OS Reviews: Dining Hall Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is more than a week away, but true Thanksgiving-heads know a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is too good to only be enjoyed once a year.
When our staff caught wind of Pollock’s Thanksgiving dinner menu on Tuesday night, the gobblers among us weren’t going to miss the opportunity to stuff themselves with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy and document it — you know, like they did at the first Thanksgiving. Who’s to say Plymouth Rock wasn’t somehow confused with Pollock Rock?
Here’s how Pollock’s feast stacks up to a true Thanksgiving dinner, according to our writers’ stomachs:
Pollock’s Thanksgiving feast was the perfect pregame to the real deal next week. The turkey, stuffing, carrots, corn, gravy, and mashed potatoes were good enough to hold me over for another nine days, but not enough to make me want to scoot out from the family dinner table next Thursday, issue a resigned “excuse me,” and ask if anyone would like anything from McDonald’s, where I’m headed because there’s no way this is as good as the dining hall.
Dorm dwellers and convenience-seeking, off-campus meal planners like me will have appreciated the mashed redskin potatoes that didn’t seem like they came from a box. The vegetables tasted fresh as usual, and the gravy complimented the turkey without stealing the spotlight. The stuffing was warm and had significant fluff, making it the perfect carb for a cold night.
Dining hall theme dinners rarely disappoint, and Pollock’s Thanksgiving effort was another addition to a long list of winners.
Thanksgiving came early at Pollock. And, overall, it was pretty delightful. The turkey and mashed potatoes — obviously the most important components of any Thanksgiving dinner — were quite good. The turkey was moist and tasty, although it lacked that “out of the oven” flavor that makes the bird so good every year.
The mashed potatoes paired well with the turkey, adding that creamy element that every Thanksgiving meal needs. My personal favorite of the night was the stuffing, which packed a whole lot of flavor for a dining hall meal. The corn was, well, corn, and it’s hard to go wrong there.
The only thing that took away from the course was the familiar flavors. I have eaten these things seemingly hundreds of times before, so there wasn’t anything much in the way of a surprise. But, hey, that’s college food for you.
The Penn State Campus Dining staff always exceeds my low expectations for cafeteria food, but they really did a wonderful job with this Thanksgiving dinner. After eating their turkey, I am officially placing my aunt on the hot seat for her dry-ass turkey. For once, the gravy was a lovely accompaniment to the turkey — not the only thing making it remotely edible.
The stuffing was on par with all stuffing ever — it was the best part of the meal, but it probably won’t make anyone’s Mount Rushmore of stuffing anytime soon. The real surprise, to me, was the mashed redskin potatoes. Usually, I find mashed potatoes ~bleh~, but Pollock’s mashed potatoes managed to be creamy, fluffy, and delicious all at the same time.
The vegetables were nothing to write home about, but let’s face it, no one ever writes home about vegetables. The corn was outshone by the cornbread, which was a solid side carb — as if there weren’t already enough carbs.
Truthfully, the only things missing from Pollock’s Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday, other than the cranberry sauce, were family and watching the Detroit Lions lose. It still doesn’t beat the real thing, but it will make your stomach happy, and you get to enjoy it with complete strangers. Isn’t that the true spirit of Thanksgiving, after all?
Pollock’s Thanksgiving dinner was a nice warmup for the main event next week — kind of like how the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade warms you up for the National Dog Show. It would’ve impressed even the toughest of holiday meal critics, including Peppermint Patty.
I found the turkey to be a bit chewy but by no means dry — which, when it comes to turkey, says a lot and means everything. I have to say, I prefer the cider-brined turkey served by Penn State Dining throughout the semester to its Thanksgiving offering. But in all honesty, when is turkey the highlight of the meal? It’s the side dish to the many side dishes.
As my hungry homies, taste buds, and culinary comrades have all noted: The mashed redskin potatoes and stuffing were the stars of the show. In true Thanksgiving fashion, mixing it all together into one giant pile of cholesterol took the flavors and dining experience to a new level, as evidenced by the smorgasbord in my picture.
I was disappointed, however, that there was no cranberry sauce. I guess that’s one thing to look forward to next week. Oh, yeah. And all that family stuff too.
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About the Author
Sandy Barbour will make an average of $1,269,000 per year as part of the new deal, which runs through August 2023.
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