Monday, November 28, 2011

Respect the Bird Thanks YOU!

Doug Matthews Respecting the Bird
Even after Thanksgiving we’re still giving
thanks! We’re thankful for all 4,380+ of you who pledged to Respect the Bird. Thankful for everyone who shared the Respect the Bird blog, liked Respect the Bird’s Facebook page, commented about Respect the Bird in your own blog, changed your Allrecipes or Facebook profile picture to Respect the Bird, and shared what you were thankful to have in your lives with your family on Thanksgiving Day. And you didn’t rush out to grab a holiday deal until after Thanksgiving was complete (and the dishes washed). Your support and participation made the first year of Respect the Bird a huge success!

Not only did Respect the Bird receive news coverage coast-to-coast, the campaign inspired thousands of people to stop and savor Thanksgiving, taking the day to enjoy existing treasures big and small in their lives during this season of gratitude. That’s just what Doug Matthews had in mind a year ago with his original blog post that launched Respect the Bird.

With Thanksgiving 2011 now a delicious memory and Jingle Bells rightfully playing on the radio, may you continue to acknowledge what’s good and true in our lives throughout the coming year!

Happy Holidays,

Respect the Bird Team

P.S. We're hoping to come back and do this again next year and would love to hear your ideas for how we can continue to grow this movement! Please share them in the comments section or email them to us at respectthebird@gmail.com. Thanks!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks for “Bake Friday”

Give Thanks for “Bake Friday”
By Jan Hazard

Last year Doug Mathews, an Allrecipes blogger, wrote that we should put more thanks back in Thanksgiving with his post Respect the Bird! We agree. Nan and I look to this holiday when family and friends gather—many for the long weekend—as a way to create new bonds and memories. We jump-start for the busy December ahead with a “Bake Friday” group activity. Making cookies and breads together on Friday or through the weekend generates oodles of fun and laughter. We make enough cookies so that everyone can divvy up some to take home. To ensure that the assembly-fashion event goes off without a hitch, we gather all the ingredients and equipment needed ahead of time. What you don’t have, you can ask others to bring with them. Here are 10 tools we love because they help make baking holiday cookies just that much easier. (You can find out about lots of other kitchen gadgets we adore on our blog: KitchenGadgetGals.)

1. Cookie sheets, at least 2 or 3. Shiny, durable pans without edges are best for even baking. A large classic (16x14 inch) aluminum pan by Nordic Ware, suggested retail $12.50 (www.buynordicware.com), or a Regal Ware American Kitchen (12x15 inch) stainless steel cookie sheet, suggested retail $18 @ biz.regalware.com will hold a dozen medium-sized cookies.

2. Silicone spatula: The joy of  high-heat-resistant silicone is that it can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks. Available in variety of sizes and shapes and whimsical designs. Williams Sonoma, $10 to $30 @ williamssonoma.com

3. BeaterBlade: If you have a KitchenAid or Cuisinart stand mixer, replace your beater with this unique blade that is made for all KitchenAid and Cuisinart models. The spatula-like edge on the beater helps scrape the bowl as it mixes. Retails for $25. Available at amazon.com

4. Kuhn-Rikon Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Set:  Five squeeze bottles, two tall and three small with 5 stainless steel decorating tips plus frosting spatula are easy to fill and use to decorate all those holiday cookies. Dishwasher safe- upper level. Retails for $20 available at factorydirect2you.com or amazon.com

5. Ice Cream Scoops, 2 or 3 sizes. For drop cookies, use a scoop that measures 1 tablespoon for speedily scooping even-sized balls of dough onto cookie sheets. OXO ice cream and cookie scoops have ergonomic handles for easy squeezing. Retail for $20 each. Available at oxo.com or amazon.com

6. Parchment Paper: Great nonstick solution for lining cookie sheets when baking delicate cookies, such as lace cookies, or lining baking pans for cakes. Available in supermarkets. Reynolds parchment $3 to $4 a box.

