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KPBS Midday Edition Thanksgiving special

 November 23, 2022 at 1:43 PM PST

S1: How to enjoy this inflation Thanksgiving without busting your budget.

S2: Eat with your eyes. If it looks good , you eat it.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jane Heineman. This is KPBS midday edition. We explore the complex meaning of Thanksgiving for Native Americans.

S3: I think we can begin to teach the true history of Thanksgiving , not the Thanksgiving myths shared in our society and the education system.

S1: Then we explore gratitude. Why we need it and how it helps us. And some words of thanks from the people here at KPBS. That's ahead on Midday Edition. As inflation stretches food budgets to the breaking point , some San Diego supermarkets are giving customers a break and offering Thanksgiving staples at bargain prices this year. By shopping around , you can find turkeys as low as $0.69 a pound , boxed stuffing at $0.99 and pumpkin pies for five bucks. But overall , there's no getting around the fact that holiday meals will be more expensive this year. So now is the time for tips on how to cut costs without having to cut corners on taste or festivities. Joining me is Brad Wise , executive chef and owner of Trust Restaurant Group. And , Chef , welcome to the program.

S2: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

S1: Are you feeling the pinch of inflation , too , as you plan your holiday menus ? Yes.

S2: You know , as you mentioned , inflation is something in the forefront , not only this time of the year , just the current state of things. I mean , we're in the double digit percentage increases on different categories of purchases that we've accrued this Thanksgiving.

S1: And what does that do to your plans.

S2: If something costs more expensive today than it did yesterday , that I have to react and make sure that the business is not taking a loss when we're trying to do something. So we are smarter with what ingredients we buy. How we process it. We're smarter. You know , in the sense of value awareness. In my business , that's the most important thing that we have to do , is understand the value. How do we not take advantage of the customer , still give them the value that they deserve and are paying for. But unfortunately , sometimes it has to. You know , when our cost goes up , everyone's cost goes up.

S1: Now , as I mentioned , the basic ingredients of a Thanksgiving dinner are on sale , actually in many places. So would your budget advice be to keep it simple this year ? Yes.

S2: You know , simplicity is , I think is what Thanksgiving is. I am a fan of not reinventing the wheel during that holiday. So pay attention to what you're buying. Get creative with what ingredients you're buying and how to cross , utilize and use them over again. And just make your dollar stretch more than ever. And I look at it this way If you get creative while you know everyone knew that this craze is going to happen , no one's gonna be able to get turkeys for the holiday season. You know , a couple of weeks ago , I get emails of people wanting to donate turkeys because they have an excess of them. So it's sometimes a scare gets a little bit too much. And then as we're seeing now , things are going to have to start getting discounted. But what does that do for the consumer is it allows you to save a little bit of money when you thought you were going to spend more.

S1:

S2: It's a great time of the year. Roots are less expensive than you know , per say , tomatoes during the summer. But I mean , we're talking yams , carrots , squash , every type of potato. You know , obviously , you're going to still have your green beans , you know , And a lot of people don't know that the frozen vegetables and frozen items and fruits and all of that stuff , that is the product that they take all that their farms to freeze and process. So they last the longest. They keep their color. So the product that people are freezing is still top notch. So just think about things a little bit differently when you have to deal with spending your own money.

S1: Maybe this is the year to stop getting that dish that nobody seems to touch on the table every year. You know what I mean ? Cramer there cranberries. Tell me about that.

S2: Yeah , I mean , you don't buy the dishes that you don't want , right ? You know , my mom is out here from the East Coast. She buys one Chana Cranberry , and I'm she's like , Oh , I got to get some more of this. And I'm like , Mom , no one likes it. Like , we don't need that at our dinner table. However , if the if the chef or the cook is cooking , they get to cook what they want. Right. Even if no one needs it. And that's my mom's argument. She's like , Well , I'm the one always cooking Thanksgiving , even though she's not this year , I'm always on cooking Thanksgiving. So I'm putting on the table what I want and I just laugh and say , you know , do what you want. But again , it goes back to smart buying and making sure , just like you said , people eat what you put on the table and to minimize leftovers because turkeys usually laughs. You know , they're usually in your fridge for almost up to four or five days before people are throwing them away or they're sick and tired of it.

