The Baltimore Ravens will spend Thanksgiving week preparing for a battle with the San Francisco 49ers. They'll also try to squeeze in some time to celebrate the holiday, with some players having family travel to town for the week and others getting together with other teammates and significant others for "football family" gatherings.
So what will be on your favorite players' plates? Everyone is different. Iman "Biggie" Marshall is an innovator, while Lamar Jackson doesn't know what's in his stuffing because he keeps out of the kitchen. For November, we present "The 15 Ravens Thanksgiving Menus." (The first 15 menus ran in the November print edition of PressBox, and the last 10 are online-only.)
1. Tight End Nick Boyle
"Turkey, mashed potatoes, basically all of the typical Thanksgiving foods. What are those little chocolate mints that are wrapped in green? I would crush those at night. ... I would have too many."
2. Offensive Lineman Bradley Bozeman
"Usually turkey. If it's a big crowd, we have a turkey and a ham [and] green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing. Gotta have cranberry sauce -- usually from the can. It's easy. My wife will make stuffing and dressing because she grew up on stuffing and I grew up on dressing. Giblet gravy, collard greens, gotta have some pecan pie. I think that's pretty much it."
3. Wide Receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown
"Sweet potato pie to start off. I'm throwing it out there -- I might eat it all day. Got the turkey, got the ham, got the string beans, got the cornbread, macaroni. And more sweet potato pie that's gonna last until December."
4. Offensive Tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
"I like honey ham, yams, baked mac and cheese, chitlins, hell yeah. I'm simple. For dessert, normally we either have like a pound cake or lemon cake with ice cream."
5. Cornerback Brandon Carr
"Chitlins. Ham. Turkey. Macaroni and cheese. Yams. Dressing. Greens. Potato Salad. You can get you a deep-fried turkey or you can get you a baked turkey. I don't like dry turkey, so I like to deep fry it. I'm more of a ham guy. My mom used to put that pineapple in there, that brown sugar. Oooh! Bussin'! What else do we have? For dessert, my cousin used to make this pizza pie. Kiwi, blueberries and strawberries on there with some cream cheese and a cookie crust on the bottom. Bussin'! What else do we have? Oh man, I gotta get my turkey necks. Throw the neck bones in the greens. I love turkey necks. My aunt makes the turkey necks, puts it with my dressing. I didn't really go for the cranberry sauce, the cranberry slices. I wasn't a fan [growing up]. Now I'd probably eat it because my taste buds are a little different, my palette is more diverse. Man! Did I forget anything? Looking forward to it."
6. Quarterback Lamar Jackson
"Sweet potato pie. That's my favorite -- my mom makes it best. Mac and cheese, white rice, collard greens, ham, turkey, stuffing. I don't know what's in the stuffing, I never pay attention. I'm never in the kitchen. I just go in there when it's time to eat!"
7. Punter Sam Koch
"Whatever my wife makes. I am not picky with food, so whatever she has on there, I'm good with. Typically turkey, ham, corn souffle, green bean casserole and then usually whatever pies the boys and my daughter like. Their favorite is butterscotch pie. It came from Nebraska, my wife's grandma used to make that all the time. They look forward to that at the end of Thanksgiving."
8. Safety Anthony Levine
"Some yams. Gotta have some rice dressing. Some ham. For dessert, I like carrot cake. And everybody's been getting on me for liking carrot cake. I love carrot cake. You know what? From now on, in my house, we're having carrot cake for Thanksgiving! You know what? In my house, every holiday ... carrot cake!"
9. Cornerback Iman "Biggie" Marshall
"Yams and that macaroni and cheese. You gotta always put that mixture together! You gotta mix it up! Yams and macaroni and cheese is like heaven on a plate! This Thanksgiving, try one time! Take one bite! I mix the candied yams with the macaroni cheese, and that's like heaven on a plate! I'm not really a turkey or ham dude, I just look forward to the yams and macaroni and cheese. I like banana pudding and peach cobbler, too."
10. Defensive Tackle Michael Pierce
"I'm from the South, my mom's from New Orleans. So maybe not a traditional thing, but for us down south, we do gumbo. I'm itching for some of that. We do seafood gumbo, shrimp; some people do oysters, sausage, all the good stuff. Then you got the turkey, the macaroni and cheese, the greens. For dessert, I'm just an apple pie guy. Plain and simple. But I love gumbo. Mom, when you get here, I need some of that!"
11. Fullback/Defensive Lineman Patrick Ricard
"I don't really even like Thanksgiving meals compared to other holidays. I don't like turkey as much as ham. But usually [at] my Thanksgivings, I've always had turkey, carrots, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, black olives -- my Italian family always had a bowl of black olives, lasagna. And pumpkin pie, apple pie, maybe a cheesecake."
