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Thanksgiving Stories - NPR Stories About Thanksgiving Traditions, Meals, Myths and Memories

Where the Pilgrims Really Landed.  "Plymouth And Provincetown, After The Pilgrims," NPR Morning Edition, November 26, 2009.  “At Thanksgiving, most of us think of pious Pilgrims in black clothes landing at Plymouth, Mass. But they actually arrived at Provincetown, Mass., first. It's hard to imagine two places more different today. Plymouth makes money from its image as the home of righteous, hard-working, religious pilgrims. Provincetown makes money from its pounding disco beat and artist hangouts.”  Listen to this NPR story by Chris Arnold and Steve Inskeep.

Debunking Pilgrim Myths: The First Thanksgiving, NPR All Things Considered, November 23, 2006.  "Nathaniel Philbrick dispels some of the myths surrounding the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, including the date of that dinner, what was eaten and what it was called." NPR history of Thanksgiving.    Listen to this NPR Thanksgiving true story by Nathaniel Philbrick.

Debunking Pilgrim Myths: Before Plymouth, NPR All Things Considered, November 22, 2006.  "Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War, notes that the Pilgrims encountered Native Americans -- and stole their corn -- before reaching Plymouth Harbor."  NPR broadcast Thanksgiving pilgrims.  Listen to this NPR story by Nathaniel Philbrick. Discover more books on Thanksgiving.

Indigenous Echoes In A Thanksgiving Feast, NPR Morning Edition, November 27, 2008.  "Though historians aren't entirely sure what was served at the first Thanksgiving meal, the chefs at the National Museum of the American Indian have developed a menu reflecting various tribal culinary traditions."  Listen to this NPR story by Neda Ulaby.  Choose the best of NPR Thanksgiving Recipes stories.

The True, Grim Story of the First Thanksgiving, NPR Morning Edition, November 27, 2003.  “The story of Thanksgiving helped create a common American heritage. But the so-called facts aren't so true. NPR's Bob Edwards explains that the real Thanksgiving was much more grim than grade school teachers will allow in the annual pageant.”  Listen to this NPR interview with the State of Washington's Tacoma School District Indian educator Chuck Washington by Bob Edwards.


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The First Thanksgiving, NPR Talk of the Nation, November 26, 1998.  "What was the first Thanksgiving in 1621 really like? Did the Pilgrims really enjoy a bountiful repast to give thanks for surviving their bitter first winter in the "New World?" What was the relationship like between the colonists and the Native Americans? Ray Saurez [sic] and his guests separate the history from the romantic myth during a special Thanksgiving Day look at America's first "harvest celebration," on the next Talk of the Nation, from NPR News."  Listen to this NPR story by Ray Suarez.

Thanksgiving Would Be Nothing Without Spices, NPR All Things Considered, November 18 2007.  "Think your Thanksgiving is as American as pumpkin pie? Not so fast. Food historian Jack Turner explains to Andrea Seabrook how plants like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg made their way around the world onto our dinner plates.  Jack Turner is the author of Spice: The History of a Temptation."  Listen to this NPR story by Andrea Seabrook.

Howard Zinn and the Omissions of U.S. History, NPR KCLU, November 27, 2003.    "The Thanksgiving holidays are a time when Americans traditionally reflect how far we've come and the distance we have yet to go. But too often we only scratch the surface of yesterday.

One academic who has measured the past in arguably broader terms is Howard Zinn -- historian, social activist, playwright and author of the critically acclaimed A People's History of the United States. Professor Zinn joins NPR's Tavis Smiley to discuss what Zinn contends are some of the great "omissions" of United States History."

Tribe that Saw Pilgrims Land Gets Recognition, NPR All Things Considered, February 16, 2007.  “After a decades-long struggle, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Cape Cod, Mass., has won official recognition as a sovereign Native American nation. The Indians' ancestors were on shore when the Pilgrims arrived in the 1620s. The recognition brings land rights, access to federal grants — and perhaps a push for casino gambling in Massachusetts.”  Listen to this NPR story by Sean Corcoran.

A Cranberry Story, from the Home of the Pilgrims, NPR Morning Edition, November 23, 2006.  "The Ocean Spray cooperative estimates that Americans will eat -- or drink -- more than 80 million pounds of cranberries this week. Scott Horsley sends an audio postcard from a Massachusetts cranberry farm."  Listen to this story by Scott Horsley.

Words of Appreciation to the Inventor of Stove Top Stuffing, NPR Morning Edition, November 23, 2005.  "[For] those of us without the time or energy to make oyster stuffing this Thanksgiving, there is an alternative. It only takes five minutes to prepare and you can make it right on your own stove or in your microwave, as you might imagine from the name Stove Top Stuffing. . .

[Its lead inventor] Ruth Siems was said to be instrumental at arriving at the precise crumb dimension to get the right texture for the stuffing. And for that, her name was listed first on the patent for Stove Top taken out in 1975. This Thanksgiving, the buyers of 60 million boxes of Stove Top can thank Ruth Siems, who died [in November 2005] at home in Newburgh, Indiana."  Listen to this NPR story by Steve Inskeep.  Peruse the latest in Thanksgiving stuffing mix and Thanksgiving stuffing recipes.

