Hanksgiving: A Thanksgiving Tradition Inspired by Tom Hanks


Waste bin at Vinnie's Pizzeria in Brooklyn. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

For most Americans, the "thanks" in Thanksgiving usually refers to giving thanks for one's family, friends, and a big hunkin' turkey on the table. But for my friends, it's all about giving thanks for Tom Hanks.

In November 2009, Libbie Hayward and Max Dubin began creating punny holiday names over GChat. "Franksgiving" (a holiday to celebrate tube meats) was thrown out as an idea along with "Michelle Kwan-za". One of Hayward's co-workers suggested Tom Hanksgiving, a way to celebrate the life and work of Tom Hanks—a holiday classic was born.

"It just seemed so perfect to celebrate this great American symbol on this great American holiday," explains Hayward enthusiastically. "Hanksgiving is an opportunity to try new twists on old favorites and a silly excuse to get friends together."

A pun-loving and party-throwing crowd, our friends eagerly accepted the invite, cramming into a tiny two-bedroom apartment. Each carried with them one of more than a dozen dishes given a Tom Hanks-inspired name (the below list is actually a combination of hits from last year and this year).


The Menu

  • Cravin' Private Fryin': Fried turkey
  • Bosom Spudies: Mashed potatoes
  • A Leek of Their Own: Leek-filled stuffing
  • Catch Me If You Yam: Candied yams
  • A Beetless in Seattle: Beet salad
  • Cauli Wison's War: Cauliflower gratin
  • From the Earth to the Shroom: Russian mushrooms
  • Bonfire of the Cranberries: Cranberry chutney
  • Apollo Thirtahini: Butternut squash and chickpea salad with tahini
  • Rollar Express: rolls
  • Kernel-minal: Cornbread
  • Sleepless in Se-Apple Apple cider cream pie
  • Brandy of Brothers: Cocktail made of apple cider, bourbon, seltzer and apple brandy

The hosts even dress as Zoltar from Big, and Chuck from Castaway and the apartment was decked out with Hanks paraphernalia from Toy Story dolls hiding in the plants to a mermaid's tail from Splash hanging over the edge of the bathtub. Balloons decorated like Wilson from Castaway floated around the party.

This year the duo plans to take the holiday food even further, with an Asian-inspired turkey bun. After weeks of trying to find a shop in Chinatown that would prepare a Peking style turkey, Deluxe Food Market agreed to make two birds. They'll serve them with steamed Chinese buns, cranberry hoisin sauce, Sriracha mayo and radishes.

Best of all, while this year's guests eat Peking turkey buns, they'll be able to dance "Chopsticks" on a Big -style six-foot piano mat.

Get Some Hanksgiving Recipes

Bonfire of the Cranberries »
A Leek of Their Own Stuffing »
Green Bean Mile »