SPVAQ42020 - 16

Friendsgiving Veterans
Dennis Bussey recalls moving to
Richmond a little more than a decade
ago. "I knew one person," he says, "and
was going to start my life all over."
He began exploring the miles of trails
in the James River Park System, and
when he began looking for hiking
companions, he found a Meetup group
for local hikers. He soon became an
organizer, and the group grew-as did
the scope of its activities, including a
Thanksgiving hike and potluck dinner.
Each year, Bussey begins his
Friendsgiving invitation like this:
There is good news for you if any of
these apply:
1. Your so-called friends are charged
up about their Thanksgiving plans, and
you are not invited.
2. You are dreading spending
Thanksgiving with your obnoxious sisterin-law, and you're looking for a way out.

3. Your dear family and friends you
would be with for Thanksgiving are just
too far away.
4. You are from a different country
and culture and you're curious about the
American tradition of Thanksgiving.
5. You have no friends, your football
team doesn't play on Thanksgiving
Day, and you've grown weary eating
macaroni and cheese alone or with your
dog (or cat).
Fear not, for James River Hikers-
Hiking with History is coming to rescue
"Guests are not required to do
anything," Bussey says, "but I suggest
bringing something to eat and share
with others. Eighty to 90 percent will
bring something special."
As host, he's learned a thing or two.
After a year when guests consumed
a bit too much of his personal wine,
he stopped serving alcohol. Instead,
he tells people to bring their own-

reminding them to "be responsible and
reasonable. Everyone knows that, and it
works out beautifully."
After a few "oh-my-gosh-oh-mygolly turkey disasters," he decided that
cooking a turkey wasn't such a great
idea. However, he makes his mother's
oatmeal-raisin cookies, and other guests
bring their own chosen dishes.
"We end up with a big banquet of all
this fabulous stuff," Bussey says.
Taylor Thornberg, whose family
resides in Delaware, and her Richmond
roommate hold their Friendsgiving
festivities before Thanksgiving
Thursday-"Sometimes Sunday night,
so we have enough time to make
everything," she explains. The menu
tends toward the traditional.
"We make the turkey and one other
dish, like a side or dessert. Everyone
else brings something to fill in the
blanks." She also mixes a Fall Sangria
that makes a delightful addition to the
menu. See recipe on page 20.
To help divvy up the dishes, she
creates a Facebook event. "That way, you
can set up a poll where people can claim
certain dishes or add a dish."
For other tips, she suggests, "Maximize
your space by crowdsourcing folding
tables and chairs," and, "Always put the
turkey in way earlier than you think.
That's one of my biggest Thanksgiving
fails, putting the turkey in too late and
having everyone sit around and wait."

Other Hosting Ideas
Request that guests make recipes
available for their dishes, on recipe
cards or a shared page online. And use
mini 50ml liquors tied with guests'
names for place cards.
Choosing a theme can also add to the
fun. Consider things like requesting a
favorite family traditional dish from each
guest. Or building the festivities around
a totally non-Thanksgiving cuisine.
Meals featuring dishes with alcohol
as one of the ingredients can be fun,




Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SPVAQ42020

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