Every year at Thanksgiving, we like to invite some international students over for Thanksgiving dinner. This year, we had three Chinese students, two of whom are graduate students of my husband. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal, although I told them that it was all right if they did not like some things. I’ll never forget the time one Chinese student said to me, “You make a pie out of squash? And out of a nut?” He clearly thought our food was strange. Cooking for international students has made me think about the traditional Thanksgiving foods. They are a bit strange. Lots of them are sweet: sweet potatoes (Chris likes them with marshmallows), cranberries (Sophie’s favorite), ham (with pineapples, cherries and lots of brown sugar), not to mention the pumpkin and pecan pies. Except for the ham and turkey (we always have both), many of the foods are also sort of mushy: sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean cassarole, and, of course stuffing. I generally like crisp vegetables and simple broiled meats, yet there is something about this meal that reminds me of family and being together–comfort foods.