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Chargers Dish on Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions


Thanksgiving is a time for family, food football. And more food.

We asked a dozen Chargers players five different Thanksgiving-related questions, allowing them to remain anonymous so they could really spill the truth.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Bolts.

Did your family have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

"That's tough. Probably decorating for Christmas the night of Thanksgiving. Like after dinner and stuff, we'd all clean up and then decorate for Christmas."

"I come from a big family. Just a brief summary of that, my mom's side of the family has 12 kids, so I have like 80 or so cousins probably. Every year, we pick someone's house to host Thanksgiving, so we all meet up. You know, being out of town for college, it was always good to go back and be with family. That was my biggest tradition."

"Just all the family comes over to my grandma's house. Celebrate Thanksgiving together."

"We didn't really have anything special. We just kind of all got together and watched movies together. So that was really kind of our tradition. Everyone would come over, pick a movie and just watch it."

"Just having the whole family in town. Just getting together and spending quality time with family."

"Everybody would come to my mom's house and we would start cooking. Usually about the time the food was done, the Cowboys would be playing. The Lions game was early, but the Cowboys were on when we were eating. We'd watch the game as a family and eat, but everybody was slumped by halftime. The food was so good."

"I grew up in South Dakota, so on Thanksgiving, it was always opening rifle hunting. So, my family all went out, did some hunting in the morning and came back and had a big family Thanksgiving dinner. That was always a fun tradition for us growing up. If we were fortunate enough to have a successful hunt, we would always incorporate that into the meal. But then, my grandma would always cook something delicious as well. Just for when we didn't get anything."

"Just all being together. A big family dinner that happens in a weird time in the afternoon, like 3 o'clock. A big family meal, that's it."

"In our household, we do it a little different. We don't do the traditional turkey and stuff. We kind of cook more of cultural dishes. My mom makes chicken curry. My dad makes Lu Pulu. It's New Zealand corn beef, wrapped in taro leaf and slow cooked for eight hours. That's a traditional Tongan and Fijian dish. That's kind of some of my favorite dishes growing up. I'm not a big turkey guy, so thanksgiving was just another holiday for us to just go crazy and eat."

"Definitely everybody coming together. I'm from San Antonio so all my family is in San Antonio too. Being able to get together with all my family is just definitely fun."

"Well, I'm from Hawaii, so my family is a water family. We're at the beach every day. Holidays, we go to the beach and hang out."

"We would all go to my uncle and aunt's house and we'd all circle up say what we're thankful for. But then afterwards, when I was real young, we'd have all the kids do a presentation. We'd sing or dance or do something like that. But once we got older we were like, 'Alright, let's not do this anymore.'"

What's your favorite side dish and why?

"I think I'm going yams. I love yams. I don't know what it is, I just love them. They're great. Sweet potatoes, yams for sure."

"I'm Polish, so we always have polish noodles as one of our side dish with our turkey and everything, so that would be my go-to."

"Macaroni and cheese count? Baked macaroni and cheese. Yeah, that and yams. My grandma does a really good job cooking it. I love the yams, it's sweet. Baked macaroni and cheese, always cheesy, just real good."

"I'd say for me, it would be a dead tie between dressing and mac and cheese. I can't make a plate without either one of those things for Thanksgiving."

"Something about the stuffing. I don't know, just the way my parents made it growing up, it was always my go-to."

"Dressing. I love it because of the balance with the turkey. Yams are good, collard greens are good. But dressing is the perfect balance. You eat it the next day and it tastes better, too. The next day? Fire."

"Some kind of like green beans. I don't even know what they are but my grandma makes them. Either that or just mashed potatoes. You can't go wrong with mashed potatoes, they go with everything."

"This is going to be a wild card. My grandmother started making a pineapple casserole. When you think about it — not a lot of people have heard of it — but I'd encourage you to try it before you knock it. It's an interesting combination of ingredients that, together, is really good."

"Stuffing. Man, that stuffing. When you smell it cooking (sniffs). That, candy yams. A lot of people like to make like the white truffle mac, but I'm old school. I want Kraft mac and cheese. Kraft mac, that's what I grew up with, that's what I ate in college, them struggle meals. Kraft mac is going to get the job done for Thanksgiving."

