How to cook a turkey, and other Thanksgiving advice you did not ask for.

When I was a graduate student at Notre Dame, one of my fondest memories was hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my fellow grad friends, who came from a dozen different academic disciplines and at least six different countries. I made the turkey, gravy, and dressing, and guests each brought a dish to share. These offerings varied from home-baked pie to a bag of chips, all contributions equally accepted and enjoyed. We moved in extra furniture from my neighbors’ townhouses, which we arranged in a zigzag pattern through the dining and living rooms so that everyone had a seat at the table. We ate, and talked, and laughed, and shared stories for hours! I do not remember whether the turkey was dry, or the pie burnt, or any of the other critiques we routinely allow ourselves to accept. What I remember was friendship, generosity, celebration, and gratitude – all made possible by our willingness to spend time together in a shared experience that no one expected to be perfect.

This is good news for anyone lamenting that they will not have a perfect holiday because they can’t be with family, or can’t afford a feast, or can’t cook oatmeal much less a multi-course meal, or….well, any number of things that get in our way of connecting in authentic and beautiful ways. 

So if you are ready to try an imperfect yet delightful holiday with fellow grad students, here are some of the options you can consider.

Tradition with a Capital T for Turkey! Believe it or not, turkey is actually really easy to cook. As long as you follow a few simple rules, you can basically put it in the oven and forget about it for several hours. For example, here is Food Network’s recipe for the World’s Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey. (Just be sure it is completely thawed before putting it in the oven!)

Traditional Potluck, Minus Turkey. Ask most Americans their favorite Thanksgiving dish and it is almost never turkey. Mashed potatoes, dressing, corn pudding, cranberry sauce, candied yams, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin pie…it’s a long list! Most are easy recipes made with affordable ingredients, so it is an easy and inexpensive way to host a holiday feast. Here is Food Network’s list of Top Ten Thanksgiving Sides to consider.

Anything Goes Potluck. Ask folks to bring anything at all they’d like to share. This gives your guests the freedom and flexibility to match their offering to their individual interests or budget, and opens opportunities for delightful surprises like homemade German spaetzle or authentic Kenyan tea, which were part of my Thanksgiving potluck feast. 

Support Local Restaurants. Let someone else do the cooking! Meet with friends at a local restaurant, or pick up takeout to enjoy at home. Several affordable options in South Bend include The Skillet, Kitchenette, Perkins, and Kankakee Grill.

Donate Time or Resources. There are many in our community for whom the holidays make lives already challenged by hunger, homelessness, addiction, or loneliness even more challenging. Consider donating your time or your resources to make the lives of others a bit more merry. Local agencies include Hope Ministries, Center for the Homeless, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, and Our Lady of the Road.

Ask for What You Need. If you or someone you know is struggling with food insecurity, please do not suffer in silence. There are many resources on campus and in the community, and we can help you connect and find what you need. Email gradlife@nd.edu to begin the conversation.

Give Thanks for What You Have. Beyond food, there is so much to be thankful for. No matter what is on the table, take a moment to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings in your life.

In answer to the following questions submitted this week: When is the Salmon Run on the St. Joe River? Can you fish on the two ponds in ND if your not a Student?

Coho Salmon can be found in the tributaries to Lake Michigan, including the St. Joseph River in September and October. You can learn more at https://midwestoutdoors.com/fishing/salmon-anglers-flock-to-the-st-joe-river/.

As for fishing the lakes on campus, only Notre Dame students, faculty, staff, and their family members can obtain a campus fishing license. These can be obtained through the Campus Safety and University Operations office. It is catch-and-release only, and a valid Indiana DNR fishing license is also required.

Do I need an Indiana Driver’s License?

Question:

I am an incoming graduate student from out of state. Do I need to get an Indiana driver’s license and vehicle registration? Thanks!

SALMON SAYS:

According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, only those who claim legal residency must obtain an Indiana driver’s license or vehicle registration.  As stated on their website:

For the purposes of obtaining a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card, the following persons living in Indiana solely for any of the following reasons are not considered to be residents of Indiana:

  • Educational purposes
  • Active duty in the Armed Forces
  • Temporary employment

If you plan to become a legal resident of the state of Indiana you can learn more about obtaining your license and registration online at: http://www.in.gov/bmv/2341.htm

The Legend of the Salmon of Knowledge

After reading the story of the Salmon of Knowledge, Rose asked if Fionn could taste the salmon in the small drop of oil that burned his thumb.  The myth does not speak of any particular sensations Fionn experienced, but does say that Fineagas noticed a change in Fionn’s appearance and immediately knew that the special knowledge of the salmon had been given to him.

There are many versions of this classic Irish folktale, but in each a brave leader (Fionn) goes in search of wisdom in order to better serve his people (the Fianna). At the University of Notre Dame, our graduate students come seeking wisdom and knowledge, then go forth using those gifts for the benefit of people all over the world. The Salmon of Knowledge, therefore, is the perfect symbol of the common life journey shared by the diverse members of our graduate community.

Q: Do I need an Indiana driver’s license?

Question:

I am an incoming graduate student from out of state. Do I need to get an Indiana driver’s license and vehicle registration? Thanks!

 

SALMON SAYS:

According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, only those who claim legal residency must obtain an Indiana driver’s license or vehicle registration.  As stated on their website:

For the purposes of obtaining a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card, the following persons living in Indiana solely for any of the following reasons are not considered to be residents of Indiana:

  • Educational purposes
  • Active duty in the Armed Forces
  • Temporary employment

If you plan to become a legal resident of the state of Indiana you can learn more about obtaining your license and registration online at: http://www.in.gov/bmv/2341.htm

Incoming Grad Students & Social Media

Many incoming students have inquired about how to connect with other students before their arrival on campus, and how to find prospective roommates.  Here are a few helpful hints and resources:

Facebook

GSU Facebook Page
The Graduate School Facebook Page
Notre Dame Graduate Student Life Facebook Page 

  • Connect with other grad students, learn about events on campus and get recommendations for fun things in Michiana.
  • Add Notre Dame to your education/timeline, and Facebook can help you find others at Notre Dame.
  • Many academic departments, programs and institutes have their own Facebook pages, too, so network to your heart’s content!

Other Online Resources

GSU on Twitter
GSU Website
LinkedIn
myNotreDame
Links to Student Services
Off Campus Resources

Call for Help!

If all else fails, the administrative assistant in your academic program is often your best ally in solving problems and finding information.  Pick up the phone, go old-school, and give them a jingle!  You can find a listing of all graduate programs with contact information at graduateschool.nd.edu