Thanksgiving

Internet Archive via flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving leftovers in my kitchen include Chinese chestnut-stuffing. Most people know that our American chestnut trees were decimated by an Asian fungus detected in 1904 that killed untold billions of trees and wiped-out one of the most common and most important lumber and wildlife trees from eastern forests before 1940.

Courtesy Chris Saunders

With tens of thousands of New Hampshire homes  without power, many residents got creative in order to cook their Thanksgiving meals.

Gilmanton resident Kelly Cleveland said her household at least has a backup plan. "My husband has grand ideas of cooking our turkey in our wood cookstove, so it should be very interesting to see how this comes out."

Asked if the family had tried this technique before, Cleveland said, "Not with a turkey. I did try a roast one time, and blew up my Pyrex baking dish. So hopefully he'll choose something other than Pyrex."

Len Medlock via Flickr CC

When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is really about one thing:  the turkey.  Especially here in New England. 

When The New York Times put out its map of the Thanksgiving foods represented each state, New Hampshire was awarded the crown prize, the New England Roast Turkey. 

So on this Thanksgiving, we thought we’d bring you some stories all about turkeys—from a restaurant that serves turkey dinners every day to a lawyer raising the bird to a soup kitchen making sure no one goes without the main dish this year.

Every day is Thanksgiving at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith

by Sean Hurley

"All the time."

That's Sam Willey. His grandparents opened Hart's in 1954. Willey himself has bussed and waited tables, prepared food, bakes pies. 

"I started when I was 7 years old.  Pick up the parking lot was my first duty."

Now Willey's one of the owners.  How does a restaurant that serves Thanksgiving dinners year round top itself on the big day?

"We actually do everything the same," he says.

But just a lot more of it. Mike Cornellison is the executive chef.  On a good day 500 hot plates will emerge from his kitchen.  On Thankgiving, he's expecting to serve well over 1000.

"The hardest part of my day is making sure everything gets up and is hot and fresh cause we are a scratch kitchen here so we make everything from scratch. Today, out back right now I think there's 36 people back there."

Making rolls, thickening gravy, prepping turkey...or like baker Sherry Agengo, making lots and lots of pies.

"I'm making peach cobbler," Agengo says, "Today, I made over a hundred."

In the busy gift shop out front, the phone doesn't stop ringing. Orders for cranberry sauce, stuffing, for the biggest turkey they have.

"We actually get a lot of calls, why we don't mail gravy?  Maybe one day we'll be there, but I'm not ready for that," Willey says, laughing.

There's nothing in the world that can prepare you for mailing gravy, but if anyone can figure it out it'll be someone from a land where Thanksgiving never ends. 

RoadSidePictures via flickr Creative Commons

When Thanksgiving rolls around every year, do you stick to the script, or do you like to experiment to make the feast a little more memorable? With the big day looming, J.M. Hirsch joined Taylor in studio to talk about some new ways to cook the time honored tradition of roast turkey plus, ways to satisfy all of your guests without too much extra effort.

If you've got some great tips for making Thanksgiving great, let us know in the comments or join the conversation on our Facebook page. Bon appétit!

Rhett Sutphin via Flickr CC

Your dad made it look easy...maybe. But carving a turkey is a bit more complicated than you might think. It's a big bird, after all, and not every knife is created equal. (Nor is every bird, thanks to the "spatchcock" craze!)

But never fear, humble home-chef, there's somewhere to turn if you're confounded by the prospect of carving: YouTube. 

Listed below are some of the most informative and easy-to-follow turkey carving how-to videos on the site.

Pro Tip: Watch them in advance of the family arriving and you'll look like a turkey carving ninja come dinner time.

Thanksgiving Tales, Tips, & Travails

Nov 26, 2014
Satya Murthy / Flickr/CC

From family feuds to terrible traffic to sixteen dinner guests with varied dietary restrictions, we’re hearing stories from this uniquely American holiday: how we gather, why we gather, and what makes this day so linked to tradition.  Also, we'll look at the debate over how Black Friday has crept into Thanksgiving Thursday.

GUESTS:

In our monthly segment "On Demand," we help improve your movie nights by offering suggestions for films that are currently streaming on Netflix Instant.   This month, we thought we’d do something a little different.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are five classic films about family that you wouldn’t exactly call “family films.”  If you’re gearing up for a visit from your own eccentric relatives, this queue will remind you that it could be a lot worse.

Hane C. Lee via flickr Creative Commons

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.

