thanksgiving

Google Trends

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and Austinites are either busy hitting the road or getting ready to stuff the turkey. This year, however, we have some new insight into how we're doing all of this holiday planning: Google has released the most searched-for terms on Google Maps around Thanksgiving last year. Among the top three searches for today, Thanksgiving Eve, are "pie shop" and "liquor store." 

It makes sense, since you need booze and pie to make it through the holiday. But also in that top three? "Ham Shop."

Ham shop?

flickr.com/matthewholland

Black Friday isn’t quite what it used to be. More stores are trying to get the jump on others by opening not only on Thanksgiving, but earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving.

This year, there may have been even more incentive to open early. That’s because there’s less time than usual before it’s time to start the pre-Christmas sales.

You might have heard that a quirk of the calendars had Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah on the same day this year. That once-in-several-lifetimes coincidence is a combination of a couple of things: an early Hanukkah and a Turkey Day that was as late in the calendar as it could be.

flickr.com/dsebourn

Even if you’re staying off the highway this Thanksgiving, your plans might still be affected by holiday schedules and street closures.

Chief among them: the 23rd Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot takes place downtown Thursday morning, with many roads  blocked off until noon. The course, which begins at Auditorium Shores, features a five-mile run, a one-mile walk, and a Stepping Stone School Kids’ K. (See a map of related street closures below.)

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Getting out of town this weekend to join relatives for Thanksgiving?

Plan wisely – it’s one of the busiest travel days of the year. According to a report by AAA Texas, 3.4 million other Texans will also be traveling for the holidays.

Most travelers will leave for their trip on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and return on Sunday, Dec. 1. For those going out of town, 3.1 million plan to travel by car.

flickr.com/silvershaina

As you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, consider this: how much energy it takes to produce and consume that food.

Throughout the year, transportation is responsible for 28 percent of our energy consumption. And there's a non-trivial bump right around Thanksgiving time. According to USA Today, more than 25 million people in the United States are expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

flickr.com/tuchodi

As Thanksgiving nears, attention turns to the kitchen. And as families across the country prepare their family meals for Thursday, a debate: whether to stuff the bird.

Field & Feast is a weekly feature airing Saturdays on KUT and KUTX. On the Field & Feast website, Cecilia Nasti wades into the stuffing debate and offers the following advice on how to avert dressing disasters and other Thanksgiving goofs.

What’s turkey without stuffing? That wonderful bready filling, saturated with the savory juices of your holiday bird is heaven – that is, until it makes someone sick. 

The challenges of cooking a stuffed bird is getting the stuffing to reach the food safe temperature of the cooked turkey: 165° F.

Gray Thursday may become the new Black Friday. Many big retailers have moved up the beginning of their shopping season, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Thursday evening.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling pressure from online retailers, which have given consumers an earlier shopping option.

"In the past, online retailers have had Thanksgiving Day all to themselves," says Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with the NPD Group. "And what that means is by the time Black Friday comes around, a lot of consumers have already spent a bunch of money."

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The H-E-B Feast of Sharing returned to the The Palmer Events Center last night.

Nearly 14,000 meals were cooked and served last night for the annual free Thanksgiving meal. Throughout the evening, the number of people attending the feast was steady and flowing.

H-E-B's Tamra Jones said that "without the amazing help of the community and all the volunteers, this event wouldn't be the same. You feel the community coming together to make this happen."

Ben Philpott, KUT News

When John Aielli says jump, we at KUT say "how high?" So after tasting a homemade sweet potato pie that had been brought in to share with KUT staff – and loving it – he asked for the recipe to share with his listeners.

So here you go Austin: the sweet potato pie made by the late Bettie Winn Reeves Harris of Saint Jo, Texas.

Update at 2:32 p.m. ET:

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama clearly related his own redemption this month to the turkeys he pardoned.

"They say that life is all about second chances, and this November I could not agree more," he said at the pardon ceremony. "The American people have spoken, and these birds are moving forward."

KUT News

No holiday is more closely associated with food than Thanksgiving. But many Central Texans will be thankful just to get enough to eat this holiday season.

Several free holiday meals are being offered this Thanksgiving holiday. 

Photo by Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News

Three-hundred students gathered at the Capital Area of Food Bank today to drop off cans of food and warm coats as part of A Day of Service.  They spent the morning unloading nonperishable food items out of portable storage sheds that had been installed on their campuses last month.

The event was organized by A Legacy of Giving, a philanthropy organization on 33 campuses in Austin.

“I think it’s important that they see that it doesn’t matter what your socio economic is, what your faith based is, that kids as kids can make a huge difference when they gather together with a common goal," said the organization's executive director Linda Brucker.

Photo by KUT News

The Palmer Events Center will host a massive cooking effort today. H-E-B employees and volunteers expect to serve over 13,000 people there for the 21st annual Feast of Sharing.

Each plate is free of charge and includes traditional Thanksgiving dishes, including cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and turkey.

While on site at the event, coordinators said volunteers were still welcome. Just show up and be ready to serve a lot of food.

Here's the event, by the numbers: 

bonfire
Image courtesy cobalt123 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/

A burn ban stopped Aggies from setting fire to their massive bonfire yesterday evening, and now dry conditions have prompted Williamson County to issue a burn ban of its own.

The ban was issued today at 1:30 and will remain in effect until further notice. It applies to any fire outside of an "enclosure" that contains all the flames and sparks. The ban can be enforced by any police officer.

Raw turkey
Image courtesy Aunt Owwee http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/

In case you were considering deep frying your turkey tomorrow, here's some advice from the Austin Fire Department on how to avoid burning your house down.

Image courtesy Monica's Dad http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualsugar/

Wondering when to put out your trash or if you need to plug a parking meter? Here's a look at what's open and closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Garbage, recycling, and yard trimmings pickup will be pushed back one day for customers who have service on Thursday or Friday. That means Thursday customers will get their trash collected on Friday and Friday customers will receive pickup service on Saturday.

Recreation centers, cultural centers, senior centers, and the Dougherty Arts Center, will be closed Thursday and Friday.

map
Image courtesy Google Maps

One of the largest charitable Thanksgiving efforts in town starts tomorrow morning in the parking lot of Bikini's off I-35.  Operation Turkey started in Austin in 2000 and has since expanded to 29 cities across the country.

Photo by Gretch Sanders for KUT

Many Austinites will be celebrating Thanksgiving a little early today.  The 21st annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing is from 4- 8 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  Santa himself is rumored to be making an appearance.

Thousands are expected to attend.  So what does it take to feed that many people? H-E-B says there will be:

Thanksgiving meal
Image courtesy KK+ http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk/

If you haven't done it, you've seen it on TV: People serving Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate. Many families make it a holiday tradition. But if you don't know what you're doing, you might show up to a charity already overwhelmed with volunteers, while other organizations are struggling to find last-minute help.

One of the hottest tickets in town is the Salvation Army Social Service Center on East 8th Street. Their spokesman Bob Cox says they were booked solid by Labor Day.