Thanksgiving Reader 2016

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Photo by Andrea Goh | Flickr CC license
Photo by Andrea Goh
| Flickr CC license
• The DES MOINES REGISTER reports that it will cost 24 cents less to prepare a typical Thanksgiving dinner this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Thanksgiving dinner price survey.

“Prices for turkey spiked last year because turkey farmers were hit hard by the avian flu virus, which devastated flocks and reduced fresh and frozen turkey stocks nationally. That’s not the case this year,” Farm Bureau Director of Research David Miller said in a news release. “In addition to turkey, ham is also quite a bargain this time of year since inventory is robust nationwide.”

SKEPTICAL RAPTOR slows down to science the shit out of the Turkey Tryptophan Sleep Myth.

• Whether you are going to kick it Old Skool with green bean casserole or Pimp Your Ride with haricot vert almondine, you’ll want to check in with THE BOTANIST IN THE KITCHEN for more info on green beans than you thought you wanted.

That curved tapering end is the elongated stigma and style where pollen grains landed and grew down into the ovary, carrying sperm cells and stimulating fruit development. It is very soft and I always leave it on, but the more squeamish among us may in fact want to remove any whiff of plant sex from their Thanksgiving tables.

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• NPR
seeks to expand our sweet potato horizons:

On the eve of Thanksgiving, we’re stepping outside the U.S. sweet potato zone to see how the vegetable is regarded across the ocean. Our contributors are three African sweet potato eaters and one U.S. food scientist who’s worked on sweet potato issues in Africa.

Growing up on a small farm in rural Zimbabwe, I liked to sing the song “Chimbambaira chiri mupoto. Ndodya nani?”

In Shona, my mother language, that means: “That sweet potato in the pot. Who should I eat it with?”

Other NPR picks:
• The Strange Truth Behind Presidential Turkey Pardons
When The Kids Go Vegan, It Can Be A Recipe For A Stressful Holiday Meal
• Heinz Recalls Hundreds Of Cases of Gravy Just Ahead Of Thanksgiving
• How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving

Photo by Patricia | Flickr CC license
Photo by Patricia | Flickr CC license

• SCIENCE 2.0 tells us that Apple Pie might be the All-American symbol, for American eaters, it’s pumpkin pie that reign supreme on the most American of holidays.

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• MARION NESTLE offers a well deserved eye roll to the press release by the trade association, the American Pizza Community letting us all know that Thanksgiving Eve Pizza is now an honored American tradition. From the people who brought us pizza a school lunch vegetable.

Turkey Mole | Photo by Ryan Godfrey | Flickr CC license
Turkey Mole | Photo by
Ryan Godfrey | Flickr CC license

• In a year marked by hard edged nativism, TOM PHILPOTT plans a Thanksgiving meal that seeks solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Mexico and the Muslim world:

So if you end up cooking a turkey this year, consider swathing it in mole (recipe here), the way they’ve been preparing this North America-native bird for centuries in Puebla, Mexico. A complex and not overly spicy mix of various dried chili peppers, nuts, herbs, spices, and fruit, pavo en mole poblano will pack many times the flavor of even the best-done standard roast turkey and gravy preparation.

If you’re looking to skip meat, consider the work of Oakland, California, chef and cookbook writer Bryant Terry, who takes the culinary traditions of the African diaspora in a vegan direction. His couscous with butternut squash, pecans, and currants could anchor a holiday feast.

As for me, President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry and reckless attacks on the Iran nuclear arms deal has me craving Middle Eastern food. The website Help for Syria features nine recipes that would make for a delectable Thanksgiving spread, including freekeh (young green wheat) with chicken and manoushi, a glorious flatbread. As for Iran, the great Canadian cookbook writer Naomi Duguid has an excellent new cookbook encompassing that region called Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. Below is a recipe from her book that’s perfect for an autumn celebration meal.

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