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For the last two days, I’ve been prowling the streets of Louisville harassing Louisvillians about their Thanksgiving traditions. Here is what I’ve found.

Tony Pike

Actor and Barista at Please & Thank You

So what to you do for Thanksgiving?

“So Thanksgiving is kind of a different holiday in my family. Most people that I know go off and do a big family thing but…it’s always just been my immediate family and myself. It’s awesome. I love it that way. It’s usually just a lot quieter and a lot slower and a very specific family time that I don’t get a whole lot, especially nowadays because I live so far away from Mom and Dad. On top of that, I’m allergic to poultry so…my mom makes brisket every Thanksgiving and that’s kinda awesome. It’s kinda the best thing in the world. My mom is also this awesome Southern cook, so she makes all this food, she makes a sh*t ton of food, there are like five people there and then we just eat for like a week off of all of it.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“Hands down the brisket. My mom cooks it perfectly all the time. That’s probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving, that or chocolate pie, ‘cause I love chocolate pie. My mom makes this…awesome chocolate pie. I mean it’s amazing. She makes this meringue…like I don’t even know how she does it.”

Lee Jones

Owner of Oak Street Hardware

What do you love about Thanksgiving?

“I love the giving part of it. Working with the community to help the poor. I go every year to work at the Salvation Army to distribute food.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“I guess it’s turkey. We has gotten into the fried turkey, so I like the fried turkey. Well, I can’t tell you the other one we do."

Oh come on now.

“Chitlins.”

Rose Ann Stacy

Clerk at Muth’s Candy

Why is Thanksgiving special to you?

“To me, Thanksgiving is memories and family getting together and fixing your favorite food and just being together….and we have memories, we talk about people that aren’t with us any longer and the memories of them on Thanksgiving.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“The dressing. I make homemade dressing. One year my husband said ‘Why don’t you use the [stovetop dressing] this year instead of doing all that work?’...our son came in and when he ate it he said ‘MOM what did you DO?!’ So we never did that again and we went back to making it from scratch.”

What are you thankful for?

“I’m thankful for my family, my kids, my grandkids.”

Kathy Brakeman

Manager at Sam Meyer

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

“Family. Everybody getting together and having dressing and dinners that my grandmother fixed…she always made green bean casserole, just redoing things like that.”

What’s your favorite thanksgiving food?

“Probably the dressing…she does a turkey dressing, I guess she does like oysters in it. And it’s stuff you don’t get all year long, so it kind of stands out.”

Marvin

Master Barber of Crisp-N-Clean Cuts

What do you do for thanksgiving?

“I go to my family’s house, sit back, play some games with the kids and eat a lot of food. I love turkey and cranberry sauce. Homemade cranberry sauce.”

What are you excited about this Thanksgiving?

“I don’t have any kids yet—but one expected. She’s due on Thanksgiving. I might be a dad this week. That’s going to be my Christmas present and Thanksgiving gift all in one.”

Emily Douglas

Account Executive at Louisville Magazine 

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

“Fried oysters and champagne. They  have to be fresh oysters, they can’t be pond raised.  We cook those earlier in the day, and then we can snack on them while everything else is being prepared.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

"The oysters, because it’s the only time of year we ever really fix them."

What are you thankful for?

"Wine."

Patrick Peak

Diner at Ermin’s Café

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

“Getting together with family and being thankful for the things that I have. Really that’s it, just being thankful for everything we have in this country, which is more than anywhere else in the world.  And family, and friends, and my cats…we’re a cat family. My wife loves cats too. We rescued them. That’s something else I’m thankful for: my animals."

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“Dressing. It’s my mother’s dressing. She’s not around anymore but it’s the dressing she always fixed…it’s oyster dressing. The turkey leg is good too."

Jae Grady

Manager at Why Louisville

What do you do for Thanksgiving?

“For me, I have a pretty small family that lives here in Louisville, so it’s an opportunity for us to bring in other people that maybe don’t have a place to go. We have a father in son that are here from Japan that will be having Thanksgiving with us, and there’s a family who just got here a couple years ago from Cuba that will be having Thanksgiving with us. And that’s pretty much how Thanksgiving is every year for us.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“I love stuffing. It’s the only time of the year you get stuffing! Stuffing only comes once a year!”

What are you thankful for?

“I’m thankful for my son.”

Nathen Myers

Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard

What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?

“Obviously the food. I love getting the chance to sit around with both my wife’s family and my dad’s family a lot. My dad was the youngest of six, and each of those six have at least two kids, and all of those kids had at least one, most of them had two. We all gather at my grandparents house and sit and eat and laugh and tell stories.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“Smoked turkey.”

Why is Thanksgiving special to you?

“I’ve missed more Thanksgivings than I have Christmases. I missed one while I was at basic training and I missed one while I was in Afghanistan last year. Like, that’s the holiday I miss the most.”

Elizabeth Trantanella

Diner at Please and Thank You

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

“I usually go to one of my split family’s houses….my parents are divorced so I’ve always picked and choosed and rotated which one I would go to each year…my aunt randomly lives in Lexington because she’s got a nice property down there, so that’s where we’re going this year.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

“I’ve always liked the pumpkin pie. I remember my great-grandma making it every year and always really enjoying it.”

What are you thankful for?

I’m grateful for just like a really great community of friends, because I’m not from here. I met a lot of really awesome people in the past year. So just grateful to have met a lot of great, supporting people.” 

Photos: Elizabeth Myers


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About Elizabeth Myers

Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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