University employees share Thanksgiving recipes and memories

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Over the past couple of weeks, employees were asked to share their favorite recipes and most cherished Thanksgiving memories. You answered.  Enjoy these heartwarming and funny Thanksgiving stories, as well as delicious recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!


Scott Gartlan, academic affairs, staff

Favorite Memory: “Each year in South Jersey, we hold a nine-hole golf tournament in honor of my dad called ‘The Robert H. Gartlan Memorial Gravy Boat Cup Golf Tournament.’ Affectionately called the ‘Gravy Boat Cup,’ we play nine holes from 9 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving before heading back to our respective homes for Thanksgiving dinner. It started when my dad was alive in 2006, and after his passing in 2008, we felt compelled to keep it going in his honor. This year marks the 16th time we've played it and 14th year without dad. My three brothers and I spearhead the planning. We order t-shirts each year with a different design created by one of my brothers and give away prizes. The overall winner gets the ‘green jacket’ (after the Master champion, of course), and, you guessed it, a replica gravy boat for the year. Our slogan is ‘Golf with a Side of Turkey’ and the language on the plaque with each winner's name sums up the gist: ‘This annual event on Thanksgiving Day is held in honor of the tournament's founder, Robert H. Gartlan, a man who truly loved family, golf, and more than anything, the two together.’” 

Debra Bunker, student affairs, staff

Favorite Recipe: Nana’s Strawberry Jello Salad

1 large box strawberry Jello regular or sugar free

1 8 oz container sour cream

1 cup chopped nuts

1 16 oz bag frozen strawberries

1 small container pineapple in juice crushed

Boil one cup water, add Jello to a large bowl and chop 16 oz bag of frozen strawberries into quarters; dissolve Jello in boiling water. When dissolved, add the frozen strawberries and stir until mixed. Add chopped nuts and pineapple; blend till fully mixed. Put half mixture into the mold, layer the sour cream over that, then put remaining Jello mixture on top. Keep refrigerated till 15 minutes before serving time. 

Sarah Haley, academic affairs, staff 

Favorite Memory: “One year, my younger sister, who is not very talented in the kitchen, was given the responsibility of cooking the pumpkin pie. When she got out the spices, she accidentally grabbed the cumin instead of the cinnamon. Thinking it smelled unusual during the assembly process, she decided to proceed. Before the pie went into the oven, she realized her error and decided to bake it anyway in hopes that no one would notice. She served the pie enthusiastically, but it didn't take long for my family to ask why it tasted like a taco. Needless to say, cumin is not a good substitution for cinnamon.”

Misty Hathcock ’85, ’91, ’92, ’96, ’04, academic affairs, faculty 

Favorite Recipe: Sweet Potato Fluff

2 ½ cups of sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed 

½ cup of butter, room temperature 

1 cup sugar 

3 eggs

½ cup of milk, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla 

Add above ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together until fluffy. Pour mixture into a deep baking dish. Melt 1 cup of brown sugar,  ⅓ cup of self-rising flour, 1 cup of chopped nuts,  ⅓ cup of butter, and spread the topping over the potato mixture with your hands. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Tracy Beauregard, academic affairs, staff

Favorite Memory: “The evening of Thanksgiving was when the small town I grew up in Highland, New York, first lit the holiday lights that were strung throughout town. After a big dinner at our grandparents' house, we had to drive through town back to our home and my sister and I were always so excited to see the lights on and all of the decorations. To us, it marked the beginning of the holiday season. Instead of Black Friday, the following day was spent visiting home and garden shops, Herman's and Adams, to see the Christmas decorations and visit Santa. So simple, but exciting - Thanksgiving remains one of my favorite days of the year!”