Discover more NPR Thanksgiving recipes.  Discover more Thanksgiving stories.

"Table For One, Please. A Solo Thanksgiving."  By Linton Weeks. Thanksgiving Dinner for One When NPR posted a question recently on its's Facebook page asking those who are planning to spend Thanksgiving alone to tell NPR why and how, NPR got hundreds and hundreds of very different responses.  Read this NPR storySend a turkey to someone special that you really care about this holiday season.

Musical Families For Thanksgiving, NPR Morning Edition, November 27, 2008.  "Every Thanksgiving, classical commentator and violist Miles Hoffman offers some tongue-in-cheek musical observations appropriate to the holiday. In the past, he has talked up musical turkeys, pontificated on plucking and lectured about leftovers, to name just a few. This year, Hoffman relishes relatives — not only those members of the family who gather, sometimes only once a year, for the giant feast, but also lesser-known relatives from famous musical families."  Listen to this NPR story by Renee Montagne and Miles Hoffman.

 Thanksgiving on the International Space Station

Thanksgiving in Space.  Ingredients For A Homestyle Thanksgiving, 200 Miles Above The Earth.  Read the NPR story.

The Spices That Make Thanksgiving Smell So Good, NPR All Things Considered, November 27, 2003.  "NPR's Michele Norris has a Thanksgiving chat with Tom and Patty Erd, the owners of Spice House, a Chicago-area specialty store that not only sells spices but educates customers about the history of each spice. The couple discuss some traditional holiday spices -- the nutmeg and allspice of pumpkin pie, for example -- that make Thanksgiving smell so good."  Listen

Who is Missing from Your Thanksgiving Table This Year?
NPR Talk of the Nation, November 22, 2007.   "Listeners call in about the loved ones who are absent from their household gathering this Thanksgiving.  Whether they are serving overseas in the military, stuck in highway traffic, or at work producing an upcoming broadcast, who is missing from your table this year?"  Listen.

Famous Chef Shares Thanksgiving Holiday Fare
, NPR Tell Me More, November 26, 2008.  "Famous Chef Daniel Young shares his Thanksgiving menu. The Denver-based culinary artist tells if he's excited about being on the short-list of candidates to be considered as President-elect Obama's executive chef in the White House."  Listen to this NPR story by Korva Coleman.

Special Memories of a Final Thanksgiving Meal,
NPR Morning Edition, November 16, 2007.   "Danielle and Gabrielle Hall lost their mother, Martha Hall, to breast cancer in 2003. The sisters say that their last Thanksgiving meal together with her revealed the holiday's true meaning."  Listen to this remarkable story.

Who's Not At Your Dinner Table?, NPR Talk of the Nation, November 27, 2008.  Host Neal Conan talks with listeners about who is not at their Thanksgiving dinner table this year, and why."  Listen to this story by Neal Conan.

I miss my grandmother.
And, the way she could command
our eclectic army of siblings and cousins.
The way she could entertain and understand
all of our differences
and make us see
the blood we share
while loving each of us
without hesitation.
Making us all feel unique,
and appreciated.
I give thanks to her
and miss her the most
on this fine day. 

Cody, Sharing Thanksgiving memories
  of his grandmother with NPR listeners

Food, Family and Tradition On Thanksgiving Day, NPR Talk of the Nation, November 22, 2001.  "It's time to talk turkey and other food favorites as American households prepare for the annual Thanksgiving feast. In this hour of Talk of the Nation, we'll hear the often untold histories about our food traditions and what they tell about who we are. If your turkey could talk what would it say about you? Host Neal Conan talks with guests about food, family and tradition."  Listen.

Thanksgiving Is Not Just A Dead Bird, NPR, November 26, 2008. "Comedian Paula Poundstone lists all the things she's most grateful for this Thanksgiving, including the Ziploc bag she puts her savings in. What would be on your list?"  Read the transcripts of the NPR story by Paula Poundstone.

Love, Small-Town Alabama Life and Smash McCoy - A Thanksgiving Story, NPR All Things Considered, November 23, 2006.   "The annual tradition of Thanksgiving Day stories by Bailey White continues. This year's offering is a tale of love, small-town Alabama life and a quirky character called Smash McCoy. It's called 'What Would They Say in Birmingham?'"  Listen to this NPR story by Bailey White.  Enjoy more stories and books by Bailey White.

Carrie Fisher's Thanksgiving Tips: Talking It Out, Day to Day, November 23, 2006.  "Writer and actress Carrie Fisher offers a final family gathering tip. If the gathering has been rougher than expected, what can you say on the way out to make it all better?" Listen to this story by Alex Chadwick.

