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What's your Thanksgiving tradition?

How some Troy residents give thanks and make memories on Turkey Day

Article by Todd Haight

Photography by

Originally published in Troy City Lifestyle

We all have favorite Thanksgiving traditions: Lions football, America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, maybe a deep-fried turkey. Well, this year, why not start a new tradition? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

-       Write thank-you notes to your family or friends, sharing why they mean so much to you

-       Share a turkey leg virtually by video chatting with loved ones who live far away

-       Introduce a new dish every year; have your family vote on whether to make it an annual tradition

-       Make a special family recipe from generations ago, such as your great-grandmother's pumpkin pie

-       Share memories of those you miss as you enjoy coffee and dessert around the table

-       Use the “good” dishes for a change

-       Exchange Christmas ornaments that will be hung on trees just a few weeks later

-       Share your family history and discover stories you've never heard before

Here's another one our family actually did: After Thanksgiving dinner, pull out all of grandma's recipes, the ones everyone used to love. Then, have someone assemble them into a digital cookbook, add a little design and maybe some photos, and share them as an end-of-year surprise for everyone in the family.

So, we asked some Troy residents about their favorite traditions. Here is what they shared.


Sarah Miller

Camp Bow Wow

Sarah Miller knows all too well how tough holidays can be for dogs.

Unusual smells and sounds. Unfamiliar people coming through the house. Extra movement and activity in the house. It can seriously disrupt a dog’s routine and cause them stress.

So, it’s not surprising that for Thanksgiving (and other holidays), some owners trust their pets to Sarah’s doggy daycare in Troy, called Camp Bow Wow. While their owners enjoy turkey and football, the puppies get regular exercise, socialization with people and other dogs, plus fun puppy things to do.

“Thanksgiving is always very busy for us,” she says. “We always have a full house because so many families are traveling or just want their pup out of the house for the day with so much going on. Our team makes it special for the pups with turkey dog treats mixed in with real pumpkin and real cranberry. They really like pumpkin; it’s sweet but also healthy for them.”

And what does Sarah do for Thanksgiving?

“We always have mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and two turkeys – one smoked, the other traditional oven roasted. I prefer the smoked one because it’s so juicy and flavorful.”

Esse Tuke

The TUKE Firm

No one knows family like Esse Tuke.

A first-generation Nigerian American, she was born in Philadelphia while her dad was in medical school. Her dad was strong and silent; her mom is the opposite, a “spitfire” who is very loving and family-oriented. And she has five siblings, most in New York or New Jersey.

“We all get along. Mom and dad had three boys and three girls. I’m the oldest daughter, so I’m the matriarch-to-be,” she says with a smile.

And holidays? They’re incredibly special family times.

“I celebrate with my mom and siblings in New York. Dad joins us in spirit form. We have lots of food, lots of music and there is always dancing. And such a variety of foods – not all traditional dishes. A well-made turkey that’s juicy, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, freshly mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.”

And it gets even better, she says.

“We have Nigerian foods, as well. Jollof, a savory rice dish from West Africa. Fried sweet plantains, or ‘dodo’ as we call it, paired with rice, peppers, curry, tomatoes and spices. As you cook these dishes, the magic happens, the scents fill our home, we enjoy the sounds and it’s so life-affirming. Great times!”

Jinwan Lee

So Gong Dong & Tous LES Jours

Have you tried SGD in Troy yet?

For those not in the know, SGD is So Gong Dong Korean Tofu and BBQ. And it’s quickly becoming the place to go because of its Korean traditions like Soondubu Jjigae (try the seafood), Hot Stone Beef Bibimbap and Fried Dumplings.

But wait, aren’t we talking about Thanksgiving here?

Yes, and Jinwan blends the two – Thanksgiving and Korean traditions – very nicely, thank you.

“Last year was my daughter’s first Thanksgiving, so we celebrated with a traditional Korean meal of kimchi and soup, bulgogi and kalbi,” he says. “These are foods we serve every day in So Gong Dong.”

Bulgogi, of course, is thin sirloin slices with onions in a Korean marinade and kalbi is barbequed beef short ribs.

What’s better than enjoying great food together as a family? Making it together as a family.

“We all cook together at my parent’s house – my mom, my wife, my brother and me. Then, for dessert, we enjoy cloud cake from TOUS les JOURS. Mango is one of my favorite cloud cake flavors.”

  • Esse Tuke, The TUKE Firm
  • Esse Tuke, The TUKE Firm, and Sarah Miller, Camp Bow Wow
  • Esse Tuke, The TUKE Firm (
  • Sarah Miller, Camp Bow Wow
  • Jinwan Lee, Tous LES Jours
  • Jinwan Lee, Tous LES Jours
  • Sarah Miller, Camp Bow Wow
  • Sarah Miller, Camp Bow Wow