S1:

S2: If it looks good , you eat it. You know what foods look like in our world or in chef world ? We relate things to one another. Oh , I'm. I'm going to make this dish because I got inspired off of X , Y , and Z. So I always tell people , like , if you like , if you've eaten something and you like what it look like , just try to replicate it. Now , don't be afraid to walk past the herb section at the grocery store and pick out some edible flowers or some really nice herb that you can actually eat that will add to your dish , you know , and follow the instructions. There's so much wide knowledge and range of information that you can find on the internet. You know how to. I make my stuffing a little better. Okay. You maybe rehydrate cranberries and a little bit of whiskey and sugar , and then you cook those on top. And I turn in this nice , calmly sugary looking , dried cranberry on top that people really don't ever have , you know , But , you know , get get ideas off the Internet , get creative with something that you've seen at a restaurant you went to before and you've liked and you want to replicate. And it doesn't have to be exact , but , you know , just look around. You get inspiration from everywhere or inspired from everywhere.

S1: Part of being a chef is being able to use parts of the animal that other people might discard and not even think to use.

S2: You know , we we have we own butcher shops , we own steakhouses , we own Italian high end all walks of life. On the restaurant side of things. And and the best thing that or some of the best tools and things that I can teach my team is to think outside the box. And how do we make sure that we're getting every dollar we can out of what product ? And not only that , we're just being that the no waste movement is still very true to us and to me. So , you know , for example , you roast turkey and you carve it. And I encourage people to also look on YouTube or whatever to learn how to carve a turkey correctly. You carve it and you're left with this carcass. You know , and a lot of people , especially in San Diego , we have grills , smokers , all of these type of things. And , you know , instead of throwing your your your your turkey carcass out with all this leftover meat , we would do something like , okay , we break down a bunch turkeys and we have all these extras. We'd smoked the turkey carcass and then make a stock out of it. And next , you know , and you know , a lot of people I remember when I was younger , I was so tired of my mom making different renditions of Turkey , how to use it. But if you're making some sort of smoked turkey soup , you know , that's really changing the flavors , you know , that kind of sets you apart , you know , And then or if you like , really shred the remaining that turkey down and you cook it down into a ragu and and toss it into a pasta with different vegetables. Now you're really changing it from just saying , okay , I'm going to eat a turkey mayonnaise and mustard sandwich the next three days , you know , or I'm going to do a hot turkey on white bread with gravy over top and still sides of mashed potatoes. You know , every week , if you can really change what the dynamic or the flavor , the main flavor component is to that turkey or whatever it is , whatever side , that or whatever dressing you're using it , it it'll go a lot further. And again , that goes to that creativity of just thinking. I know people in San Diego love the grill , they love to do different things , but throw the throw the throw the carcass on the grill , add some different flavor. Boil it down and then you have something completely different.

S1: That ragu sounds delicious.

S2: And the only reason is because potatoes can take on so many different personalities. You can you can flavor them classic style with just butter , salt , heavy cream , and you can add onions , you can add , you know , flavor , whatever , you know. And now we you know , you add something like black truffle peelings or , you know , really high quality white truffle oil , chives and , you know , grated parmesan cheese that is all readily available at every store. You can go you've just elevated your complete dinner on the table and kind of gives you a talking point and hopefully talking points when people leave your house , you know , and they're talking about your mashed potatoes just because they're just a bit different than what they've had in the past. And that's and I and I say and I say mashed potatoes just because that's what is on everybody's table , right ? Everyone always has them. But you can just change it by just adding a little something different.

S1: Excellent advice. I've really liked all of your suggestions , Chef. Thank you so much. I've been speaking with Brad Wise , executive chef and owner of Trust Restaurant Group. I know you'll be working very hard towards Thanksgiving , but I hope you can enjoy it , too.

S2: Thank you. You as well , Marie.

S4: America has championed itself as a light of liberty in the world while simultaneously downplaying the dark history of its foundation. Is it possible to hold on to American traditions like Thanksgiving while being honest about the harm American forebears did to the Native people already here ? Joining me to discuss this is Cal State San Marcos , American Indian studies professor and director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center. Jolly Proudfoot. Joely , welcome.

S3: Thank you for having me.

