could not afford plane tickets to travel home for the holidays on top of their other costs.   Friendsgiving was a thrifty way for young adults to organize potluck dinners with the invited members, which cuts down on the time and cost of the meal for the individual. And like the Superbowl and the Fourth of July, it was a national day of celebration; many people have the day off, so why not celebrate together?  Friendsgiving also offers a warm, inviting atmosphere of usually like-minded individuals, leading for amiable discussions around the table. As the popular saying goes, “you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.” Some Friendsgivings occur the weekend before the holiday itself; this day is more popular with college students who use this opportunity as a final get-together before the holiday break.

For a student using Saint Anselm’s kitchens, a traditional Thanksgiving meal costs around 60 dollars, not including pots, pans, and cooking utensils.   A typical bird for this meal averages at just over a third of the total price. Using raw ingredients or remade mixes for the rest of the side dishes will determine the remainder of the cost.

The prep time for this meal is dependent upon the size of the turkey.  The turkey (or ham) is the main attraction; even if every other side dish is excellent, everyone will remember if the turkey is burnt, underdone, or dry.  This particular poultry cooks for approximately 3 to 4 hours, and it should be basted regularly throughout the second half of its cook time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent helping one of my best friends prepare a Friendsgiving meal for ten of our friends.  I must mention however, that cooking for ten people is no easy feat.

I was exhausted and famished by the time all the food was plated on the table.  Not only was I constantly on my feet around a hot oven and stovetop, I was also co-managing about five other side dishes which accompanied the turkey.  

This experience had several pros and cons.  I feel like I picked up important culinary experience by successfully cooking a turkey.  My multi-tasking skills came in to effect as my friend and I juggled the cooking stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and other sides, constantly swapping pans and turning off burners.  I spent a lovely few hours with my friends, made some memories, and at the end of the experience, I had a delicious meal to show for it.

Some of the cons of cooking Friendsgiving were the amount of time and effort it took to cook everything, as no one brought additional food.  

Impatient with the slow cooking of the turkey, my friend and I started the stuffing far too early, which meant that it was going back into the oven to reheat as the turkey was coming out to cool. We were more successful at keeping all of the food hot when the dinner began than the first year we attempted Friendsgiving.  That is another perk of Friendsgiving, the ability to improve every year.

I do have some advice for anyone thinking of attempting Friendsgiving next year, as it is an experience in which all should participate. First off, wrangle the group into bringing some dish for the meal; potluck suppers are much less stressful.  

If no one offers to bring anything but still insists on coming, delegate tasks for maximum efficiency and make sure to take turns around the stove and oven.  After the turkey enters the oven, set the table before starting to cook any sides; the potatoes will get cold, but the napkins will not.

And lastly, if the food looks good, take photos of it! Take videos of everyone cooking together! A few interrupted moments will provide tangible images which can immortalize the event forever.