Americans are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, the middle entry in the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Winter holidays trifecta. Plate up with some table talk about the origins of the holiday, the reason we eat turkey, and what really makes people so sleepy after the annual meal.

Extra fixings: all stories contain free links to the supporting academic research on JSTOR.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Modern Invention of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving as we know it was deliberately invented in the nineteenth century.
Cranberries in a strainer

Seven Things You Might Not Know About Cranberries

They're red, tart, and mostly eaten at Thanksgiving. Love them or hate them, here are seven things you might not have known about the humble cranberry.
An illustration from America's story for America's children, 1900

How (Not) to Teach Kids about Native Cultures

Even well-intentioned books for children can romanticize (or demonize) Native Americans. But better materials exist.
Still Life

Thanksgiving Is a Feast of Things Forgotten

Thanksgiving is a feast so complex and semiotically dense that things are very often forgotten and rarely go according to plan.
Leaves stacked against a black background

Eight Poems of Gratitude

Let us pause now and give thanks.
Let's Talk Turkey

Let’s Talk Turkey

First of all, why the name "turkey?"
Tofurkey

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dates Back to the 1900s

Tofu turkey was created in 1990, but some Americans celebrated Thanksgiving with veggie dishes over a century ago.
Wooden Spoons

Why We Keep Our Utensils

They're more than just cooking tools.
Sleepy Bulldog

Why Does Eating Food Make You Sleepy?

Your turkey is not to blame.
The first Thanksgiving 1621

Thanksgiving Has Been Reinvented Many Times

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, Thanksgiving was very different from the holiday we know now.
A bowl of mashed sweet potatoes.

Considering the Sweet Potato

The sweet potato is a New World food that spread around the world, including across the Pacific before the Europeans got there.
Embarkation of the Pilgrims

Why the Pilgrims Were Actually Able to Survive

If you were reading Bradford's version of events, you might think that the survival of the Pilgrims' settlements was often in danger.
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