S4:

S3: And , you know , American Indians are often asked , do you celebrate Thanksgiving ? And the assumption is that there's this mythical idea of what Thanksgiving means , Right ? This Americanized version of celebratory two cultures coming together to overindulge in and feast on the foods of the day. And it really limits our understanding of history to just a myth of American nationalism , rather than really speaking to native peoples about what's important to them in terms of traditional concepts of Thanksgiving , like reciprocity and food harvests and what have you. So if we're talking about American Thanksgiving , your Hallmark Thanksgiving , that's really about the mythology of American nationalism.

S4:

S3: And it wasn't peaceful. I think the facts show that there were serious conflict and actual genocide that happened as a result of these invaders who came , these settlers who came from overseas. They didn't come for religious freedom. That's another misnomer. They came for the land. They came for the land. And they came under the guise , the doctrine of discovery , these European concepts of the doctrine of discovery , which essentially allowed them to claim the land and assumed title of the land. So I think that's a big myth that they came for freedom. Right. And that using the term pilgrim on a pilgrimage of some sort , they came for the land.

S4:

S3: But of course it does. History stories , films have created a national mythology which in turns , promotes American nationalism. So we invent history and create heroes that strengthen this national identity rather than deal with the truth. And I think it's important for Americans to deal with the truth. I don't think we have to do it when children are , you know , four and five years old. But then we shouldn't be dressing them up as pilgrims and Indians in kindergarten in public schools and perpetuating the myth. We should have a serious conversation about land , about genocide. We can have a serious conversation about land management , about reciprocity , about harvesting , about peaceful coexistence. But I think what we need to do is have an honest conversation.

S4: And American Indian culture is not a monolith.

S3: And , you know , they have their harvest celebrations. They have a variety of harvest celebrations which really promote kind of the reciprocity with their harvest and winter storage and forgiveness and spiritual purity. Many of the southeastern tribes also have what are called green corn ceremonies that look to renewal and forgiveness and fasting and singing and issues such as that. The Santa Anas Chumash have the Who tash ceremony , which looks at the acorn harvest. And , you know , your typical Native American families come together to celebrate their families , their resiliency , their thankfulness for the. So there's a variety of ways in which tribes celebrate in the fall and many of our tribal communities because of fall harvest , because of , you know , hey , green down for the winter and honoring the land. There are songs and practices of reciprocity that coincide with the fall.

S4:

S3: I think we can begin to teach the true history of Thanksgiving , not the Thanksgiving myths shared in our society and education system. I think that we can highlight negative perspectives about the history of Thanksgiving. We shouldn't appropriate native culture and traditions to re-enact a mythical idea of Thanksgiving. We shouldn't appropriate native cultures and traditions to decorate our classrooms or tables for Thanksgiving. Or ideas mythical ideas of Thanksgiving. And we should advocate ultimately for truth telling when encountering conversations about the myth of Thanksgiving. And I think if we want to be thankful and focus on that thing , we should be really thankful to the original stewards of this land by honoring , recognizing , championing their causes and making sure that Native people today are receiving all the support and resources that they need. We have to stop taking and start giving back to the original inhabitants of the land. And one way is by honoring who they are today and making sure that we're dealing with native people as they want to be dealt with. And that really does include recognizing them and their contributions to what we now call America.

S4:

S3: There was this myth of an untamed wilderness. But under the stewardship of California Indians , California has always been a well-tended garden. And so the land was being managed and being used in a way that offered a spirit of reciprocity , caretaking and stewardship. And I think we need to go back to those concepts , especially as we deal with the land and the ecology. We're all going to be better for it. And I think if we can do that , we all might have a chance of surviving alongside of this beautiful place that we call home.

S4: You touched on this earlier. Many indigenous tribes hold gratitude and reciprocity as a virtue. Can you talk about the ways that those particular values are honored 365 days a year ? Yeah.

S3: I mean , harvest traditions are one thing , right ? Because of the time of year that they happen. But having gratitude for the land , being a good steward of the land and all things in it and on it are things that we need to continue to practice. Take what you need and make sure you make space before you take space. You know , making sure that we honor having the clean water and that we protect all living things , the ecology and the animals on there not being in dominion over these things , but in in good relationship with one another. All living things and still being a good relative year round is one way to be thankful year round.

S4: I've been speaking with Joey Proudfoot , the director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and Cal State San Marcos. Professor. Joey , thank you. And as always , we appreciate your insight.

S3: Thank you. You're very welcome.

S4: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. As we prepare to give thanks this year , we want to explore more about gratitude , both what it means and how it affects our lives. Joining me to talk more about it is Michael McCullough , UC San Diego professor of psychology and director of the Center for Research on Experimental Evolutionary Psychology. He spent a lot of time researching gratitude and its impact on our well-being. Michael , welcome to Midday Edition.

S5: Thank you , Jane. I'm glad to be with you.

S4: And one study you co-authored , you wrote that gratitude defies easy classification.

S5: Grief as a function. Sadness has a function. And the function of gratitude seems to be to cause you to recognize and then acknowledge when someone has provided a benefit for you , done something nice for you and good for you. That was out of the realm of what you were expecting. So it's a surprisingly big favor or benefit that they've they've given you gratitude , responds to kind of a delightful surprise that somebody cares for you more than you thought they did.

S4: So is gratitude good for you ? I mean , what does the research tell us ? Sure.

S5: Yeah. Well , when we when we started studying gratitude about 25 years ago , there was really nothing to draw on. I mean , it was the Wild West. There was no no psychological research on it at all. So what my colleagues and I decided to do was simply have people count their blessings on a daily basis. And they did this for a course of two weeks or once a week for ten weeks. And what we found is that when people engaged in this behavior on a daily basis , they ended up reporting better emotional well-being. They they reported that they had more positive emotions on a daily basis , that they had less negative emotion , that they were more satisfied with their lives overall , and even that they had more energy to kind of get through their day with with zest. So it really to our eye and a number of experiments since then have confirmed it that gratitude is really good for psychological well-being , particularly on that positive side of of joy and happiness and energy.

S4:

S5: We just had people once a day or once a week write down 3 to 5 things that they were grateful for. And these were things like that. God has given me another day that I'm alive , that my mother's cancer has gone into remission , you know , all the way to , you know , extremely silly things. Like , I was glad to find a parking spot today , or I'm really grateful to the Rolling Stones. But when they took this opportunity to do that , as easy as it was , we saw these boosts in well-being. So that's one really easy thing you can do , is just write down your blessings. Another thing you can do that appears to be even more powerful is to write a letter to somebody that has done something for you that you know , is one of these life changing things that was a mentor or provided a benefit for you that was really valuable and maybe even costly for them to provide. Whether or not you actually send that letter to the person. The very act of writing it down on paper and really thinking it through boosts gratitude. But , you know , the most powerful thing we found that other investigators have found is that you pay a visit to somebody who's done one of these things for you in the past and you actually express it face to face. The research shows that you are really going to get tremendous benefit both in terms of well-being and meaning of life and really feeling. That relationship has been strengthened in a really deep way by just expressing it face to face to this person who might not have even noticed that you might not even be aware of how much that favor or that you know , that that thing they did for you actually meant for you. Hmm.

S4: Hmm. You know , relationships are really at the heart of Thanksgiving.

S5: One of the things that happens in relation to long standing relationships is we begin to take each other for granted. You know , that's got a negative connotation. Obviously. But if you kind of look at what those words mean , what it means is you've come to expect a certain type of treatment from that person and it could be a really good treatment. You know , you've come to expect that they're going to help you with your goals. They're , you know , there's things they're doing for you at work or at home or in the neighborhood. But you assume now that these things are the new normal. And when they when things become the new normal , we stop feeling grateful about them. That's just the new baseline we have. So by taking a moment to really process , you know , the benefits you're getting from people like that , it can make you aware in a new way that you know how much they care about you. And what that appears to do then , Jade , is it makes you want to reach out to them and express it to them. Let them know how much you appreciate them or appreciate what they're doing for you and letting them know that you don't actually take it for granted. When you do these things , when you express that gratitude , it strengthens the relationship that I'm grateful to you and y causes that person to then feel even closer or more committed to you and more grateful to you. So you get this virtuous spiral where the expression of gratitude leads to more gratitude , which leads the expression of gratitude and all in the service of really making that a stronger relationship.

S4:

S5: The answer is we don't know. Almost all of the research that's been conducted on gratitude to date has been conducted in Western Europe or in the Americas or in the other English speaking countries , New Zealand , Australia and so forth. So our picture of gratitude right now is a sort of very Western notion of what gratitude is , you know , how it changes us , how it affects relationships , even sort of how we would define it. So that's stuff we need to know because we actually don't know. We don't even know if gratitude is a universally experienced emotion. So there's so much still we really need to understand about it's cross-cultural diversity.

