Thursday, November 23, 2023

'The History of the Turkey' and PBS Terra on sweet potatoes and corn for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! For this year's celebration, I'm being a good environmentalist by recycling the concept of last year's PBS Digital's 'Be Smart' explains 'The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods'. I begin with The History Guy telling his viewers to Get Stuffed! The History of the Turkey.

Most of us are familiar with the legend that turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621, and has been the traditional protein for the celebration ever since. And that would be one of many commonly known facts about the prodigious poultry that is, well, incorrect.
While it concerns me that Big Data is watching you (and me, too), it was thanks to the YouTube recommendation algorithm that I found The History Guy in the first place, resulting in my posting The History Guy tackles 'The Rise and Fall of the American Mall,' a tale of the Retail Apocalypse. This video lived up to my expectations and filled my need for this kind of content. Behold the power of the YouTube algorithm!

That's it for the holiday history associated with the animal. Now for some food science about side dishes from PBS Terra's Hungry Planet series, beginning with a video examining another Thanksgiving staple, Sweet Potatoes' Flavor is More Complex Than You Think.

Packed full of vitamin A, calcium, and iron, sweet potatoes don’t get the love they deserve. In this episode of Hungry Planet, North Carolina State University PhD student Modesta Abugu tells Niba about her research to make sweet potatoes more delicious by identifying the aromatic molecules that give rise to their complex flavor. Followed by surveying people to determine what type of sweet potato flavors they enjoy more. Niba also chats with students in the Sweet Potato Project who have planted, harvested and sold sweet potatoes at a local community farm. Hungry Planet showcases how scientists and communities work to keep food on our plates for future generations.
This is the first Hungry Planet video I've embedded in my blog, but it's not the last. For an early Maize Day, I'm sharing How This Photo Booth Could Save Corn.

From movie theaters to barbecues, corn shows up seemingly everywhere. In this episode of Hungry Planet, Niba visits LA’s Boyle Heights, where she chats with restaurant owner Deysi Serrano about honoring corn’s historical roots in modern cooking. Niba also calls plant biologist and science TikToker Katie Murphy to hear about her research to ensure corn will survive climate change. Hungry Planet showcases how scientists and communities are working to keep food on our plates for future generations.
That was fun as well as educational and incorporated culture and tradition along with the history, science, and technology of the first two videos. I learned a lot from all three clips and it's always a good day when I learn something new. I hope my readers agree.

That's it for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for a tale of the Retail Apocalypse for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day.

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