Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving 2007

I will be doing a short road trip to visit with family for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

For those of you who are traveling, whatever your mode of transportation, may it be a safe one, and may you enjoy a great meal in the company of friends and family. If you are not traveling, and instead people are coming to your home, may the stress be low or nonexistent, and may you have a great time. And just in case you want some reading before or after you head out, here are some things I have found:

  • The Census Bureau has their feature on Thanksgiving Day. Here are some highlights:
    • 272 million. The preliminary estimate of turkeys raised in the United States in 2007. That’s up 4 percent from 2006. The turkeys produced in 2005 together weighed 7.2 billion pounds and were valued at $3.2 billion.
      Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <>

    • 144,086. Number of certified organic turkeys on the nation’s farmland, as of 2005. Most of these turkeys were in Michigan (56,729) or Pennsylvania (48,815).
      Source: USDA Economic Research Service <>
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that "Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Inches Higher This Year."
  • Unfortunately, not everyone may be as fortunate in sharing the bounty.
    • For instance, the National Coalition for the Homeless recently issued a report finding a situation of "Feeding Intolerance: Prohibitions on Sharing Food with People Experiencing Homelessness." According to the press release about the report, "the report details how local governments across the country are using a wide variety of ordinances, policies, and tactics to restrict groups that share food with poor and homeless people. The report also offers examples of more constructive alternatives to these counterproductive laws." Now, I am sure that in spite of such findings, many charitable organizations will provide a meal to those in need.
    • Meanwhile, Second Harvest issued a report finding that "in the United States, one out of six children in small towns and big cities lives in a food insecure household, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal." Something to think about while you are watching the traditional football games after the meal: "That’s enough children to fill every seat in all of the professional league football, baseball, basketball and hockey stadiums and every Division One NCAA basketball stadium across the country at the same time."
    • However, I cannot just give you the bad news and leave no hope. So, I urge people who are able and willing to consider volunteering. For example, here in East Texas, the East Texas Food Bank may use some volunteers not just now but during the year. Visit the site for details.
  • Do you need some help with the recipes? Epicurious has a nice thanksgiving guide. So does the Food Network here.
  • But what happens if you are vegetarian? We got you covered here with some recipes that are friendly to our vegetarian and vegan friends.
  • And what about the leftovers? Personally, I am not much for Thanksgiving leftovers other than the pie. However, I know plenty of people who like the leftovers, so here are some ideas from Mr. Breakfast. Apparently, that is all that guy does; I may have to revisit the website during the year for other ideas.
  • Does this holiday give you stress? Well, getting together with family, especially if some things are a bit tense, can be stressful. Dr. Joyce Brothers offers some tips on dealing with the stress.
  • If you are one of those people who just have to watch the Macy's Day Parade, find some information and trivia here about it.
  • Learn a little history about the festivity from the Smithsonian here. Learn a few more facts from this CBC article on "Talkin' Turkey," including the answer to the question, "why do I feel sleepy after eating that turkey."
  • If you somehow manage to stay awake after the turkey, maybe you want to do some reading. Here is a list of some books with a Thanksgiving theme. If you like cozy mysteries, this may be your list for Thanksgiving. And here is a list for children.
  • And talking about the football games, it is not just sitting down and watching them. James Alder has some advice on "NFL Football on Thanksgiving." There is strategy to it as it turns out. Make sure you know what games are going on. The NFL's site has some information along with a list of memorable Thanksgiving games from past years. Do check your local listings accordingly then.
  • Of course, for you to have your holiday, you either have to make it (see the recipes and tips above), or you have to travel someplace.
    • If you are traveling by car, you may find Google Maps useful. When you open it, there is a link in the map area that says "Traffic." Click on that, and the map shows some traffic lights. Click on a traffic light and zoom in to get some local traffic information.
    • If you are flying, may the deity or higher being of your choice have mercy on you (can you tell I do not have a high opinion of flying? And no, it is not fear of flying itself, but let's leave that for another post, shall we?). A quick look at the news using Google as well reveals a few stories about delays in flights. You may want to make sure you leave with plenty of time. If you need some information about delays, the FAA site has it here with an interactive map for airport information. Calling ahead to your carrier or looking online may be advisable as well.
  • Finally, if you are feeling frisky, and you happen to be holding on to that turkey baster, here are "15 Ways to Use a Turkey Baster for Sex." Now, this is where I do the usual warning: If you offend easily, or you are underage, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK. On the other hand, if some graphic suggestions don't bother you, and you feel like trying something different, go right ahead and click here.
So, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

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