S4: In your most recent book , The Kindness of Strangers , you trace how humans came to develop moral traits like kindness. Tell us about that.

S5: Well , we came into the world courtesy of evolution , with a certain sort of suite of instincts to care about other people. But those types of people we care about tend to be family relationship partners , and they tend to be friends , and they tend to be people that by maintaining a relationship with them , we get stuff out of it in turn. So there is kind of this basic software we have up in our heads that cause us to be kind to certain classes of people. What we don't have is hardware that causes you to be sort of naturally motivated to care about the welfare of strangers , people that you know are in parts of the world that you may have never visited and certainly people you'll never meet for that. What we've relied on over the past many thousands of years is the influence of ideas. The idea of the golden rule or the idea of the the notion that we're no more important in the eyes of the universe than anyone else , or the notion that when we care for the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies , we actually strengthen society in such a way that we're better off when we reduce people's needs and misery at the very lower end , it tends to make society stronger overall.

S4: And coming up , we'll be hearing from some of our listeners about what they're grateful for this year.

S5: The first is , is family and friends , which is an answer I think most people would come up with. For me , that answer is colored by the fact that I am getting to spend time with those people face to face with less worry about COVID infections than in the past few years. I feel like that's kind of a specter that's not hanging over our celebrations this year. Obviously , there's still reasons to be vigilant , but there's just kind of a new freedom. I feel a new enthusiasm for for tomorrow that I haven't felt in a while.

S4: Indeed , I have been speaking with Michael McCullough. He is a professor of psychology at UC San Diego and author of the book The Kindness of Strangers How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving to you.

S5: Thank you , Jane. You , too. Happy Thanksgiving.

S4: From a simple thank you to writing a list of the things you're grateful for. Gratitude is powerful and uplifting to our well-being.

S1: And whether you spend all day cooking , watching football , or something entirely different. The Thanksgiving tradition of sharing a meal with family and friends is also a time when many of us reflect on what we're thankful for.

S4: Yeah , we do , Maureen. I mean , this third pandemic Thanksgiving , I'm grateful for , you know , every milestone my daughter meets my family and friends who are like family. Even neighbors who create a supportive village.

S1: Jane , I think , you know , this has been a bit of a difficult year for me and my family. And in years like this , thankfulness gets really basic. I'm grateful for the people in my life and very grateful for just being together with family and friends this Thanksgiving. And one more thing. This year and every year , I'm so grateful for the people who take time out of their day to listen to us. You know , people are so busy. They've got so many other options , things to do , to watch , to listen to. I think it's an honor to have people share their day with us. And I know that we say it every day , Jane , But truly , thank you all for listening.

S4: And I echo that , Maureen. It is an honor. And we're so thankful that people trust us to tell their stories and to inspire them and give them something to really think about every day. And we asked you , our audience , to share what or who you're grateful for this year. And here's some of what you told us.

S6: I'm Steve Savage. I'm a sort of semi-retired agricultural scientist , and I live up in northern San Diego County. Thank you. Farmers and ranchers , thank you for what you do and the risks you take and the innovations that you spin into your business. And just for hanging in there and giving us such a great food supply in the U.S. in particular. We enjoy a pretty amazing food supply. The dollars per capita that we spend on that compared to our average income is , you know , kind of one of the best scenarios in the entire world. But that doesn't just happen. And the people who produce the food , actually , they're in a really tough business. And I think they need to be appreciated for that. Sometimes you hear people talk about old corporate agriculture and it's like , well , no , no corporation did this , right. Mind would go into agriculture. It's a very high risk , low reward business , only likely to get more risky with climate change. And so I just I'm always kind of amazed that there are people that still want to do this business and and just hoping that they are able to continue to do that.

S3: Hi , my name is Mary Ellen Smith , and I live in Rancho San Diego. This Thanksgiving , I feel really grateful that my husband's still alive because he he has survived brain cancer for the past five years. And it was a very , very stressful time. And every year that passes , we are very , very thankful that we still have him with him. And fortunately , this past few days , we found out that he has a tiny spot again. So we're we're going to start again to see if we can beat this. But my husband is a very optimistic man , and that is one of the things that our primary care physician has. Attributed.

S6: Attributed.

S1: To his survival.

S3: I'm really thankful that I still have him with us. I love him very much. He's my best friend and we've been together since 1979. And I think. He's.

