// November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving is Serious Fun at USP

Thanksgiving at USP

At USP, we are thankful for the many chemists, pharmacists, food scientists, biologists, food lawyers, regulation lawyers, and countless other professionals who work hard to make sure that the United States literally sets “high standards” for quality medicines, supplements and foods.  But as they say … all work and no play makes even Dr. John a dull boy.

Not surprisingly, many of our employees’ professional interests carry over into their personal lives and will be represented at their Thanksgiving table.

Home Brew

For example, although, it is not a scientific survey, USP seems to have more than its fair share of home brewers. 

Members of our staff will toast the holidays with their own special brands of beer, wine and even mead (a type of honey wine).  Among the beers on tap will be a Doppelbock and “Hoptoberfest” made by Mario Sindaco (Director of Compendial Affairs); an Oktoberfest and Black IPA made by Susan de Mars (Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Counsel) and her husband; an Irish Ale made by Robert Shimahara (Director - Sales & Marketing) and although it won’t be ready for Thanksgiving, David Stonehouse’s (Senior Manager – Art Direction) creative expression is currently taking the form of a Chocolate Cherry Stout, which is resting in anticipation of Christmas.

Home Grown

Not to be outdone, our food and agricultural scientists are not going to let the most food centric holiday on the calendar go by without a little home experimentation of their own. 

During regular hours Jeffrey Moore monitors reports on the quality and purity of spices, supplements and foods as a senior scientific liaison, but his curiosity extends well beyond the workplace.  This year’s planned experiment – a brined and apple wood smoked turkey.

As VP Biologics and Biotechnology, Tina Morris knows a thing or two about how to get the most out of a plant.  She and her husband (also a biologist) cultivate their own crop of cayenne peppers and heirloom tomatoes – which they then use to make her nephew’s favorite extra spicy green beans and “cowboy ketchup” – the condiment to beat all condiments.

Homegrown is great, but Claudia Costabile, a media relations manager who specializes in food issues, prefers to walk on the wild side. She will dress her turkey with homemade “beach plum sauce” made from wild plums she and her husband gathered during summer vacation at Broadkill Beach, Delaware.

And Kristie Laurvick, another senior scientific liaison on the food team and a chemist by training, will put her knowledge to work making a tasty gluten-free pie that anyone would enjoy, but this one is made especially for her grandson with celiac disease.

Home Town

USP is also a very diverse organization – the majority of the 650+ staff members at our headquarters in Rockville, MD is of minority heritage and many are either immigrants or first generation Americans.  Although many staffers have adopted the American Thanksgiving tradition, most have added their own cultural twists. 

Nelufar Mohajeri, Director of Member & Professional Relations moved to the U.S. from Iran.  Growing up, her mother would stuff their turkey with “estamboli polo,” a rice based Persian pilaf, instead of more traditional bread stuffing. Indeed, another unscientific survey has revealed that the turkey seasoning and stuffing is the area where cultural expression seems most likely to flourish. 

Latifa El-Hadri, program manager for USP’s Promoting the Quality of Medicines program (PQM), promotes the flavor of her turkey by stuffing it with traditional Moroccan ingredients: vermicelli, pickled lemon, pickled olive, spicy harissa, parsley cilantro and spices and olive oil.

But it takes more than a turkey to please the palate of native Jamaican Gillian Ghans, who also works in USP’s PQM program. She serves turkey flavored with jerk seasoning, but the real stars on her holiday table are fried fish, goat meat curry and peas & rice.

Home is Where the Heart Is

We are thankful for the passion USP employees bring to their work and we are delighted that the same passion extends to their home life … because at the end of the day the most important chemistry is the love shared among family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving from USP!