Whether you’re scrambling to finish food preparations or already nursing a turkey-induced food coma, here are some of the most essential Thanksgiving reads from the pages of TIME.
Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Thanksgiving – our favorite trivia about the face-stuffing holiday. Impress your crazy uncle at the dinner table by knowing which president tried to mess with the date of thanksgiving or which American athletes never get the day off.
Let Them Eat…Everything: The Top 10 Feasts – Stuffed? Don’t feel too bad. At least you didn’t have to sit through one of Queen Elizabeth’s legendary 17-day feasts.
Thanksgiving Recipes: Turkey-Day Alternatives – For a true break from tradition, turn that pumpkin pie into ice cream, those sweet potatoes into gel, and seal your turkey into a vacuum bag and cook it sous-vide like the gastronomic innovators who shared their favorite recipes with TIME.
10 Things You Didn’t (Need to) Know About Turkeys – As you ease gently into a tryptophan-induced torpor, catch up on some fast facts about the gobblers themselves.
Vintage Thanksgiving Menus Reveal Some Odd Dishes – The Thanksgiving menu’s been the same since the Pilgrims and Native Americans first broke bread, right? Indeed not. Just a century ago there were some rather outlandish choices. Above all, be thankful you’re not dining on pigeon pie today.
The Kitsch of Thanksgiving – In honor of a day spent surrounded by your grandmother’s gaudy wallpaper and lace sofa doilies, we present some garish, vintage images of the holiday festivities. Just why does cranberry sauce in a can taste so good?
Bobby Flay’s Thanksgiving – TIME’s camera sits in as the celebrity chef prepares the most important meal of the year.
Green-Bean Casserole: Why Do We Eat It Just Once a Year? – It’s chock full of sodium and cream, but it’s oh-so-irresistible on millions of Thanksgiving tables. We feel just fine going back for seconds, since we won’t be eating it again until next Turkey Day – but the recipe was indeed concocted by Campbell’s in order to capitalize on ingredients almost everyone already had. Tired of the same-old? We’ve compiled three recipes to spice up your casserole.
A Brief History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – It’s the perennial background noise for your feast preparations: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Here’s how the New York City jubilee came to attract 3.5 million people each year. And see it in photos.
A Manifesto For a Tastier Thanksgiving – How many times a year do you eat a roast turkey? If you’re like much of America, you can count those times on one hand – and maybe even one finger. And how about that giant lump of bread casserole that we call “stuffing”? It’s clear that Thanksgiving is rooted in tradition, but isn’t tradition a dish better served willingly? That’s why TIME food guru Josh Ozerky pushes for a Turkey Day revolution, where we serve dishes that show off each of our unique cooking styles.
Thanksgiving With the Taliban – TIME’s veteran bureau chief Tim McGirk was dispatched to report from Afghanistan after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and spent that Thanksgiving among Taliban fighters who’d never heard of the holiday before. Here’s how, amid a meal of bread and raisins, they managed to find some common ground.