The 31st annual Thanksgiving feast will take place Thursday evening at the Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The 31st annual Thanksgiving feast will take place Thursday evening at the Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery.

November 20, 2018

Annual Thanksgiving Feast Celebrates Cultural Exchange

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Cornell Dining has prepared a traditional feast for those staying in Ithaca over the Thanksgiving break. According to Robert Purcell Market Eatery dining operations manager Harry Ashendorf, the meal will feature 340 pounds of turkey, 260 pounds of salmon, 250 pounds of potatoes and 70 pounds of tofu — sure to satisfy even the most voracious holiday appetites.

In addition to Thanksgiving classics such as turkey and mashed potatoes, the menu will also incorporate foods with an “international twist” such as szechuan green beans and purple mango rice, according to Brandon Lanners, associate director of operations at the Office of Global Learning.

The Thanksgiving Feast goes back to more than 30 years ago due to the increasing amount of international students at Cornell, many of which were unfamiliar with the American holiday and live too far to go home during Thanksgiving break, said Dustin Cutler, director of Cornell Dining. The bounty is expected to feed approximately 850 people, according to Ashendorf.

According to Cutler, Thanksgiving’s purpose of “spending time with friends and family and good food,” translates even across cultural boundaries.

“This Thanksgiving meal is our engagement with the people in our community, and especially some of our international students, faculty, and staff, that are far from their friends and family and are not able to travel to see them as our expression of gratitude as we gather in unity for a meal and humbly reflect,” Lanners said.

The Office of Global Learning, which houses the former International Students and Scholars Office, believes this meal helps foster and encourage cultural exchange.

“The mission of the Office of Global Learning is developing and supporting the next generation of global citizens by fostering mobility, exploration, and international and cultural exchange.” Lanners told The Sun in an email. “This event is a key element in our efforts to foster and embrace this mission by gathering in celebration of this common purpose.”

The event, now in its 31st year, attracts more than just students who are on campus for the break. Of the 840 people who attended the dinner last year, there were 368 faculty and staff, 31 alumni and 38 community members, Lanners said.

“The Traditional American Thanksgiving Feast gives us an opportunity to open our doors to a very broad community — not just the whole Cornell community, but the Ithaca community as a whole,” Cutler told The Sun in an email.

In particular, this event has attracted families and individuals that choose not to cook for themselves on this holiday. Additionally, some chefs, managers and staff who are working the meal will also bring their own families to event, Cutler said.

Tickets are still currently on sale online for the 1:30 p.m. seating time. The prices are $14 for adults, $8 for children aged 6-12 and free for children aged 5 and younger and will not be sold at the door. There have been over 600 tickets sold as of the time of this publication according to Lanners.