7. CDN Touch Screen Timer and Clock (TSM2): Always good to have a a timer handy for keeping track of all the cookie chilling and baking. The touch screen timer by CDN for those who embrace the touch screen technology counts 100 hours up or down. Retails for $15. Available at www.chefsresource.com

8. Oxo Oven Thermometer: For perfectly browned cookies, be sure your oven temp is on target. A round glass face on this thermometer lets light shine through for easy reading even  in the back of the oven. It has large numbers with a non-slip silicone frame or ring for easy handling. It hangs or stands on the oven rack and is calibrated for both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Retails for $15; available at oxo.com or amazon.com

9. Microplane Classic Zester/Grater: For zesting citrus peel, grating fresh ginger or chocolate, this ultrasharp, rasp-looking tool is the way to go. Retails for $13. Available at amazon.com 

10. Cookie cutters: Wilton offers a large variety of shapes and sizes of cookie cutters. The comfort grip metal cutters are ideal for young hands to help stamp out cookies in  many of the iconic holiday shapes: snowflake, candy cane, gingerbread boy, star, snowman, tree to name some shapes. Retail for $3.20 each at wilton.com   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Respect the Bird Love – 3.0

We've had some great grassroots appreciation for Thanksgiving and Respect the Bird! Check out the newest amazing quotes, comments, and media stories from Thanksgiving fans about Respect the Bird!

News Coverage
CBS The Early Show - Black Friday starts on Black Thursday now. We've had a lot of folks
who are upset about  that. You can like Respect the Bird!

WHEC NBC - Turkey day is just a few days away and 66 percent of hosts say they plan on making the meal from scratch.

Washington Post with video - Stores that once closed their doors in deference to the holiday are now touting Turkey Day deals starting as early as 9 p.m.

SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle - How do you relax when you know you're heading out the door at 10 p.m. or so to go to work, and work all night long?" she said.

Minneapolis Star Tribune - Experts and even some retailers admit that the tactics don't really boost sales and profits the way television footage and newspaper photos of mobs bursting through doors suggest they do. The over-the-top retail frenzy is more defensive in nature.

Chicago Parent - From that came respectthebird.com, where over 3,000 people so far have taken a pledge to not shop or decorate their houses or buy a tree or indulge in any other Christmas tradition until Thanksgiving is over.

TechFlash - Some shoppers told The New York Times that they’re fed up with waking up early to find stores full of people and out-of-stock on the best deals.

Mother Nature Network - It's only when things creep earlier does the whole season whip into a frenzy that somehow can't be contained in one month.

OnlyKent - You might want to begin looking at some Thanksgiving recipes now and we have rounded up some of the very best Thanksgiving recipe selections to help make your day go smoothly.

From Bloggers
MomTrends - After all, from the very beginning Thanksgiving has been an American holiday about being thankful about what we have—the big things in life, family, friendships, memories, good health—not about crazy stuff on sale.

An Open Cookbook - So I am dedicating this posting to the Respect The Bird campaign by making a list of what I am thankful for....and also giving you a nice light soup recipe you can make this week before T-day.

Ecofrugal Living - However, Christmas creep is a particularly egregious example because it means that another perfectly good holiday, Thanksgiving, gets glossed over as if it didn't count.

KirstinPotPie - Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as anybody, but this year I have made a pledge to Respect the Bird.

Behind The Shades - I have never gone shopping on Black Friday and I don’t intend to go shopping on “Black Thursday” this year either (looking at you Toys R Us & Walmart).

The 7up Experience - It's November. A month with 2 special Holidays....Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving. Both separate but both meaningful and honorable days for the month of November.

The Hidden Foodie in Me - I can't believe it has already been a year since last Thanksgiving. Being this close to it has made me reflect on what was happening then.

Lost jobs and the art of shopping - Come on folks..... the beauty of the Thanksgiving holiday is that the only expectation is a good family/friends meal with no pressure to buy that special someone a special something with our hard earned money/credit cards.

Never Perfect, Always Good I've never been one to battle the crowds at midnight on Thanksgiving to get "the best deals" on items that won't be remembered the next year.

The Daily GourmetThere's no reason to not take the pledge - if you're disgusted with Christmas stuff appearing as early as September, if you're annoyed with the Christmas songs playing just days after Halloween, if you've had the unfortunate experience to work Thanksgiving in the past, if you detest Black Friday etc., take the pledge!

Pointless Ramblings of a Verbose Cook w/a Loooong List of Food AversionsEven though I don't personally really care for Thanksgiving, I DO think we, as a society, need to SLOW down and not rush right from Halloween to Christmas.

Magically DeliciousGratitude is a really freeing thing.

Hunter/Gatherer - Celebrating my grandparent's wedding anniversary (this year is Number 60!) learning more about the people I love, having everyone to my house for one day, sitting back and watching four generations come together with no material things—no gifts, no shopping, no expectations.