12. Cornerback Jimmy Smith
"My usual is macaroni and yams. That's what I like to eat! I don't really like turkey that much unless it's fried with hot sauce injected in it. I don't really eat that other stuff; I just eat the macaroni and yams. And sweet potato pie -- we don't do pumpkin."
13. Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley
"It's pretty mixed up. My mom will cook some traditional Tongan food with my aunts -- green bananas, lamb wrapped in banana leaf. And then we'll have turkey, mac and cheese, all the good traditional stuff."
14. Kicker Justin Tucker
"Obviously, the turkey's gotta be the star of the show. Now, the preparation of the turkey -- I'm not too picky as long as there's a good tenderness to the meat. Whether it's deep fried, oven-baked, smoked ... I think we're going to smoke our turkey this year. It's gotta start with the turkey and then mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing or dressing. I don't care what you call it -- bready deliciousness! I couldn't tell you what's in it except I eat it every year. I would also throw in there that to balance out all of the savory, rich flavors -- having like a cranberry sauce or a little compote on the side. The Thanksgiving meal is always a hit. What might even be better, day after Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving sandwiches. You basically put everything that was on your plate in between two slices of bread. You make a Thanksgiving sandwich the next day. It's probably the most important thing. For dessert, I'm a pumpkin pie guy."
15. Defensive Tackle Brandon Williams
"Me and the wife thought about doing an unorthodox Thanksgiving -- she's talking about doing something different like maybe just having Italian or doing something weird. But we're probably just going to do regular Thanksgiving stuff because I like Thanksgiving food. We're probably going to do cranberry sauce, big turkey or some Cornish hens or something like that, sweet potato pie, all the fixings, everything. I just like it all. If someone could make a turducken for me, that would be nice. I've never had one before. I think that would be good to have."
The following menus did not run in print are online-only...
16. Linebacker Chris Board
"Gotta go with turkey for sure. Probably some good mashed potatoes as well. Good mac and cheese for sure -- baked, lotta cheese. Those are probably my top three. And some homemade pumpkin pie. My mom made it best, for sure."
17. Linebacker Josh Bynes
"A favorite of mine is the dressing. My wife's family -- they make a seafood dressing with crab, shrimp, oysters. For dessert -- my mother-in-law, she makes a good key lime cake. It's fire!"
18. Safety Chuck Clark
"Mac and cheese definitely. Sweet potato pie. Turkey. I don't eat that much, for real. Nothing crazy."
19. Linebacker L.J. Fort
"You gotta have the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top. The good mac and cheese with the breading on top. The turkey's gotta be cooked right and moist. You have to have pumpkin pie for dessert."
20. Running Back Justice Hill
"Really just all the normal stuff. Turkey, greens, dressing. I'm not a big dessert dude. I don't eat sweets like that. I eat desserts, but I'm just not like, 'Ooh, I can't wait to go ahead so I can get this!' Yeah but I like pecan pie, German chocolate cake."
21. Safety Bennett Jackson
"My favorite thing for Thanksgiving is probably my grandma's sweet potato pie. I might have to have her ship one out here. I'm a sweet potato pie guy. At dinner I'm kinda like a guy who mixes everything because you stack everything and before you know it, it mixes itself. I turn it into some type of shepherd's pie thing. Key ingredient is turkey, I mix the stuffing, mashed potatoes, a little ham -- maybe a little maple syruped ham!"
22. Offensive Lineman Patrick Mekari
"Honestly probably the mashed potatoes. Plain. Simple. Nothing fancy. Just turkey and mashed potatoes, keep it simple. And pumpkin pie for sure. A little whipped cream. Simple."
23. Offensive Lineman Ben Powers
"I'm a big ham guy on Thanksgiving, so I'll take ham over turkey. And then I love having potatoes. Any type of potatoes I just gotta have potatoes on the plate, and then I like a sweet Hawaiian roll also. My family just has all sorts of pies -- my favorite is cherry."
24. Safety Jordan Richards
"For me, we always had Martinelli's apple cider at our house and I was always big on apple pie. Apple pie exclusively. I never messed around with the pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie. People might think I'm crazy. Turkey's not one of my favorites but obviously Thanksgiving, getting people together, there's nothing better than that. Not a cranberry fan, sometimes you get some green beans in there, some mac and cheese, potatoes. But I'm all about the apple pie and that apple cider. That's me."
25. Offensive Lineman Matt Skura
"I usually do the traditional turkey, stuffing, I'm a big ham guy so ham. My thing that I always have to have is sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows on top. My wife usually takes care of cooking for Thanksgiving, but I was like, 'Even if it's a little bit, that's just something that I've always had.' Mashed potatoes, that's another big one, too. My wife makes a really good apple pie so that's kinda my thing."
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox
Issue 259: November 2019
Originally published Nov. 15, 2019