My wife Carla is executive editor of Tofugu, a very cool website about Japan. She just wrote an article about how USans and Canadians living in Japan celebrate Thanksgiving. She interviewed five people (a few are Boing Boing readers who responded to a request to be interviewed) and they told her how they managed to have a nice dinner in a country where turkeys are relatively rare.
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WHAT DO JAPANESE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THANKSGIVING?
Joel: Not very much. Unlike Christmas and Halloween, school kids tend not to learn much about it other than, "Americans eat turkey." There also seems to be a lot of confusion with young kids regarding turkey versus chicken. Explaining that they are not the same animal results in a lot of baffled looks.
Annamarie: I have found very few people are familiar with American Thanksgiving. Apart from the knowledge that it exists and that we usually eat turkey, most people I’ve spoken to about it are at a loss. This isn’t a bad thing. I appreciate the opportunity to explain both the storybook and historical origins of the holiday.
Katie: I'm still discovering what Japanese folks know about Thanksgiving. Since I work for an American company (Nike) I find most of my coworkers are pretty savvy about things like Fourth of July and other very American holidays, but I can't tell what my neighbors think, or even if it registers on their radar at all. The most interesting insight for me this year was when a colleague said they were going home to visit family for the Obon festival, “you know, kind of like your Thanksgiving holiday.” I thought it was a good sign that he equated Thanksgiving with “homecoming” and not overeating and football games.
When you look at the Thanksgiving story from Squanto's point of view, it's a pretty depressing science fiction story about minding your business outside your home one day when you're suddenly abducted by aliens with advanced technology, and when you finally make your way back home, years, you discover that nearly everyone on the continent has been wiped out by an alien supervirus. Read the rest
From the late 1800s to the early 1940s, many Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as "ragamuffins" in masked costumes and then thronged the streets, basically trick-or-treating for money and gifts. Read the rest
Uncle Bill, please lead us in A Thanksgiving Prayer.
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There's still time to run down to the supermarket and buy this cake for the coprophages joining you for Thanksgiving dinner.
Check out more unusual Thanksgiving treats in the gallery here.
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In this telling short story, Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin meets a homeless neighbor and his big, rambunctious dog. When time is short, sometimes more can be found in companionship and reflection of a simple truth: that the now, in all its peace, beauty and suffering, will pass.
Street artist KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly, 38, reached a milestone this year: his "Companion" character was a float in the 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
We now bow our heads as Uncle Bill leads us in A Thanksgiving Prayer
Full view in larger size here. If by "glamorous" you mean "explosive diarrhea," then, sure. A vintage ad nightmare scanned and Flickr'd by bluwmongoose, during an era when meat was comparatively expensive, and rationed. As a photo commenter says:
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Holiday", "vegetable" and "loaf" are three words that don't belong together - just like "pedophile", "kindergarten" and "nudist", or "mom", "masturbating" and "surprise."
Vi Hart is Khan Academy's professional mathemusician. (Yeah, I KNOW, right?) And, this year, she's making the most delightfully nerdy Thanksgiving dinner ever.
It begins with green bean matherole, topped with fried Borromean onion rings. But, besides the fact that it's finished with crispy, delicious hyperbolic geometry, what makes the matherole a matherole?
Vectors. Like the rings, vectors are part of geometry. They've got a magnitude (think: size of the green bean) and they've got a direction (think: which way the green bean is pointing). Most importantly, a single vector can be part of a field of vectors. And that, my friends, is an excellent starting point for a 9 x 13 pan full of beans. Read the rest
Get a load of this print ad from the Master Photo Finishers of America, 1926.
Text: "Save the day with snap shots. Thanksgiving, the day of the year which brings most families together, is a splendid opportunity to take snap-shots of the entire family, both singly and as a group. Next year may be too late. Have your camera and a few extra film ready."
Scanned and Flickr'd by Alan Mays, whose photo stream is full of wonderful vintage weirdness. Read the rest
A vintage ad for Camel brand cancer-sticks, scanned and Flickr'd by SA_Steve. Remember, folks, "Camel Cigarettes aid with your Thanksgiving Digestion!" Read the rest
Somewhere around the late 1990s, blaming tryptophan consumption for post-Thanksgiving lethargy became as much of a holiday tradition as the food itself.
Time to trot out a turkey classic.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the chief creative officer at the Serious Eats Blog, is a mad kitchen-science genius. Here at BoingBoing, we've posted about his past experiments demonstrating that there's no reason to waste money on expensive cleavers; that foie gras isn't necessarily evil; and that McDonald's hamburgers will, in fact, rot (under the right conditions).
Now, just in time for your Thanksgiving planning, Lopez-Alt puts turkey brining to the test, running a series of trials comparing the meat-moistening results of various brining solutions, dry salt rub, tap water, and a plain control turkey breast. His conclusion: Don't bother with the brine. Not because it doesn't work — brined turkey does produce nice, moist meat. But because it also produces meat that's kind of soggy. You'll get nearly as good results, without the texture problems, out of dry salt.
I particularly enjoyed this part, where Lopez-Alt explains why the results of brining with water aren't any different from the results of brining with broth.
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There are two principles at work here. The first is that to the naked eye, broth is a pure liquid, in reality, broth consists of water with a vast array of dissolved solids in it that contribute to its flavor. Most of these flavorful molecules are organic compounds that are relatively large in size—on a molecular scale, that is—while salt molecules are quite small. So while salt can easily pass across the semi-permeable membranes that make up the cells in animal tissue, larger molecules cannot.
Additionally, there's an effect called salting out, which occurs in water-based solutions containing both proteins and salt.
Condensed for your abbreviated pleasure, WKRP in Cincinnati's classic turkey drop episode, shrunk down to a brisk 30 seconds. AS GOD IS MY WITNESS I SWEAR I THOUGHT TURKEYS COULD FLY.
WKRP Turkey Drop in 30 Seconds
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest