The Surprising Aldi Find That’s Helping Me Feel Less Lonely This Thanksgiving

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

For as long as I can remember, my grandma was the star of Thanksgiving. The holiday was an annual production; she’d whip up enough collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese, yams, chitlins, hot-water cornbread, and ham for the whole town. Each year my grandma’s dining room table was packed with foil-covered plastic plates that she would deliver to the sisters at church and to the neighbors who had lived next door to her for generations.

As the youngest in my larger-than-life family, I oftentimes would get lost within the chaos of the big day. Somehow throughout it all, though, my grandma would always manage to make me feel special each year on Thanksgiving. She’d bake me my very own sweet potato pie, threatening anyone who would come near it without my approval.

Credit: Tori B. Powell

This year marks the first Thanksgiving since her death. As the date of the feast crept up on me and the reality of not being able to spend it with any of my extended family settled in, I found myself searching for something that might conjure up a feeling of home as I tackled both grief and loneliness.

While it’s true that absolutely no one will ever make a sweet potato pie even close to my grandma’s, I managed to stumble across an item during my weekly Aldi grocery haul that, just for a second, reminded me (ever so slightly) of the goodness of her iconic treat: Park Street Deli Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus, which is just $3.49 for 8 ounces.

Credit: Tori B. Powell

While not a perfect replica (it’s made with pumpkin, not sweet potato for one thing), this smooth and sweet snack transported me back to the days when my grandma spearheaded our feast; it reminded me of the warm flavors of her baking.

As with many of their seasonal items, Aldi will carry this dessert hummus for just a limited time during the fall. And the fleetingness of it all makes me appreciate this dip even more.

Credit: Tori B. Powell

I’ve been pairing it with either pita chips or pretzels, or sometimes I even just eat it by itself. While there isn’t as much protein in this as a typical savory hummus, I have come to realize that I don’t eat this treat for its health benefits; I eat it for the comfort and warmness that the flavor gives me during such a difficult year. While indulging in this dessert hummus by the spoonful, I’m reminded of those crowded Thanksgivings from when I was younger, off somewhere licking a mixing spoon covered in sweet potato remnants. 

Credit: Tori B. Powell

Although Thanksgiving may look different this year, I’ve opted to surround myself with the flavors of my childhood that remind me of happier times with those that I love the most.

How are you making Thanksgiving feel special this year?