Sean Hurley / NHPR

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.

Oil painting by James R. Lambdin

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.

via indiebound.org

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.

Deborah Solomon is author of American Mirror: The Life and Times of Norman Rockwell

Classic Thanksgiving Dishes, Right In Your Backyard

Nov 27, 2013
Shannon Dooling for NHPR

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.

Rain
Moyan Brenn / Flickr Creative Commons

Some parts of New Hampshire could see hairy travel conditions beginning Tuesday evening.  Depending on where you're going, meteorologist Gary Best encourages travelers to head out later on Wednesday.

puzzler4879 via flickr Creative Commons

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.

Rain Rain, Go Away
Jennuine Captures / Flickr Creative Commons

  Meteorologists have been keeping an eye on a storm system that looks like it could bring a nor’easter to the area—just in time for Thanksgiving travel.  

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.

Join us for a Holiday Special, called “Giving Thanks:  a Celebration of Fall, Food and Gratitude”, from American Public Media.  With music and stories for Thanksgiving, host John Birge creates a thoughtful, contemporary reflection on the meaning of the holiday. This year, the show features a grateful tribute to the great writer Nora Ephron, with a warm and funny highlight of her Giving Thanks visit last year.

Steve Rhodes via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Emanuella Grinberg, writer with CNN.com’s Living Section, joins us to talk about her article “Retail Employees Fight Black Friday Creep.” 

Rene S / Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Pimpin' Your Thanskgiving Faves

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.

Part 2: A Vegan Thanksgiving???/Chocolate... Yum

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.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/4971119478/">Thomas Hawk</a> / Flickr

Thursday, Nov. 22th

9:00 - 10:00 am:    Giving Thanks 2012

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/

Turkey Confidential is a live, two-hour, call-in program on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST for public radio listeners across the nation.  On Thursday, November 24, help is on the way for Thanksgiving cooks, kitchen helpers and dinner guests on this, the biggest cooking day of the year. Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper will be available to answer listener questions throughout the live, two-hour program.

Harvest

Nov 24, 2011

Autumn is harvest time. That means Iowa corn and soybeans; fruit dried in the California sun; greens, beans, and potatoes; slaughtered hogs and beef trucked to market. It also means Thanksgiving turkeys. Harvest follows the families to the grain elevator, the farmers markets and, in a welcome break from work, the State Fair. It's the time of summing up after the long growing season --- the time to decide whether the gamble of early spring planting season has paid off.  Listener information is available at www.fivefarms.org

Casual carnivores imagining a vegan Thanksgiving might picture something like this: a  grayish “mock” turkey, dry spongy stuffing, and  cookies that taste like sawdust.  Vegan cooking has made great strides in recent years, but it still feels like a bit of a buzzkill to insist upon being vegan at Thanksgiving.

(Photo by Matthew Mead)

Celebrity designer Matthew Mead shares his tricks for making entertaining easy, beautiful, and fun...even if you don't have time to make a walnut wreath.

Immigration and Thanksgiving

Nov 23, 2011

Exchange Executive Producer Keith Shields explores how the holiday of Thanksgiving has been linked over time in US history with the issue of Immigration

It’s a popular topic in classrooms all over New Hampshire around this time...

But some lessons go beyond just pilgrims and Plymouth Rock and breaking bread with the Natives, in some classes the issue of immigration comes up. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song/Artist/Album/Label

Like A Blessing/Tim Grimm/The Back Fields/Wind River

Over the River and Through the Wood/Julia Lane, Fred Gosbee and Barbara Burt/Going Home: Thanksgiving Music for Celtic Harp/Julia Lane

The Day Before Thanksgiving/Darrell Scott/A Crooked Road/Full Lights

The Thanksgiving Song/Fred Holstein/  Tribute To Steve Goodman/Red Pajamas

Thanks A Lot/Gravity/Roadman/Gravity

All God's Critters/John McCutcheon/Howjadoo/ Rounder

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rednut/498482766/sizes/m/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Ginger Me</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Super designer and celebrity lifestyle expert Matthew Mead shares his ideas for Holiday entertaining. A vegan cookbook does its best to make Turkey Day yummy. P.J. O'Rourke shares tales from the lighter side of reporting. And why we should do a little better with that whole "listening" thing.

For Native Americans, Thanksgiving is not a cause for celebration.  The holiday commemorating the survival – thanks to the Wampanoag tribe – of early settlers also marks the first wave of a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people.