’Tis the Season to Give Thanks (and Not Throw Out the Potato Water)
Like many, I tend to get very reflective while sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Unlike most, though, my table is surrounded by the 40+ members of my very large and boisterous Italian family. To some, the high-spirited environment might seem overwhelming. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Yet again, we find ourselves approaching the holidays, which come around like a boomerang every year. And just like my rowdy Thanksgiving environment might personify the chaos around these festivities, it’s also a moment to take stock of what’s around us. This year, we did just that at Sutherlandgold, and are excited to share our traditions — from potato water to “dough bowls” — with our extended family of readers.
Mally, for one, is spending Thanksgiving with her fianceé’s family for the first time ever this year. While she’ll miss seeing her family for their 15th annual “dough-bowl” — which includes watching football surrounded by loads of fried dough — she’s grateful to be welcomed as a new member of his family and excited to see what this chapter brings.
Another new addition to the SG family is Lindsey, who’s thrilled to add another member to her own household. Alice Louise was born on October 25, with SG delighted to add such an adorable member to our office. When I asked what traditions Lindsey is excited to share with Alice, Lindsey laughed and said, “throwing out the potato water.” Following my perplexed look, she elaborated with a story: “So, the potato water is what we boil potatoes into prep for mashed potatoes,” she continued. “What most people don’t understand is that it can be reused since it has exactly the right amount of starch to help thicken the gravy. The gravy is not the same without the potato water.” Duly noted! Apparently, when Lindsey was 8 years old, her dad mistakenly threw the potato water away…he has never lived it down. So, every year, Lindsey’s family guards the potato water with their lives. She might have just convinced me to try keeping this delicacy myself this Thanksgiving.
Not everyone at SG has created their own traditions over the years, though. Having grown up outside the U.S., Madhu shared that she’s never actually celebrated Thanksgiving. “I came to this country in 2017,” she said, “and after witnessing the holiday potlucks we’ve had at the office with everyone coming together to celebrate, I’ve grown to appreciate the sentiment behind the tradition. It definitely brings out the giver in me.”
Besides our potlucks, SG is also known for its wide-eyed pups roaming from office to office. This year, Hannah welcomed a new furry addition, Tex, whom she is thankful for. “I finally have a reason to always be at dog parks,” she said. To add to the list of firsts, this is the only fall Hannah has spent in New York City, and coming from South Carolina, she’s looking forward to experiencing a wintry snow season for the first time.
Another SG first is Yalda’s move to a Bay Area apartment this year. She’s grateful to her family this Thanksgiving for giving her the extra cushion she needed. They supported her, helping her prepare for her big move. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” she gushed. For Thanksgiving, they’ll be celebrating by preparing a medley of traditional Persian food — and a Turkey on the side, too.
For Marisa, Thanksgiving is the “best holiday of them all.” Like many of us, she loves seeing everyone’s plates piled to the brim with turkey, gravy, and potatoes. This year, she’s particularly grateful for her roommates, having moved up to San Francisco and making fast friends. Similarly, Ashley is thrilled to have moved into a new apartment in New York City, sharing this time of year with close friends.
I, for one, can’t wait to listen to my Dad quote lines from Jim Carrey’s “The Grinch” all day on Thanksgiving. To the untrained eye, it may seem like he has his holiday movies mixed up. However, the rest of my family and I intuitively know this means the start of the Christmas season is coming. Like clockwork, our annual screening of “The Grinch” takes place every Thanksgiving right after dinner is finished and all the loud Italians have gone home.
It’s ironic that a time of year that feels so busy also forces us to pause and reflect. We clearly have a lot to be thankful for at SG, and we can’t wait to kick off this year’s holiday season!