Linda’s boring ramblings - I usually spend time with some church people or volunteering this time of year. Good for the soul.

Another Day in the Life of Lisa - Thanksgiving is a terrific holiday - one of families and friends and remembering what we are thankful for...before the gluttony of the holiday season makes us all greedy and whiny.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

The feast of feasts is finally here! How will you be spending the day? Do you have any special traditions? Share them with others in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Make Thanksgiving dinner even more memorable with these great conversation starters.

-- Ask everyone to describe a Thanksgiving slip-up that had everyone laughing. Maybe one year dad forgot to serve the stuffing in the bird?
-- Ask mom or dad how she/he learned to cook a turkey, and when was the first time. Were the in-laws coming to dinner?
-- Ask grandparents or aunts and uncles to describe a Thanksgiving from their childhood.
-- Ask everyone what was the strangest dish they ever encountered at Thanksgiving dinner.
-- Ask everyone to go around and share their favorite family memory.

What's the star of the show today? The Bird of course...so get it just right with these tips and tricks!

Turkey Tips: How to Cook and Carve the Thanksgiving Bird

It’s time to think about cooking the star of the show: The turkey! Everyone has their favorite cooking method. From brining to grilling, or even frying, this bird is versatile! Oven roasting is the most familiar and most popular way to cook a turkey. Even if you’re doing it for the first time, it works! Here’s how:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lower the oven rack so the roasting pan holding the turkey will fit. Prepare the turkey for roasting by removing the giblets—usually found in a plastic or paper bag tucked inside the cavity of the bird—and rinsing the bird inside and out with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. If you are stuffing the turkey, do this now. Remember to stuff the turkey loosely, allowing about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per pound of turkey. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tuck the drumsticks under the folds of the skin or tie them together with cooking twine or a specially designed wire twist. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Roast the turkey until the skin is a light golden color (figure about 20 minutes per pound), then cover the bird loosely with an aluminum foil “tent” to prevent the skin from burning. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, remove the foil to brown the skin. Basting the bird ensures even browning but is not necessary.

How do I carve a turkey?
Once the bird is out of the oven, let it stand on a cutting board for about 30 minutes depending on its size. This gives the juices a chance to soak back into the flesh, and provides succulent cuts of meat. Before you begin carving, have a warm serving platter nearby.

Start carving by arranging the turkey, breast side up, on the cutting board. Steady the turkey with a carving fork while slicing. Using a sharp knife, slice through the meat between the breast and the leg. Next, using a large knife as an aid, press the thigh outward to find the hip joint. Slice down through the joint and remove the leg. Cut between the thighbone and drumstick bone to divide the leg into one thigh piece and one drumstick. To carve the drumstick, cut a thick slice of meat from one side, along the bone. Next, turn the drumstick over so the cut side faces down. Cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat, turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat, carving a total of four thick slices. To slice the thigh, place it flat side down on the cutting board. Cut parallel to the bone and slice off the meat. Place all the cuts on the warmed serving platter as you work.

Remove the wings before you cut the breast. Slice diagonally down through the edge of the breast toward the wing. Using a knife as an aid, press the wing out to find the shoulder joint; cut through this joint and remove the wing. Place the wing on the serving platter as-is.
To carve the breast meat, hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone. Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and the fork, and place it on the serving platter. Continue until you have carved all the meat on one side of the breast. Carve the other side of the breast following the same steps.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tweet Chat, How are you celebrating Thanksgiving?

Join @RespecttheBird and @Allrecipes to share how you’re celebrating Thanksgiving. We’ll be hosting a TweetChat on Wednesday, 11/23 from 3-4pm PST. What’s on your menu? Do watch football before the big feast? Have a family favorite pie recipe that always makes an appearance?
What: Respect the Bird Tweet Chat
When: Wednesday, November 23, 3-4pm PST
Where: On Twitter (use this custom tweetgrid) with hashtag #RTB
Topic: What are you thankful for?
Giveaway: A randomly selected participant who tweets the #RTB hashtag during the chat will win a turkey turkey baster, the Thanksgiving Tales - True Stories of the Holiday in America book by Brian Jaffe and an Respectthebird.com 6 month Supporting Membership!

If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create one here: http://www.twitter.com/

Change Your Profile Pic to Show Your Support Today

A picture is worth a thousand words! Show your support for Respect the Bird and Thanksgiving by changing your Facebook and Allrecipes profile pictures to a special Respect the Bird turkey charachter for the day. Let the world know you care about Thanksgiving!

