Thanksgiving is a time for family and reflection. It’s also a time for food, a whole lot of food.

So, what better way for the Cougar Nation to celebrate the arrival of the holidays than with food! We asked Cougars from across the College of Charleston community to share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe, and the resulting collection of dishes offers something for everyone.

From sweet potato casserole to cranberry crumb bars to roasted duck, check out what some of our CofC family members will be cooking up this Thanksgiving!

jonathan evans

Jonathan Evans

Senior Jonathan Evans
Political science major
Campus Affiliations: Executive Initiative Director and Senator for the College of Charleston Student Government Association, President of A. Bevy, Youth Outreach Director for Mental Health in Melanin

Cranberry Crumb Bars

For the Crust and Topping:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1cup cold butter
  • 1egg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the filling:

  • 4 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar (or as necessary for sweetness)
  • Juice of 1/2 oranges (also for sweetness)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease desired pan with butter or cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix flour, 1 cup sugar, the almonds, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in egg. Press 2 1/2 cups of crumb mixture in bottom of pan. Stir cinnamon into remaining crumb mixture; set aside.

In medium bowl, stir all filling ingredients. Spoon evenly over crust. Spoon reserved crumb mixture evenly over filling.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until top is light golden brown. Cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

Karen Jones (Photos by Mike Ledford)

Karen Jones

Karen Jones ’74
Director, Alumni Communications

Pumpkin Bread


  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 ½ cups plain flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon


Mix first four ingredients. In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Combine the two and pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

sweet potato casserole

Sweet potato casserole

jenna stern

Jenna Stern

Freshman Jenna Stern
Campus Affiliations: Hillel, Chucktown Sound pep band and the Honors College

Sweet Potato Casserole

*Recipe adapted from the cookbook ‘Tea Time at the Masters’


  • 3 cups of fresh cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 stick margarine melted


Mash sweet potatoes. Add sugar, eggs, salt, margarine, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Put in shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Mix topping. Spread over sweet potatoes. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

kameelah martin

Kameelah Martin

Kameelah Martin
Director, African American Studies

Seafood Okra Gumbo


  • 1.5 lbs of uncooked shrimp (shell on)
  • 1-2 packages of hot/spicy sausage (sliced)
  • 2 packages of raw oysters (sliced)
  • 1 package of chicken drummettes
  • 2-3 clusters of crab legs
  • 2 cups of tomatoes (diced and blanched)
  • 1 package of fresh okra (sliced)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of Filé powder
  • 1-3 tsp salt
  • 1-3 tsp pepper


First make a seafood stock: Peel and clean shrimp. Place discarded shells in a 2 quart sauce pan. Place cleaned shrimp in a bowl and put it to the side. Add one bay leaf, half of diced celery, bell peppers and onion to the water. 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove shrimp peels and set to the side.

In a large stock pot, sauté remaining bell peppers, onions and celery in light olive oil. Add hot sausage slices to pot, sauté until sausage is cooked on both sides. Add seafood stock to pot and cook on medium high heat. Add half of the filé powder, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and remaining bay leaves. Boil until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally.

Add crab legs, oysters, sliced okra and shrimp last with remaining filé powder. Add salt, pepper and filé to taste. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Serve over white rice.

Devon Hanahan

Devon Hanahan

Devon Hanahan ’87
Senior Instructor of Hispanic studies and Program Coordinator for the Basic Spanish Language Program

Secret Alabama Sweet Potatoes


  • 4 sweet potatoes, baked, peeled, and mashed
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla


In the food processor, cut 1/2- 3/4 of a stick of cold chopped butter into 1/2 cup flour until it is blended. Add 1 cup pecans, 1 cup coconut and 1 cup brown sugar to the food processor and blend until it is mixed together.

Spread the sweet potatoes in a greased 9×13 dish and cover with the topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

roast duck

Roast duck

rongrong chen and andrew hsu

First Lady Rongrong Chen and CofC President Andrew T. Hsu

Rongrong Chen
CofC’s First Lady

Roasted Duck


For the duck:

  • 3 tablespoons mild honey
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado or light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder (optional)
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 (5- to 6-pound) Peking or Long Island duck
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (24-ounce) beer can or other aluminum can, emptied and filled halfway with water
  • ½ cup sweet bean sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For serving:

  • 8 homemade tortillas or 8-inch store bought flour tortillas, warmed
  • 4 scallions, cut into 3-inch pieces and thinly sliced lengthwise


Combine honey, soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.

In a large saucepan, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove giblets and neck from duck cavity and discard. Cut off excess fat from cavity and neck area, then cut off tail.

Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breast meat through the bottom of the breasts and work your fingers upward to separate the skin from the meat (be careful not to tear skin). Next, separate the skin from the backbone through the neck and working your way down until you reach the legs. (Scissors are helpful but be careful to avoid piercing the skin.) Transfer duck to a rack set in the sink.

Using a measuring cup, pour half of the boiling water evenly over top of the duck. Flip duck and pour the remaining water evenly all over second side. Repeat three times. Tilt duck to drain all water from the cavity, then pat dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder with 1 teaspoon salt, the black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the glaze. Rub the mixture inside the cavity. Stand duck vertically by inserting beer can into cavity and place in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet.

Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining glaze all over the duck and sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Place duck in the refrigerator, uncovered, until the skin feels dry and leathery, 12-24 hours.

Heat oven to 450 degrees with rack in bottom third of oven. Remove duck from refrigerator and cut the apple to several pieces and insert into the cavity. Then soak breads in water and insert into the cavity. Use toothpick to close the opening.

Wrap wing tips and tips of drumsticks with foil to prevent burning, then loosely tent duck with foil. Roast for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 30 minutes, turn the duck to another side and roast for 20 minutes, turn again and tented with foil, until skin is mahogany, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, total 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes more.

Leaving duck on the can, transfer duck vertically to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve the crispy skin from the back and legs of the duck, and slice into strips.

Carefully remove duck from the beer can and return to cutting board. Carve off the breasts and legs; thinly slice the breasts and shred dark meat.

Carefully strain pan juices into a small bowl and pour off all the fat. In another small bowl, whisk together the sweet bean sauce, sesame oil and up to 1/4 cup of the pan juices to form sauce.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon prepared sauce on each tortilla. Top each with some scallions, duck meat and crispy skin. Roll up and enjoy warm.