Slideshow: Bowdoin Dining Serves Thanksgiving Meal to Thankful Students

An essay on Thanksgiving Dinner at Bowdoin by Lidey Heuck ’12:

On Thanksgiving, Bowdoin students will sit down to special dinners across the country. Many will travel home and others will stay in Brunswick to celebrate with friends or community members. But long before they have headed off, Bowdoin students will already have enjoyed a Thanksgiving Dinner with their classmates.

Last Thursday, Dining Services hosted its annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the campus dining halls. The dinner is one of the most highly anticipated events of the fall semester at Bowdoin, not only because Dining Services prepares a feast (of nearly Hogwarts proportions), but also because the event gives students a chance to get together and relax during the busy week before Thanksgiving Break.

Bowdoin’s Thanksgiving Dinner generates such hype that students typically line up in the Thorne Dining Hall lobby 20 minutes before dinner opens to beat the rush and secure a table. Janice Mason, who has worked as a a production assistant in Thorne for 27 years, said, “Only about 300 students go to Moulton on Thanksgiving night, so you can imagine the number who come through Thorne. Sometimes we ask ourselves, is this line ever going to stop?”

While some students opt to show up at 4:45 p.m., others wait until 6:30 or 7 p.m., when they think the rush has passed. There doesn’t seem to be a “right” time to arrive at Thorne, nor does there seem to be a shortage of theories on when that time might be. Daniel Dickstein ’13, said, “One of the best parts of Bowdoin Thanksgiving has got to be the never-ending debate over when is the best time to go to the dining hall in order to miss the huge lines.”

Many students agree, however, that waiting in line is well worth it. Dining serves the Thanksgiving standards — turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie — along with special touches that exemplify Dining Services’ dedication to making the meal an occasion. Mason said, “We always try to do something extra.” Gourmet salads, such as baby spinach with pear and blue cheese, as well as homemade molasses rolls, were a big hit with students. But this year’s ultimate “something extra?” Venison stew.

For seniors, the Thanksgiving Dinner has become a well-loved and soon-to-be-missed occasion. Dickstein said, “I’m going to miss being able to celebrate a special holiday together with all of my friends, and, of course, I’m going to miss the delicious pie.” Seniors have succeeded in impressing their fondness of this Bowdoin tradition upon friends and relatives in the first-year class, who anticipate the dinner even before they’ve experienced it. Andrew Fradin, ’16, said, “Having my sister here and knowing lots of her senior friends, I heard that the Thanksgiving dinner was amazing here.”

After all the hype, long hours of preparation in the dining hall kitchens and countless plates of food served to students, does Bowdoin’s Thanksgiving Dinner live up to its reputation? Fradin seems to think so. “Dinner was amazing,” he said. “It really was even better than I expected.”

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  1. Nathaniel Harrison says:

    As I did last year, I question the appropriateness of this gesture, which — as portrayed in the Bowdoin Daily Sun — strikes me as an exercise in gratuitous self-indulgence and conspicuous consumption. I suspect most Bowdoin students will have been more than adequately fed by their families on Thursday. Do they really need TWO Thanksgiving feasts? Is this really how the College, which seeks to promote the common good,should be sharing the bounty with which it has been blessed?
    Nathaniel Harrison ’68

  2. Duncan Gibson says:

    Good for Bowdoin for doing this! I’d have to ask the previous commenter what is wrong with ‘going-all-out’ once or twice a semester?

    Good for Bowdoin students to have, and be thankful for, Thanksgiving with their Bowdoin family, too!

    I hope students at my alma mater (Colby, ’83) had a chance to do the same…..except Colby stopped using trays several years ago –an immediate decrease in the amount of wasted food!

    And, to answer Mr. Harrison, I would think that Bowdoin and Colby students alike have taken time this semester to attend in numerous ways to the common good –on campus, in town, at home, to help those who need help, and learn about various lives and lifestyles.

    To be able to celebrate with friends, on campus, is neither gratuitous, self-indulgent, nor conspicuous.

    I’m quite sure Mr. Harrison has similar thoughts on the various lobster-bakes and other special events the two colleges hold —-tradition, welcoming, and hearty.


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