"Definitely mac and cheese. I feel like the mac and cheese puts everything together. It's the glue that holds the whole meal together."

"I don't even know, that's a hard one. All of them."

"Dinner rolls. We'd get them with the honey butter and those things would be done quickly."

What was the main course? Turkey or something else?

"We mix it up. There is always turkey, but there's sometimes like turkey and ham or turkey and something else. Turkey is always there but there's sometimes other meats as well."

"We did turkey and ham, that way people would choose. And we always had Polish sausage as well so three different types of meat to choose from."

"It's usually fried turkey. That's good. It takes a while to make but tastes really good."

"We had turkey, ham, some years we'd have some type of roast. It's normally some version of those three."

"It was always turkey."

"We used to do ham, mix it up. Now, it's turkey. I've actually grown to like turkey more now."

"I think we had ham a lot. We have a big family so usually a turkey wasn't big enough. So we'd get a big ham. There would be so much food there, it would make you sick. And then there's left overs for separate days to make you sick again. We definitely had plenty of food there."

"A lot of turkey, usually a smoked turkey and a fried turkey. And a ham, maybe some steaks. A big spread."

"My fiancée, she's Hispanic, I eat about 60 tamales starting from tonight, tomorrow and Friday. And her family makes pozole. So much good food and the fact of the matter is like, we don't have to eat that old, dry turkey, that's the best part about it."

"I was never a turkey guy. So I'm always going for the ham. I always leave the turkey for the younger kids and everybody else."

"Mixed it up. Some local Hawaiian food and some cultural stuff, as well as some basic American stuff."

"Turkey and ham."

Chargers Sebastian Joseph-Day partnered with the Midnight Mission to help prepare and serve meals to 2,500 homeless for Thanksgiving!

Do you eat your plate separately or mix it all together?

"Certain things get mixed together I think. Some of my sides, I eat them together but some things I keep separate. Let me think specifically what I mix and don't mix. I feel sometimes I'll eat my mashed potatoes and my stuffing kind of all jumbled together. But some stuff got to stay apart."

"I like to eat it all together. I know a lot of people like to get the little dividers and separate everything but I just kind of lob it all on the plate and eat it as I go."

"I mean it's all on the same plate, but like to keep it neat. Not messy and all together."

"I honestly can mix it up, I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not super picky when it comes to Thanksgiving, if it's there, I'm going to eat it probably."

"I eat it separate, but I usually finish one side before I go into the next."

"I mix! That's the best way to do it."

"I eat it all together. I don't have anything against my food touching, but I just love to enjoy each separate course and portion on its own."

"It all starts separate on the plate. But it always gets mixed in there, for sure."

"I'm mixing it together. It's Thanksgiving bro, like come on, man. You come to my house, you come my plate, everything is on one. It's all going to the same place and it's coming out the same area, too [laughs]. I can't wait for Thanksgiving for sure."

"Yeah, I try to keep it separate, but if they mix a little bit, I'm not worried about it. I'm not going to going to go mix the yams and the macaroni together or anything like that."

"Oh, combination? Yeah, I'm a combination guy."

"Separate. Some things can be mixed, like I can put ham or turkey on the rolls. But I don't want mac and cheese all over my rolls."

Finally, would you rather swim in a pool of gravy or cranberry sauce?

"Neither. I would go gravy for sure. I'm not a cranberry sauce guy. I can't do it."

"Pool of gravy. Not a big cranberry sauce guy. Never have been."

"Pool of cranberry sauce."

"I guess if I want to live, probably the gravy. I mean I like cranberry sauce better but yeah it's probably the gravy."

"Probably of cranberry sauce. I like cranberry sauce. I don't really douse much stuff with gravy so."

"I'm going to go gravy. I like cranberry more, but I feel like gravy would be smoother. Does that make sense?"

"I'm going to have to say cranberry sauce. I love cranberries man, with the turkey or the ham. It goes with both."

"Gravy, 100 percent. Cranberry sauce is for the birds."

"Gravy. I love gravy. I'm going to be sipping that thing while I'm swimming in it."

"Definitely gravy. Cranberry sauce is a no-go."

"Probably cranberry sauce. Swimming in gravy, you might smell funky after that."

"Cranberry sauce. I hate gravy."

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