Festive Fall and Thanksgiving Food Traditions from IHS Students

Katie Schwartz, Staff Writer

It is officially fall. That means Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you will have a couple days off school to enjoy some sleeping in, a break from homework, and all those amazing fall and Thanksgiving-themed activities and treats. Traditions with friends and family are great ways to bond, show gratitude, and slow down to focus on the important things in your life. Now, let us dive deeper to see what festive goods and activities Issaquah High School students like to enjoy during this season. 

Apples, sweet and versatile for fall baking, are a perfect seasonal fruit around these months. Freshman Zoey Schuler agrees. She says, “For Thanksgiving, and all throughout the fall months, you will find my family and I eating apple crisp a lot.” 

In fact, the recipe website, All Recipes, provides a simple apple crisp recipe made in a unique and ingenious way. I do not know about you, but whatever protein you are having on your table this year, it is probably going to be in the oven for a while. Never fear, you are not relying on that appliance for this recipe, which is what makes it perfect for a busy day in the kitchen. This apple crisp is made slow-cooker style. It is as simple as adding your apples to the slow cooker with a mixture of cornstarch, spices, and lemon juice. Then, make your topping with flour, white and brown sugar, salt, butter, and walnuts, raisins, or any other add-in of choice. Spread that topping mixture over the apples, cover the cooker, and leave on high for two hours or low for four hours, depending on time constraints or preference. The apples will soften while the topping crisps up. Make sure to partially remove the lid for about an hour while it cooks to achieve optimal topping hardness. This recipe is truly as easy as “set it and forget it.” Once the apple crisp is cooked to your liking, serve it warm, straight out of the slow cooker, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is a perfect go-to for busy holidays; by the time you finish preparing your other components (and maybe even eating them) it will be good to go!

Arguably, one of the best parts of fall is the influx of pumpkin spice goods; it seems like every product has a pumpkin spice flavored twin during these months! Local supermarket, Trader Joe’s, is known for their unique selection including pumpkin spice biscottis, toaster tarts, and even tortilla and potato chips. As fun as those items can be, sometimes the best thing is the simplest: a good old pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Sophomore KJ Strunk is another pumpkin pie lover who says, “Pumpkin pie is basically the dessert we all eat each year at Thanksgiving.” Apple pie is another crowd favoite according to senior Kyra Schwartz, who says, “We love the Costco apple pie because it is accidentally vegan, and there are a lot of vegans in my family.” Of course, ice cream is essential for holiday pie-eating, so Schwartz recommends Trader Joe’s dairy-free vanilla variety as her go-to.

While pumpkin pie is definitely a fall classic, junior Tyler Innes and his family enjoy a more unique pie come Thanksgiving. “My family always has pecan pie. Everyone loves it,” he says. If you are like me and have never tried pecan pie, maybe this can be the year that you find out what you have been missing. Wikipedia informs me that “pecan pie is a pie of pecan nuts mixed with a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar. Variations may include white or brown sugar, cane syrup, sugar syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or honey.” From Sally’s Baking Addiction blog, here is an amazing-looking recipe for this festive treat. According to Sally, “Pecan pie is the classic sugary dessert without which no Thanksgiving is complete, and as far as Thanksgiving pies go, this is one of the easiest.” If that is not a ringing endorsement, I am not sure what is.

Some families like to incorporate traditions from different cultures into their holidays, such as Schwartz, whose stepdad is from the Netherlands. She says, “My step dad always makes mini Dutch apple pies called appelflappen. I invite friends over and we enjoy them while watching movies as a ‘Friends-Giving’ celebration.” Appleflappen are described as beignets that taste like a cross between apple pie, and apple fritter doughnuts.

Besides all of the tasty desserts, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the people in your life, especially your family. Innes tells me about a fun bonding tradition his family partakes in each year: “My family has a tradition of doing something active each Thanksgiving, such as a Turkey Trot 5k.” What a great way to spend time with loved ones while doing good for your body. This year, Issaquah Food Bank is hosting a Turkey Trot, in which many members of our community will participate. It is happening from Thursday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 28, in support of the food bank. To respect social distancing and COVID-19 safety guidelines, there will be six different course options from across Issaquah and Sammamish, all open throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Price ranges from $15 to $30 per participant.

Hopefully, learning about the beloved fall and Thanksgiving traditions of IHS students, dessert and otherwise, inspires you to try something new this year. Whether it be an activity such as the Turkey Trot, a unique treat such as appelflappen, or sticking with the classic pumpkin pie, just remember to practice gratitude. After all, that is what Thanksgiving is about.