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Daniel U. Perez ’06 may not get to eat his favorite, pecan pie, this Thanksgiving.
The expense and the distance of a journey home preclude Perez, who is from near Los Angeles, Calif, from venturing across the country. Instead, he and other students in similar situations must settle for what Harvard and the Square have to offer.
For those students who do choose to remain in Cambridge, the College provides a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, stuffing and two varieties of cranberry sauce—jellied and real—in the Adams House dining hall.
The turkey dinner rotates annually between Adams, Dunster and Quincy Houses, Alex McNitt, director of marketing and communications for Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) said.
“That way no one staff has to bear the burden,” she said.
HUDS expects 400-600 diners at Adams for the traditional Thanksgiving fare, according to the House Manager Michael Riordan.
“We try to make the meal as homey as possible, with the aromas of things cooking,” said Rosemary McGahey, HUDS director of residential dining. “We try to make things a bit more elegant or upscale—dinner is served in the dining room, complete with banquet tables and carving stations.”
Dinner is served between noon and 3 p.m. for any students, faculty and staff who choose to attend. There are no inter-house dining restrictions on Thanksgiving day.
The menu boasts Carolina turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, squash, sweet-potato souffle, cranberry sauce, rolls, mulled cider and assorted pies—including pumpkin, of course.
The event is very popular with those students who decide to remain in Cambridge, according to McNitt.
While HUDS lays out fine spread, it is not dramatically more expensive than an average supper, McGahey said.
The food cost of an average HUDS dinner tends to be between $3.25-3.50 per person, she said.
“The turkey dinner is definitely closer to the higher end,” she adds, however.
Several Houses are providing alternatives or additions to the Adams repast.
Lowell House Co-Masters Diana L. Eck and Dorothy A. Austin have volunteered their kitchen to upwards of 35 Lowell House tutors, students and friends who plan to cook a Thanksgiving meal starting on Wednesday night.
“Not a lot of students stay around, but for those who do it is nice to have some sense of community and to break bread together,” said Allison B. Tirres, assistant senior tutor in Lowell House.
“Tutors too would like to go home and see their families; we thought it would be nice to recreate that,” she said.
Lowell resident tutor and Executive Director of the Phillips Brooks House Association Gene A. Corbin has also incorporated public service into the day by enabling students and tutors to cover shifts serving dinner to those less fortunate at a local homeless shelter.
Matthew Peattie, a Pforzheimer resident tutor, is hosting a supper followed by a movie screening for residents according to Sharon Holt, the House administrator.
“We always try to encourage tutors to have dinner in the House,” she said.
For some students, particularly those who have parents in town for the holiday, Harvard Square offers a number of Turkey Day dining options.
Jim Carr, manager of Henrietta’s Table in the Charles Hotel, said that he expects numerous Harvard affiliates for their Thanksgiving buffet.
“Some parents have already dropped by and made reservations for their children,” he said.
However, The Inn at Harvard has canceled their annual dinner, forcing those families and guests who had made reservations to change their plans.
“There weren’t enough reservations to warrant serving it,” said Robert Sweeney, the catering manager.
Others will rely on roommates and friends close to Cambridge for their Thanksgiving fare.
Charles A. Price ’03-’04, also from California, is staying in Cambridge to work on his thesis, which is due Dec. 5.
Price said he has returned home to celebrate Turkey Day every other year, but felt that time was too restricted this year to make the cross country trek.
“This year there is so little time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that it didn’t seem worth it to go home,” he said.
Price said he has secured an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner with his roommate from Needham, Mass.
“If my roommate hadn’t invited me, I would have cast around for an invitation,” he said.
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