Giving thanks on Thanksgiving

Alex Thronton and Spencer Thornton making pie using Miguel Ruiz’s tips. Chris Ramirez/Courtesy

As the year comes to a close, it is only normal to reflect on the good and bad that has happened to one another. It still makes perfect sense if the first thing someone wants to do is completely forget about this difficult year. Most people probably can’t wait until the year is over in hopes of  a better time in 2021. 

With that said, it is important now more than ever to reflect on the good that did happen this year. Or to simply share the good that can come out of Thanksgiving, what to look forward to or even share something as simple as a recipe that can bring a smile to others. 

Miguel Ruiz has been a chef for over 20 years and currently works at the Montage, a five star resort and spa in Laguna Beach, Calif. He shares the foods he likes to cook on the holidays for his family and friends

“Since I’m Mexican, I like adding a couple different things to the table,” Miguel said. “Besides the turkey, I always make some carne asada, marinating it the night before to bring out extra flavor. For dessert, I make my own pumpkin pie from scratch— a good tip is using vodka on the crust since alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, and of course, some cold horchata.” 

Not only is Thanksgiving a time to eat lots of food and hangout with family but it can be a good time to give back. There are many ways to help out, even during the pandemic.

“I usually volunteer at soup kitchens during the week of Thanksgiving,” Esther Park said, a student at the University of Santa Cruz. “With COVID-19 though, I think some places still will accept volunteers, but I don’t want to take any chances. So instead, I’m going to get some extra cans and an extra turkey, I have to donate to some of these places to help out as much as I can.”

Experts have advised that the best thing to do this holiday is to avoid large groups. It is normal to want to see family and friends but with safety in mind, it’s important to keep the group small. Ideally, stay with those you live with and contact loved ones over Facetime or Zoom.

“My family is pretty large, so I’m pretty bummed out that we won’t spend this thanksgiving together,” Marlon Moreno said, a student at the College of the Desert. “Though I understand how important it is to do our part to keep others safe. Yeah, this thanksgiving will be a bit empty, but it’s important so that for the next couple Thanksgivings all my family can be there with me.” 

Although this holiday season may not be like the others in the past, these are many ways to bring the same joy to others and while staying  safe at the same time during this Thanksgiving.