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Dig Into A Feast Of Thanksgiving Stories

6 Stories To Chew On While The Food's Still Cooking

vxla (CC-BY)

It’s Thanksgiving — the holiday when what’s on the plate gets all the attention. But, this being public radio and all, it seems only right to help celebrate the day with a zesty helping of stories to enjoy alongside the sweet potatoes and green beans.

As it turns out, Thanksgiving provides a feast of tasty historical tidbits and rich personal anecdotes to enjoy. So as the turkey roasts and the cranberries simmer (or slide out of the can), tuck into this collection of holiday-themed stories:

  • “Why do some traditions abide and others appear — and then fade away — like floats and balloons in a Thanksgiving Day parade?” NPR’s Linton Weeks looks for the answer by diving into some of the holiday’s bygone customs.
  • Topics like politics and religion can often be the third rail of Thanksgiving table talk. In an effort to create a sort of “how-not-to” guide, NPR asked listeners to share their stories of hot-button conversations and advice on how to make it through an uncomfortable meal.
  • And the 2016 election might not be the only tough topic to talk about. As NPR’s Meg Anderson writes, the schoolbook story of pilgrims and Indians sitting down for the first Thanksgiving has a lot of problems, and it can be a challenge to explain the holiday to kids in a way that doesn’t gloss over the country’s treatment of Native Americans. She spoke with educators who offer advice on how to talk about Thanksgiving with children.
  • While the birds that many Americans have on their Thanksgiving tables are a far cry from their feral cousins, wild turkeys were once widely eaten. So much, in fact, that as recently as 50 years ago, Wisconsin had nearly hunted them out of existence. Erika Janik tells the story in an installment of WPR’s Vintage Wisconsin series.
  • As the country’s largest cranberry producer, there’s a good chance that any given Thanksgiving spread includes a little bit of Wisconsin produce. Photographer Wayne Martin told WPR the story of how a photo project unexpectedly led him to become an expert on the state’s cranberry industry.
  • And finally, it’s time to stop reading and start listening to those nearby. Oral history project and long-time public radio partner StoryCorps is encouraging people to take time Thursday to record interviews with their elders and share those stories with the world. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay talked to WPR’s “Central Time” about the Great Thanksgiving Listen.

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