Click here to see all the fun options available and instructions to save the photos and update your profile image.

The Stuffing Dilemma: Inside or Outside of the Bird?

It's the age old dilemma...should you prepare the stuffing inside or outside the bird. And if you prepare it out, do you have to call it dressing? Either way, with these tips, you're going to love the final results!

In the Bird
Prepare the stuffing according to your favorite recipe. Never stuff a bird until right before you’re ready to roast it because the cavity can provide an environment for growing bacteria. The stuffing should be warm when placed in the turkey so it reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C) by the time the bird is done.

Loosely stuff the cavity of the turkey, as the dressing will expand slightly while cooking. Be sure to include the neck cavity. Once stuffed, pull the neck skin up and pin it down with a skewer to enclose the opening. The body cavity opening may be trussed or sewn closed to protect exposed dressing. Another option is to tie the legs back and place a piece of aluminum foil over the opening. Any extra stuffing should be placed in a buttered casserole dish and kept covered and refrigerated until ready to bake.

If the turkey is finished cooking before the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C), scoop it out and place it in a greased baking dish. Cook it in a microwave on high or bake it at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until it reaches the correct temperature.

Out of the Bird
This one is much easier. Just follow the cooking directions of the stuffing recipe! If it calls for you to cook the stuffing in the bird but you would like to cook it out of the bird. Follow these tips:

1. Grease the cooking dish
2. Cover with foil
3. Cook for half the recommended time and double check the temperature of the stuffing every 5 minutes after the first half of cooking time.
4. Once the stuffing reaches the 165 degrees, remove the foil and bake for a few more minutes for a crispier finish or remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes in foil for a juicier finish.

Looking for some stuffing recipes? Check out a few of our favorites below:
  • Bread and Celery Stuffing
  • Slow Cooker Stuffing
  • Creole Cornbread Stuffing
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
  • Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
  • Wild Rice Stuffing for Turkey

  • Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Share Your Thanks and Win!

    Win Me!
    Friendships make the world go round! Acknowledge your friends today by sending them personal email or Facebook messages to tell them you’re thankful to have them in your life.

    Share what you’re most fond of about them and their qualities that enrich your life. You can also spread the word about your pledge to Respect the Bird.

    Once you've shared with your friends...share with us in the Respect the Bird Share Your Thanks Sweepstakes!

    Share and you could win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!

    I'm thankful that I took the Respect the Bird Pledge and don't have to leave Thanksgiving dinner early to go shopping!

    What are you thankful for?

    Tweet Chat, What are you thankful for?

    Join @RespecttheBird and @Allrecipes to share what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. We’ll be hosting a TweetChat on Tuesday, 11/22 from 3-4pm PST.
    What: Respect the Bird Tweet Chat
    When: Tuesday, November 22, 3-4pm PST
    Where: On Twitter (use this custom tweetgrid) with hashtag #RTB
    Topic: What are you thankful for?
    Giveaway: A randomly selected participant who tweets the #RTB hashtag during the chat will win some Turkey Popup Timers, the Thanksgiving Tales - True Stories of the Holiday in America book by Brian Jaffe and a reusable Respectthebird.com grocery bag!

    If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create one here: www.twitter.com

    How to Make Over-the-Top Mashed Potatoes

    Light, fluffy, and oh, so creamy! These are the mashed potatoes everyone craves for Thanksgiving dinner, ready to christen with gravy or golden butter. With a few simple tricks, you’ll be serving sublime creamy mashed potatoes everyone will swoon over—and want seconds of.

    Start by knowing your potatoes. Select the right variety because different types of potatoes have different flavors and textures. For light, fluffy, slightly mealy mashed potatoes, use a high-starch variety such as russet (Idaho baking potato). For smooth and creamy mashed potatoes, use a high-moisture variety such as Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold.

    Next, cut the potatoes into cubes about 3/4 inch (2 cm) square. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and add the potatoes. Keep the water at a heavy simmer, not a rolling boil, and begin checking for doneness after 15 minutes. Undercooked potatoes will be lumpy and pasty when you mash them, and overcooked potatoes will be gluey, so watch carefully. Drain the potatoes as soon as a fork easily pierces a piece all the way through.