S6: He's.

S3: He's my soulmate. Well , I'm Lin , and I live in Oceanside.

S1: Well , it's not just Thanksgiving.

S3: It's also I am grateful. Every day.

S1: I wake up and I try to say three.

S3: Things I'm grateful for for that day. You know , my my daughter is is my number one. And there is not a day that goes by that we do not speak or text where no matter where we are in the world. And my sister is dear to me.

S1: I love my family. I love my friends , very close friends.

S3: We've been friends since high school , 1964. We graduated. And that's what I'm grateful for. I mean , nothing is perfect in life. There are always challenges no matter what. I study the Stoics and I don't know , you know , people are familiar with the Stoics , but I. Brought.

S1: Brought.

S3: That philosophy into my life recently. And the one of the quotes is the obstacle is the way. And it is so true when you stop and think about it , because there's always a way through the obstacle some way somehow over under a round through , there's always an answer on the other side. And that's my motto. You know , I just I live by it and I'm very grateful for every single day that I have.

S1: And we are grateful to Maria Elena , Lynn , Steve and others in our audience who shared what you're thankful for this year. And Jade , I'm grateful for you.

S4: Maureen , and I am so grateful for you too , and all of our colleagues here on Midday Edition Harrison , Andrew , Rebecca , Adrian , Luca , Megan and Nico. So grateful to you all. And happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

S1: Happy Thanksgiving. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. The Thanksgiving holiday sparks different memories for each of us. We asked people in the KPBS newsroom to share their traditions , favorite foods and recipes. Here's what they said.

S6: Hi , my name is Ben. I work in the KPBS newsroom. I like to go and visit the beach every Thanksgiving. Most Thanksgivings , I head down there kind of around midday to to relax and soak up the atmosphere. It's usually very low key. Not a lot of crowds , not a lot of traffic. You'll see a mix of locals and tourists just sort of hanging out and doing their thing. Usually I just draw the boardwalk between Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Sometimes you'll even see a big banquet table set up for people who , I'm guessing just eat their Thanksgiving dinner right there out on the sand. It's kind of unique and definitely San Diego. Way to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

S7: Hi , everyone. I'm Lynn Mahaffey and I'm the producer for the KPBS San Diego News Now podcast. The holiday season is my favorite time of year , and one thing I love to always do around this time is make sure our home is filled with holiday scents. The cozy holiday sense just bring up so many memories for me. So one tradition that I've been doing every year , which has been a hit in our home , is creating my own holiday scent. So what I do every Thanksgiving is I boil water in a stockpot and then I add fresh cinnamon sticks , fresh sliced oranges , fresh cranberries , and a teaspoon of vanilla extract into the pot of boiling water. And that just creates a cozy Thanksgiving aroma throughout the house. I leave the pot on the stove and you can smell the aroma throughout the entire house. And it never fails. The first thing our guests say when they arrive for Thanksgiving lunch is it smells so good in here. So I wanted to share this tradition with you all so that you can try it , too. Happy Thanksgiving. Hi.

S6: Hi. This is Jacob Eyre. I'm a reporter at KPBS. And for Thanksgiving , a tradition that I have is with my family. We always make homemade herb rolls. They are one of the best parts. They smell so good while they're cooking. And of course , they taste amazing. And they're even great for the day after when you can make your turkey cranberry sandwiches. Hi , I'm John Carroll , KPBS anchor and reporter. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. Certain family friends always have Thanksgiving dinner at our house , so that's always a really good time. Food wise , I'm not exactly what you'd call adept in the kitchen , but fortunately , my youngest brother , Paul , is a chef. He makes a number of items for the big meal , but one I can always count on and love a lot is his mashed potatoes. Not quite sure how he does it , but he blends this and that in with the potatoes to make them the most airy , tasty carbohydrates a human could ever want to taste. That is a big part of what makes Thanksgiving special for me. Hello , this is Terence Shepherd. I'm news director of KPBS. One of my favorite holiday dishes is four Kentucky bourbon sweet potatoes. Now , the bourbon needs to be from Kentucky , as I am. Otherwise , this complete exercise is bogus. So I need three and a half pounds of yams or sweet potatoes , a cup of brown sugar , a third of a cup of bourbon , depending on your tastes. Half a cup of butter , half teaspoon of vanilla. And two cups of mini marshmallows. Some people skip the mini marshmallows because it makes the dish too sweet. That's your prerogative. Turn the oven on to 350. Cook the potatoes for 6 minutes in your microwave. Then you want to drain the liquid from the potatoes. Add in the sugar , bourbon , butter and vanilla. The mash it all up , and you can even put it in the blender to make it smooth and creamy. Put the mixture into a two quart baking dish but marshmallows on top and then bake it for about 25 minutes , maybe 30 minutes or until the marshmallows are a golden brown color. And voila , you got a fantastic holiday dish appropriate for every single meal.

