Aspinwall man's family tradition includes friends and strangers
By Mike Wereschagin
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 10:54 p.m.
After 220 years in Western Pennsylvania, a family develops its share of traditions.
Rob Strohm stood at the corner of Brilliant Avenue and Loop Street in Aspinwall this week keeping one of his family's most recent contributions to Thanksgiving custom.
Strohm, 49, of O'Hara, whose family arrived in the area in 1791, carefully lowered a 14-pound turkey into a bubbling pot of oil as, across the street in the Coldwell Banker office where he works, people from neighboring businesses emptied the foil tray holding the picked-over remnants of the second turkey he'd fried that day.
“We invite the whole street,” Strohm said Tuesday. He and his colleagues donated 30 turkeys to the homeless this year and bought three for their pre-holiday celebration.
Thanksgiving is a day of family traditions nationwide, and this particular Strohm family custom began 21 years ago, after a cousin from Louisiana first told him it was possible to deep fry a turkey. Back then, turkey fryers were scarcer than today, so Strohm had to rig his own from a propane heater and stock pot provided by an ice cream shop.
“My whole family will not go back to turkey cooked in an oven,” Strohm said.
So Strohm will be back at the deep fryer Thursday preparing a bird big enough for about 10 people.
Eighty-five percent of people plan to join some kind of Thanksgiving gathering this year, according to an online survey of more than 3,500 people by CivicScience, a research firm with ties to Carnegie Mellon University. Thirty-four percent will join gatherings of more than 10 people.
Margaret Joneikis, 74, of Summer Hill, has had as many as 18 at her Thanksgiving table, she said. Though she expects only five people this year, she'll be ready for more “in case anyone drops in,” she said.
On her menu this year: turkey, stuffing, brussels sprouts, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, and cole slaw, with pumpkin and lemon meringue pies for dessert.
“It's a yearly routine,” Joneikis said.
She and her husband, Henry, said stores that remain open on the holiday irritate them. “They should be home with their families.”
Six percent of people plan to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant. Among them will be Tim Betz, 22, of Ross and his grandmother. Betz moved back to the area from Chicago three years ago, and the rest of his family is “scattered around the country.”
A chef at The Cheesecake Factory, Betz said he doesn't want to spend his holiday in the kitchen.
“Thanksgiving is the only day I have off until sometime next month,” Betz said.
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski Valley economic development group honored for police training
- PennDOT wants Rock Airport in West Deer to remain open
- Penguins’ Bylsma wants Cup version of Letang
- Renter tries to battle New Kensington house fire
- Orpik: Penguins must keep their cool
- Scottdale to reconsider use of complaint forms
- Dawson mayor, CSX aim to repair railroad crossing at intersection
- Mulch pitched for Vanderbilt park’s playground; surface proposed under swings, slide, climbing bars
- South Connellsville accepts police chief’s resignation
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Steel Valley volleyball rekindling program’s glory days