    Always mash potatoes while they are still warm. Use a potato masher, or for extra-smooth texture, a potato ricer or a food mill. A ricer or food mill will ensure the potato grains are even-sized and yield a smooth, uniform texture.  Beware of using a food processor, which will over-mash the potatoes cialis generico. Over-mashing breaks the swollen starch cells in the potatoes and makes the potatoes gluey. Stir in butter, milk, cream, seasonings, and any other ingredients; it’s best to have these items warm or at room temperature to avoid cooling down the potatoes. Add fluffiness if desired, by briefly whipping the potatoes with a mixer on its lowest speed. Do not over-mix.

    Some of our favorite mashed potato recipes are below:

    Traditional Mashed Potatoes

    Day Before Mashed Potatoes

    Suzy's Mashed Red Potatoes

    Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

    Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

    Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

    Garlic Mashed Potatoes Secret Recipe

    Bacon Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Photo Scavenger Hunt - Show Your Spirit

    Remember that little gnome with the red hat who kept turning up in pictures all around the world? Well, we want to see the Respect the Bird logo turning up all over the country to help spread this message! So click the image below to open it, and then right click to print it. Next snap a photo of you and your family holding the sign, and then post it to the Respect the Bird Facebook page here! Your photo will be added to the Respect the Bird Photo gallery here.

    We love the photos submitted so far! Show off your creativity by helping us fulfill this Photo Scavenger Hunt!

    1. Respect the Bird (RTB) Logo by a Christmas tree
    2. RTB logo in front of a retail store with Christmas decorations up
    3. RTB logo with a real live Turkey
    4. RTB logo made into a yard sign
    5. RTB logo with triplets
    6. RTB logo crafted out of food
    7. RTB logo with a gnome
    8. RTB logo on a car
    9. Creative RTB logo painting
    10. The ultimate - Santa holding the RTB logo!

    If we get all 10 by Thanksgiving, I'll personally donate $150 to FeedingAmerica.org! With my company matching program, that will be $300! Let's do it!

    Stephanie Robinett

    The Art of Thanksgiving Pie

    No Bake Pumpkin Pie
    Pumpkin reigns when it comes to Thanksgiving pies, but pecan, apple, lemon chess, and others are favorites too. The good news: Pie crusts are one thing that can be made in advance! In fact, pie pastry can be made in advance and refrigerated for two to three days, or frozen for up to two weeks. Ready-made pie pastry purchased in the refrigerated dough section of the supermarket can also be frozen until ready to use. Frozen pie crusts are best used within one month.

    If the recipe calls for a “blind-baked pie crust,” simply fit the pastry into a pie pan, prick the bottoms several times with a fork, and line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill it with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake the pie shell in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) until the edges begin to turn golden, about 8 minutes. Take the pie out of the oven and remove the weights and paper and foil, and return it to the oven and bake until the bottom is just lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Then it’s ready to fill with a luscious filling.

    Pumpkin is the traditional Thanksgiving pie flavor, although pumpkin pie was not served at the first Thanksgiving. (More likely it was some form of squash.) If using canned pumpkin, choose between 100% pure pumpkin, to which you add spices, or pumpkin pie filling, with spices already included. And if you’re making fresh pumpkin pie, be sure to use small sugar pumpkins that appear in most markets in early October. These are superior to jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, which can be stringy and coarse-textured.

    To cook, cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Chop the large pieces into smaller ones that can then be boiled, steamed, roasted, baked (covered), or even cooked in a microwave. The pumpkin is ready when soft and easily pierced with a fork, much like potatoes. Scoop the flesh from the shell with a large spoon and discard the shell. Purée the pumpkin flesh in a food processor, food mill, or blender until smooth. It can be used as is, stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, or frozen for up to six months. If using frozen pumpkin, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or for immediate use, in the microwave.

    If making apple pie, you’ll need approximately 2 pounds of apples. You can save on preparation time by purchasing frozen sliced apples; they can be used for pie while still frozen.
    Some of our favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes are:
    Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie
    Sweet Potato Pie
    Apple Pie by Grandma Ople
    Caramel Pecan Pie 
    Apple Crumble Pie
    Crustless Cranberry Pie
    Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
    More Thanksgiving Pies

    Tweet Chat, Menu ideas for a week of family meals

    Join @RespecttheBird and @Allrecipes to share ideas and tips for family meals before and after Thanksgiving. We’ll be hosting a Tweet Chat on Monday, 11/21 from 3-4pm PST. Bring your favorite weeknight recipes, tips to get your kids involved in menu planning, and great Thanksgiving leftover ideas!

