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Food for Thought: podcasts for the Thanksgiving commute

November 22, 2018

Temperatures have dropped, Halloween costumes have been shelved, and fleece blankets are front and center: undeniably, the holiday season is here. While Thanksgiving is often regarded as the less-anticipated prelude to Christmas, there is plenty to be grateful for in this season of generosity. As you hit the highways for the commute back home, queue up a few podcasts that will break up the “pass the potatoes” talk. It’s the food and thought coma doubleheader you’ve always dreamed of.

This American Life: Poultry Slam 2011

An annual tradition at This American Life, Poultry Slams examine “what happens when humans and fowl collide,” says host Ira Glass. The outcomes are equal parts hilarious, horrifying, and heartwarming. Poultry Slams have been recurring on the show since 1995, but many regard the 2011 episode as a Thanksgiving legend. Without giving too much away, it combines a little taste of “when turkeys attack,” a death row case worker who calls a talented chicken to the stand, and a little advice from a chef on how to treat your birds with respect.

Hidden Brain: Thanksgiving

The holidays can bring out the best – and worst – in many of us. Host Shankar Vedantam gets it. Hidden Brain’s Thanksgiving episode provides “tips to help you avoid three deadly Thanksgiving pitfalls: overeating, over-shopping, and fighting with your relatives.” Look for tips on how to navigate career, politics, and religion interrogations from your relatives, walk away from those Black Friday deals, and politely decline your third piece of pie. Let’s be honest, we could all use a little help with at least one.

Gastropod: Crantastic: The Story of America’s Berry

Cranberries have been a staple at Thanksgiving feasts for years, but not always in the sweet, tangy way we know them today. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley explore the history of the historic berry, dissecting quandaries such as why cranberries are only a mainstay on Thanksgiving, whether or not they actually treat urinary tract infections, and how the acidic fruit evolved into a popular accompaniment for cocktails. It’s the perfect smattering of trivia when those political conversations take a weird turn.

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