S3: Hi , I'm Laura McCaffrey.

S1: I'm one of the Web producers at KPBS. So my family and I , we used to do the traditional Thanksgiving dinner thing with turkey. In my case , Tofurky , mashed potatoes , stuffing , etc.. But since losing both of our parents , my brother and sister and I , we've started celebrating in ways that don't remind us of how we used to celebrate of our parents. So last year we got sushi. This year we're going to get Chinese food. But. We're still celebrating together , which I don't think that's ever going to change. Hi , I'm Beth ACCOMANDO , KPBS arts and culture reporter.

S3: And one of my annual traditions is doing hobbit meals.

S1: This is when I cook.

S3: All seven of the Hobbit meals. And then we watch the extended cuts of all three Lord of the Rings films. And I'll tell you , it's not easy to eat like a hobbit. You basically have to be.

S1: Eating every 2 hours.

S3: But I found a middle Earth cookbook online , and a lot of these recipes work really well for Thanksgiving. One of my favorites is balanced beef. So this is where you take a tri tip and you marinate it for at least 24 hours. 2 to 3 days is even better. It takes a full bottle of red wine as well as apple cider and white onions and herbs and spices. Then you cook it for 3 hours and you can even cook it outside on a barbecue so that you can keep your oven open to still do a turkey. So hobbit meals were great Any time. And then you also have the Tolkien quote , which is , if more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold.

S1: It would be a.

S3: Merrier world. So make your Thanksgiving a little merrier.

S1: This is Tanya Thorne , and I cover North County for KPBS News. Now that I have three little ones , I am trying to start more traditions in my home when the holidays come around. So I started making an offering for the other Los Muertos. And now that we reached Thanksgiving , I am starting to make new laws with them , which is like a crispy fried.

S3: Sweet dessert and a lot of Mexican households.

S1: But I actually found some cute molds on Amazon and the kids just look forward to making them and adding the sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top. So that's something that I look forward to making with my kids every year. I hope I can keep it in my family for many years to come and maybe it's something they will pick up when they have a family.

S3: Of their own.

S6: My name is Harrison Patino and I'm a producer for Midday Edition this year. I'm just really thankful to be seeing my family and I'm especially thankful to be meeting the newest member of my family , which would be my very tiny niece , Sofia. Turkey and football and all that stuff. It's great and all , but seeing family after being away from them for most of the year is when I really start to count my blessings. And at the end of the day , that's just what I'm most thankful for. Hi , my name is Andrew Bracken and I'm a producer with KPBS. One thing I know I'm looking forward to is tonight my kids and I will be baking some pies for Thanksgiving. So that's always a treat. And the other thing is it'll be nice to actually not be forced to watch football , but also to have the option to watch some World Cup soccer tomorrow. Looking forward to that. That's a rare treat. Thanks and happy Thanksgiving.

S7: Hi , it's Megan Burke. I'm a senior producer for Midday Edition. Our annual tradition is sharing what we are thankful for. More often than not , it's not a what , but a who. And. And this year I am especially grateful for my mother in law. She's the backbone of our little family. And watching my daughters play Make-Believe with their wildly imaginative grandmother is just pure joy for me. Not to mention hysterical. I hope everybody listening has a very happy Thanksgiving.

How to enjoy this inflation Thanksgiving, without busting your budget. Chef Brad Wise talks turkey, side dishes and gives some Thanksgiving meal budgeting tips. Then, what are some of the biggest fallacies about Thanksgiving? We explore the true history of Thanksgiving with a scholar of American Indian studies. Next, from a simple thank you to writing a list of the things you are grateful for, gratitude is powerful and uplifting to our wellbeing. And, we’ll hear what you, our listeners, are thankful for this year. Finally, the holiday traditions from some of the people here at KPBS.