    What: Respect the Bird Tweet Chat 
    When: Monday, November 21, 3-4pm PST
    Where: On Twitter (use this custom tweetgrid) with hashtag #RTB
    Topic: Menu ideas for a week of family meals

    If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create one here: www.twitter.com

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Don't Let Christmas Occupy Thanksgiving

    Don't Let Christmas Occupy Thanksgiving
    By Doug Matthews

    I really thought Christmas started too early last year when I urged everyone to “Respect The Bird” with a blog post on Allrecipes. Turns out, a great many people out there thought the same thing. Hundreds of you commented saying you agreed the holidays are “blending into each other like ingredients in a smoothie.” It seems I hit a nerve, or connected with some kind of unconscious protest needing to be heard.

    I'm pleased to report, that in this blog post, one year later, Respect the Bird is flying high! Turned into a online grassroots movement with a little help from our friends at Respectthebird.com and this dedicated Respect the Bird blog. Countless bloggers across the Internet who want to help Save Thanksgiving have rallied to our cause. We’re counting pledges from those of you who commit to Respecting the Bird and refuse to let Christmas shopping offers gobble up Thanksgiving.   

    This doesn’t mean Thanksgiving isn’t still in danger of being overrun. Actually, I think this year the Christmas season has gotten waaaaay ahead of itself and has started to “Occupy Thanksgiving.” Ugly! The great feast day is only 4 days away, yet if you listen to most of the mainstream media, look at the big box retail stores, and pay even remote attention to the actions of all those mad men & mad women in the advertising world, you would think that Christmas has already been here most of the past month. Even the pumpkins in my neighborhood were covered with snow on Halloween. So I say it again, “No way! Respect The Bird!”

    The Pledge Counter steadily continues to climb each day at rate faster than the day before. RESPECT THE BIRD !!!

    More & more people are liking Respect The Bird on Facebook. RESPECT THE BIRD !!!

    If you listen closely, you can hear the Tweet Tweet Tweets of Twitter amongst the Gobble Gobble Gobbles of Thanksgiving. @RESPECTTHEBIRD  !!! #RTB !!! #SaveThanksgiving !!!

    People are taking pictures of themselves, family and friends all Respecting The Bird. Art Projects are being created by people of all ages showing how creatively they Respect The Bird. RESPECT THE BIRD !!!

    Thanksgiving videos & recipes are being watched & consulted about how to keep your mashed potatoes creamy and the lumps out of your gravy. RESPECT THE BIRD !!!

    Would you believe I even spotted a Respect The Bird T-Shirt walking through Chicago’s busy O’Hare Airport the other day. (Oh, wait a minute, that was me!) RESPECT THE BIRD !!!

    So let’s get loud about Thanksgiving and not care about what time the store doors are scheduled to open Thanksgiving night. Let’s be thankful we can sit around the table with our belts undone and gravy running through our veins and laughing at family follies instead of tightening our shoelaces and getting ready to run through aisles.

    Let’s enjoy the one entire day we get to spend with our friends & family, instead of spending time with strangers fighting for position at the doors or for the $3 video game console they teased about in their advertisements. Let’s eat that last piece of pumpkin pie with total pleasure—because we can—and not because we have to dash to Big Box store before everyone else.

    After all, from the very beginning it’s been an American holiday about being thankful about what we have—the big things in life, family, friendships, memories, good health—not about crazy stuff on sale. So let’s Enjoy Thanksgiving instead of letting Christmas Occupy Thanksgiving.


    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Thanksgiving in the Melting Pot

    Thanksgiving in the Melting Pot
    by Brian D. Jaffe

    Even though many people see the Thanksgiving meal as little more than carbo-loading for their shopping marathon on Black Friday, Thanksgiving is the great holiday Doug Matthews applauded in his blog post.

    After completing a one-year project examining Thanksgiving for a book about its many colorful traditions, unexpected adventures, humorous occurrences, and more, I can say that the holiday is still near and dear to the hearts of many, and not just because it’s a four-day weekend. The stories compiled in my book, Thanksgiving Tales: True Stories of the Holiday in America, are from 48 writers across the United States who share their individual experiences and memories of Thanksgiving, and provide insights into the varying ways the holiday is celebrated, viewed and cherished.

    Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition….the Macy’s Parade, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pie, and Dad carving the golden bird. Since the American way is to faithfully follow, radically ignore, or adapt tradition to individual circumstances, the images memorialized in folk-art paintings and on the covers of home style magazines do not reflect the full variety and spectrum of Thanksgiving celebrations. Even within this wide variety, I saw many common elements and themes: humor, food, family and friends, small moments and memories, all of which I’ve done my best to capture in Thanksgiving Tales.

    Most of us can identify with various kitchen disasters on the big day, such as finding the oven on fire and ending up at a restaurant buffet (p.131), or fear of sickness from improper cooking (p.101), special memories and traditions like sitting with Grandpa (p39), or a family football game (p127). But, what about Grandma slaughtering the holiday bird by the barn, or having so much food that nobody realized the turkey was never served? Does your holiday menu include familiar side dishes, such as cranberry sauce, or the less traditional, such as eggrolls and kimchi?

    And what Thanksgiving would be complete without family? My brother and sister-in-law host our Thanksgiving and their attitude is “the more-the-merrier,” which is in stark contrast to those who want to be left alone for the day, and the small minority who are out-and-out Thanksgiving haters. My day with family does not include an alcoholic uncle, a weird cousin, or an aunt who makes unrecognizable foods, as some of the book’s writers describe. But I can relate to the hosting responsibility being passed to the next generation, family squabbles, loss, and the special warmth of four generations of a close family gathered around a table—all heartwarming stories included in my book.

    Thanksgiving is inclusive, a holiday for everyone—whether their arrival to the United States was via the Mayflower, Ellis Island, an international airport, or any other way. I’ve always thought that it doesn’t matter if the celebration is traditional or unconventional. It doesn’t matter what food is served, how it’s made, or where the meal is held. What does matter is how I spend the day and who I spend it with.

    It is a testament to the importance of this holiday that we will go to great lengths for Thanksgiving—spending money to travel long distances, or taking days to prepare meals, sometimes only to end up sleeping in the car, or learning that the just-eaten turkey was previously dropped on the floor. Yet, we’ll do it all over again next year. In sharing this collection of stories, I hope to emphasize the meaning and value of Thanksgiving for everyone who enjoys the day. 
    Brian D. Jaffe is the editor of Thanksgiving Tales: True Stories of the Holiday in America. The book is available from online retailers like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and in eBook format for the Kindle, the iPad, and the Nook.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Consumers to Retailers: Holiday Advertising Is Getting Out of Hand!

    Consumers to Retailers: Holiday Advertising Is Getting Out of Hand! 

    INSIGHT 1: 82% of home cooks think Christmas is marketed too early, and as a result, Thanksgiving isn’t respected.

    When asked whether Christmas is marketed too early, only 3.5% of home cooks disagree, while 14% are neutral. When asked if early Christmas advertising distracted them from Thanksgiving’s importance, the majority of home cooks (56%) replied, “Very much.” 47% also said early holiday advertising kept them from being thankful for what they have, while 37% said it distracted from their enjoyment of Thanksgiving.

    How strongly do you agree with this statement: Christmas is marketed too early and the Thanksgiving holiday is getting too little attention.
    (82% represents both Agree and Strongly Agree)

    How much does Christmas advertising prior to Thanksgiving detract from the following?

    INSIGHT 2: 77% of consumers say holiday marketing is out of control when they see holiday décor (trees, wreaths, etc.) set up right after Halloween—or even in July and August.

    74% also say hearing Christmas music in October signals extreme holiday marketing, and nearly half see Black Friday deals announced earlier and earlier before Thanksgiving as another signal of over-the-top marketing.

    How do you know holiday marketing is getting out of control? (Check all that apply.)

    INSIGHT 3: 44% say the best time for holiday specials to begin is the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), or the Monday following Thanksgiving (Cyber Monday).

    However, almost one-third of consumers say anytime is good, and “You can’t start shopping too early” and one-fifth say “anytime in November.” This shows that consumers still love good deals, but don’t need all the marketing hype that comes with the push to start Christmas shopping weeks before Thanksgiving.

    INSIGHT 4: Three-quarters of home cooks say their favorite thing about Thanksgiving is spending time with friends and family.

    More than half (55%) also say they love eating delicious food, and “giving thanks for what we have” (52%).

    The 2011 Holiday Insights Survey was hosted on Respectthebird.com from September 25 – 31, 2011, with participation from 1,350 U.S.-based home cooks. No incentives were used to reward or incent participation.