Specialists: Eat Healthy Without Spending A Fortune, NPR Tell Me More, November 24, 2008.  "Tough financial times have many American's scaling back their budgets. It's tempting to pass on healthy eating because of cost but Money coach Alvin Hall, chef George Stella and Dr. Rovenia Brock, a nutritionist share tips on stocking a healthy pantry on minimal dollars."  Listen to this NPR story by Korva Coleman.

TABASCO's Hot History, 135-Year-Old TABASCO Still Popular Today, NPR Morning Edition, November 29, 2002.  "Leftovers are a special part of Thanksgiving, but sometimes, they're in need of a little help. A little heat, perhaps, from a product that has become as quintessentially American as turkey: TABASCO. For Morning Edition, NPR's Renee Montagne reports on the epic history of TABASCO, Louisiana's premier hot sauce."  Listen to this NPR story by Renee Montagne.   

Giving Thanks by Giving to Others...

Food Banks Struggling During Holidays, Day to Day, November 23, 2006.  "As the nation celebrates Thanksgiving, the country's food banks are experiencing serious shortages. Alex Chadwick speaks with Marketplace reporter Stacey Vanek Smith about the crisis at America's food banks."  Listen to the NPR story by Alex Chadwick. 

One Man's Yearly Thanksgiving Dinner For Strangers, NPR Morning Edition, November 19, 2010.  “When Scott Macaulay's parents divorced 25 years ago, he wasn't sure what to do about the holidays.  ‘If you were nice to one, the other one would get mad with you,’ the 49-year-old recounted at StoryCorps in Melrose, Mass.  ‘When October came, I thought, gee, you know, what's going to happen at Thanksgiving? So I just thought, well, there must be some other people that are in the same boat. Why should they have that rotten feeling? Why should they be stuck home alone?’  

So, Macaulay put an ad in the local paper and offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people. People came and they had such a good time that the dinner became a new tradition. . . . Last year 84 people showed up, and he has plans to cook for 80 people next week. This year things have been more difficult because six of his guests died and the health inspector required him to get a permit to serve food. But of the 65 reservations he has in hand, at least 20 of them have joined him for the meal before. . . . Still, Macaulay says his goal is to never have anybody make a reservation.  ‘My goal is always to have nobody sign up, 'cause that means everybody's got a place to go and everybody's OK,’ he says. ‘And that's what keeps me going 25 years later.’”  Listen to this NPR story by Nadia Reiman.

Hunger And Poverty, NPR Talk of the Nation, November 25, 1998.  "With the arrival of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, many Americans will be donating food and volunteering at soup kitchens and food pantries around the country. In spite of the thriving economy, twelve million families are at risk of hunger in the United States, according to latest figures released by Bread for the World. Ray Suarez and guests will examine the link between hunger and poverty, in a time of prosperity, and what it will take to alleviate hunger in the U.S."  Listen to this NPR story by Ray Suarez.

Role of Food Banks Scrutinized in Feeding America's "Food Insecure," Tell Me More, November 21, 2007.  "According to government statistics an estimated 35 million Americans are food insecure — meaning their access to enough food is limited by a lack of money and other resources. The findings prompt many to analyze the role of food banks in American cities. Author Mark Winne and Thea Washington, a food bank client, discuss about whether food banks are really helping to end hunger."  Listen to this story by Cheryl Corley.

Rethinking Social Services in the Des Moines Suburbs, NPR Morning Edition, January 30, 2007.  "Suburban governments are facing new challenges as poverty spreads from the city to surrounding communities. A regional effort to revamp social services is under way outside Des Moines, Iowa."  Listen to this NPR story by Rachel Jones.  

Survivors Of The Great Depression Tell Their Stories, NPR All Things Considered, November 27, 2008.  "The Great Depression of the 1930s is on peoples' minds these days. If you have family members who lived through it, you may hear their stories at the dinner table this Thanksgiving. It was a period of protests and hunger marches — and unionism spread like wildfire — but many people suffered quietly, ashamed of their poverty. No matter what their situation, the Great Depression changed those in the generation that survived it."  Listen to this NPR story by Neenah Ellis.  Browse and discover books about Thanksgiving.

Discover more Thanksgiving stories and unforgettable Thanksgiving memories...

A Low-Carb Thanksgiving Feast NPR Morning Edition, November 27, 2003.  "The ultimate fantasy Thanksgiving is more like a nightmare for those struggling with a low-carbohydrate diet. On Morning Edition, Renee Schettler, assistant food editor for The Washington Post, offers advice on how to make it through the holiday with your low-carb goals intact."  Listen to this NPR story by Renee Schettler. 

Discover more NPR Thanksgiving recipes.

Thanksgiving Menus Reflecting Native-American Tribal Culinary Traditions, NPR Morning Edition, November 27, 2008.  "Though historians aren't entirely sure what was served at the first Thanksgiving meal, the chefs at the National Museum of the American Indian have developed a menu reflecting various tribal culinary traditions."  Listen to this NPR story by Neda Ulaby.  Choose the best of NPR Thanksgiving Recipes stories.
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