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24th November 2007 Aroop Mukharji

Exeter Celebrates Thanksgiving

Known to host the best Thanksgiving dinner in Oxford, Exeter College was jam‐packed last Thursday evening, November 22nd, with students, faculty, and administrators alike eager to indulge in some turkey, stuffing and Americana.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November. At Exeter the celebrations began with a service in the College Chapel at which Dr Guy Hedreen, Co‐Director of the Williams at Exeter Programme, read Abraham Lincoln’s declaration of 1863, exhorting Americans everywhere to set the day aside as a day to give thanks. The festivities continued in the Rector’s Lodgings, where members of the college, donning academic gowns, gathered to mingle over mulled wine and orange juice. At around 7, the doors to hall opened and the tables quickly filled.

Rector Cairncross delivered grace not just in the traditional Latin but in “the language my country gave to the United States”. Praising Exeter’s strong undergraduate and graduate American contingencies as well as the good relations between the United States and the United Kingdom, the rector gave the go‐ahead to begin a meal hailed as one of the year’s best.

The dinner was as good as any Thanksgiving meal I have enjoyed in America, with a certain gourmet English twist. The Exeter chefs outdid themselves with an array of delicacies, including mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, chestnuts, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and much more. The wine flowed generously, and the desserts were sinful. I ate three pies. As good as the food was, though, the highlight of the evening was enjoying the company of fellow Exonians. I felt lucky to be a part of such a wonderful family here at Oxford, and it seemed that sentiment rang true for many, given the smiles and lively conversation that filled the hall. In light of the recent tragedies that struck our college, I believe all of us at Exeter realized how very much we have to be thankful for. The Thanksgiving dinner we enjoyed together was an appropriate celebration of both this gratitude and our community.

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