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