Wednesday, November 01, 2006

No Turkey Talk - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL Debunks The Myths, Rituals And Science Of Thanksgiving

From the Thermodynamics of the Perfect Oven-Baked Bird to the Engineering of Macy′s Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats, THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED Shows You There′s More to the Holiday than Turkey and Stuffing

In the idyllic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, a beautiful bronzed turkey on a large platter is presented to a crowded table of smiling faces. It′s a warm, familiar image of a firmly rooted tradition that leaves little room for surprise ... or does it?

Did you know that chemistry might hold the key to cooking the perfect turkey? Or whether our celebration - and traditional menu - is truly akin to that enjoyed by the Pilgrims and their Indian guests? And what is it that really makes you sleepy after the Thanksgiving meal?

Premiering Monday, November 20, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel (NGC), THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED squashes the myths and sifts through the scientific reasoning behind this celebrated meal and its time-honored traditions. From the engineering behind the Macy′s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats to the eccentric national turkey-calling competitions, the show digs into the little-known factoids and pop culture conventions behind the cherished autumn holiday.

The bountiful Thanksgiving feast is one of the few American holiday rituals that cuts across all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Yet for as long as turkey has been the star of the meal, there′s been the challenge of cooking it right. THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED reveals one scientific theory for achieving turkey perfection...that starts with a garbage bag. Harold McGee, an expert on the chemistry of food, suggests giving the turkey an ice bath, using a garbage bag as a moisture barrier, turning the turkey on its head, and even using a blowtorch for the finishing touches.

After a full Thanksgiving dinner, a common assumption is that the tryptophan in the turkey is the culprit behind the sleepy eyelids and sedated lumbering toward the couch. But this theory is pure urban myth. THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED reveals that the turkey does not have enough tryptophan to induce drowsiness, and the real reason can be found in the rest of the calorie-packed meal.

But even before the wishbone has been snapped, go behind the scenes of Thanksgiving′s television traditions. THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED divulges the science behind the Macy′s Thanksgiving Day Parade, starting with the design and technology of its world-famous balloons. The show then explains the more than 70-year link between pro football and Thanksgiving, how and where it started, and why it stuck.

Still haven′t had enough to chew on? The program spills what really happened in 1621 at Plymouth - hint: it wasn′t Thanksgiving as we know it. THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED also separates the legend from the truth behind how "Black Friday" became the nickname for the day after Thanksgiving. Was it mob mayhem, or are its roots in our economic system? Finally, the show translates the "love songs" of the wild turkey and takes viewers to the colorful Super Bowl of turkey calling.

THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED includes experts such as James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., and Rob Keck of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Kathleen Curtin, food historian and associate director of Plimoth Plantation; and Peter Arenstam, manager of the Maritime Artisans at Plimoth Plantation.

THANKSGIVING UNSTUFFED is produced by LMNO Cable Group, Inc. for the National Geographic Channel. For LMNO Cable Group, Inc., executive producers are Eric Schotz, Bill Paolantonio, and Ruth Rivin. For the National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Chris Valentini, senior vice president of special programming is Michael Cascio, and executive-in-charge of production is John Ford.