Tom Hanksgiving, a day every fan savors, paring savory foods with cherished Tom Hanks movies, lands every 4th Thursday of November. Since 2009, it’s a day where lovers of holiday food and Tom Hanks collide to create their own tradition.
A Hanksgiving Feast
Whipping up a Tom Hanks-inspired feast is all about mixing cooking skills with a love of Hanks films. Let’s kick off your Hanksgiving with these yummy dishes, straight from Tom Hanks’ films.
1. Forrest Gump’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Pot
Enjoy a flavorful mix of juicy shrimp, hearty spuds, and sweet corn, all spiced up. It’s a hearty nod to all of Forrest’s shrimp-cooking adventures.
- In a stock pot, bring Old Bay, salt, water and beer to a boil.
- Add potatoes and onions; cook over high heat for 8 minutes.
- Add sausage; continue to cook on high for 5 minutes.
- Add corn; continue to boil for 7 minutes.
- Add shrimp in shells, cook for 4 minutes.
- Drain liquid; pour contents of pot into seperate bowls.
- Sprinkle with additional Old Bay.
2. The Green Bean Mile Casserole
This Green Mile inspired dish has fresh green beans, creamy milk, and crispy fried onions.
- 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) any style Green Beans, drained
- 1 1/3 cups Crispy Fried Onions, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cream of mushroom soup, milk and pepper in 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Stir in green beans and 2/3 cup Crispy Fried Onions.
- Bake 30 minutes or until hot. Stir.
- Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 minutes longer or until onions are golden brown.
3. Joe vs. The Volcano Blast Cranberry Relish
Create a flavor explosion with this spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce, inspired by Joe versus the Volcano.
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- A pinch of kosher salt
- A dash of cinnamon
- In a food processor, combine cranberries, orange segments, orange zest, and jalapeño.
- Pulse until finely chopped but not puréed.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Stir in sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of cinnamon.
- Let it sit for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.
4. Cast Away’s Tropical Coconut Cream Pie
Experience island vibes with this sweet, creamy, and exotic pie, a true salute to Cast Away.
Coconut Cream Pie:
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 cups heavy cream to add to the coconut milk to make a total of 3 cups
- 3 egg yolks (separate whites)
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- Fresh Whipped Cream
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 12 whole graham crackers
- ½ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- For the pie: In a medium saucepan, combine half and half, coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut extract and the vanilla extract.
- Pour the mixture into the pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until firm. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
- For the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely crush graham crackers in a food processor. Pour crumbs into a bowl and add sugar, stirring to combine. Pour butter over the top and mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press the crumbs evenly in the bottom and up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch pie plate.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes until the crust is just barely beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.
Hanksgiving Movie Marathon
Post feast, nestle into your comfy corner and start your movie journey with some Tom Hanks films. Here are a few film ideas to get you started:
Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle, a romantic comedy released in 1993, directed by Nora Ephron, stars Hanks and Meg Ryan. It follows the story of Sam Baldwin (Hanks), a widowed architect who moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah. After Jonah calls into a national radio talk show to find a new partner for his father, Sam reluctantly shares his feelings about his late wife, capturing the hearts of listeners, including Annie Reed (Ryan), a Baltimore-based journalist.
Despite being engaged, Annie feels a deep connection to Sam and sets out to meet him, leading to a series of missed connections and near-encounters that culminate in a fateful meeting atop the Empire State Building, paying homage to the classic film An Affair to Remember. The film charmingly explores themes of love, destiny, and the magic of serendipity.
The Green Mile
The Green Mile, directed by Frank Darabont and released in 1999, is a film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Set in the 1930’s, it tells the story of Paul Edgecomb, a death row prison officer played by Tom Hanks. It’s here that he encounters John Coffey, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, a gentle giant with supernatural healing abilities, wrongfully convicted of murder and awaiting execution. The film, set in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary, explores themes of compassion, the supernatural, and the harsh realities of the justice system, as Paul grapples with moral dilemmas surrounding Coffey’s powers and innocence.
Forrest Gump, the 1994 film directed by Robert Zemeckis, stars Hanks as a man with a low IQ who experiences and unwittingly influences several defining events of the 20th century in American history. The story is narrated by Forrest while sitting on a bus bench. He talks of his childhood with braces on his legs, his college football success, Vietnam War heroics, shrimp boating adventures, and lifelong love for his childhood friend, Jenny. The film blends comedy, drama, and romance, a poignant reflection on destiny and the simplicity of life through Forrest’s innocent perspective.
Games and Events
Spruce up your Hanksgiving with Tom Hanks trivia and games. Let your guests have fun in friendly contests, flaunting their knowledge of Tom Hanks’ career.
Tom Hanks Costume Contest
Encourage your friends to don their finest Tom Hanks attire, bringing energy and fun to the gathering. Be it Woody from Toy Story or Captain Miller from Saving Private Ryan, this contest adds a playful twist to the celebration. Award the most creative costume with a Tom Hanks-themed prize.
Wrapping up the Celebration
Tom Hanksgiving is a hilarious and joyful tribute to Tom Hanks, combining feasts with a variety of his films. It goes beyond enjoying a Forrest Gump shrimp pot or watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; it’s a celebration of Hanks himself. Here’s to a day filled with laughter, tasty treats, and classic Tom Hanks movies.