This year the overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving introduces a whole new element to what's on this year's Thanksgiving menu. While we've heard plenty about how "Thanksgiv-ukkah" could change our Thanksgiving eating habits, for millions of Americans, a hybrid holiday meal is their tradition. Food writer, chef, and public radio personality, Kathy Gunst has been reaching out to friends, chefs, and food writers from across the country who incorporate foods and habits from their original lands in to the great American Thanksgiving meal.
On September 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale of Newport, New Hampshire, wrote a letter to President Lincoln. The author of Mary Had A Little Lamb and one of America’s first female novelists wrote, "The subject is to have the day of our annual thanksgiving made a national holiday." Lincoln, a great observer of the wisdom of others, quickly agreed and in 1863 Thanksgiving became our third national holiday alongside Washington’s birthday and Independence Day.
NHPR’s Sean Hurley set out to discover what Thanksgiving was really like during Sarah Josepha Hale's time. His tack: participating in a 19th century re-creation at the Remick Country Doctor Museum.
Thanksgiving before 1863 was something of a moveable feast, with states honoring the holiday at various times or not at all. But as the Civil War dragged on, Abraham Lincoln needed a way to unite the country. It was a prominent magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, who finally persuaded him to declare a national holiday.
Hale, born 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire, was a prolific writer. She authored biographies, cookbooks, novels, editorials, and volumes of poetry, including the children’s rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb.
I was once invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a friend who warned me that her family was “Not a Real Norman Rockwell Kinda Bunch”. We know that image: brightly scrubbed faces hover in smiling anticipation over sparkling china as Ma sets the turkey in front of the family patriarch ready to be carved. That painting is titled Freedom From Want and it’s one of those homespun scenes that only happens in what author Deborah Solomon calls “Rockwell Land” -- a magical reflection of American life as it should be. Solomon’s new biography of the illustrator, beloved by the masses and dismissed as corn ball by the art world, reveals a complicated, neurotic, and repressed man who lived very far from the America he invented.
The traditional thanksgiving feast includes turkey, potatoes, cranberries and of course, pie. Some of the foodies from NHPR’s newsroom traveled around the state to find more on the local producers and traditions of holiday fixings.
Thanks to Shannon Dooling, Emily Corwin, Sam Evans-Brown and Todd Bookman for these stories, which first aired last November.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and every year around this time, our thoughts and stomachs go out to food. Long before deep fried turkeys, gelatinized cranberry sauce, and boxed stuffing there was the inaugural Thanksgiving feast at the Plymouth plantation. So what was on the table that day? Abigail Carroll might have an idea. She’s a food historian and author who has studied the Colonial and Native American diet extensively. We spoke with her earlier this month about her new book,Three Squares: The Invention of The American Meal.
A century and a half after President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, a public monument is being dedicated to the New Hampshire woman often credited with influencing his decision. Sarah Josepha Hale was born in Newport, where a bronze memorial is being dedicated Saturday. A magazine editor, abolitionist and champion of women's causes, Hale also devoted years of her life to lobbying for Thanksgiving. Her letter writing campaign paid off in 1863, when Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for a national day of Thanksgiving each fourth Thursday in November.
Black Friday has long been a post-holiday shopping tradition for many Americans. During the last several years, customers have found their favorite stores opening ever-earlier in anticipation of growing demand. This time around, employees are fighting back against the early hours.
A.P. food writer and cookbook author J.M. Hirsch shares his tips on how to “pimp” your Thanksgiving dinner to make it impress without stress. Make your own butter in five minutes, stuff your turkey with fresh herbs, and make sure to dry your potatoes before you mash them. And as far as salad? Forget it. Thanksgiving comes but once a year, so splurge.
For the forager of wild foods, November brings cranberries, crisp and tart to suit the season. Cranberries are a wetlands obligate, meaning they grow in wetland soils, so keep a watch for these low, trailing plants when you're out exploring river edges and soggy lowlands. And then return in November for the harvest. Many berries survive through the winter freeze to provide a spring snack.
This special broadcast of "Gratitude, Gravy & Garrison" features acclaimed acapella group VocalEssence's celebration of all things Thanksgiving. Garrison Keillor performs his signature monologue and contributes comic new lyrics to familiar songs and hymns. Listener information is available at www.prairiehome.org/programs/