Sree's Stories

TAKING IN THE SITES / SREENATH SREENIVASAN

Harvesting Thanksgiving on the Web

Monday, March 31, 1997
Pg. D7
Computer users can harvest a world of information about Thanksgiving on the World Wide Web, with sites ranging from the picture-book ideal of the holiday to the business that it can create.

Many of the sites naturally revolve around food, especially turkey. The goal: preparing for extended feasting. Butterball Turkey Co., part of Conagra, has an in-depth site that guides users through such critical aspects of the holiday as "10 steps to a picture-perfect turkey," "Lump-free gravy" and "Carving like the pros." Cooks who have used the company's "turkey talk" phone line to communicate with its home economists can now use e-mail from the site.

The Epicurious site of Conde Nast, a unit of Advance Publications, has gathered 16 full Thanksgiving menus from the pages of Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines. You can choose from colonial Boston or colonial Charleston, or even go the nongobbler route and try quail, pheasant or duck. If you are not the cooking kind, there is a convenient button that allows recipes to be e-mailed directly to someone you know. No guarantees they will do the cooking for you, however.

The Home Arts network of sites from the Hearst Corp.'s magazines, including Redbook and Good Housekeeping, offers a variety of survival tips for the season, ranging from holiday party etiquette to how to make a pumpkin-less pumpkin pie. For vegetarians, sites like Veggie Life magazine offer Thanksgiving menus for herbivores.

Family-oriented Thanksgiving sites are plentiful, and that is a good thing considering that school is out for the holiday. Children can be pointed to several sites that inform as well as entertain. A note of caution: Too many sites that purport to tell the history of the holiday distort the facts and perpetuate myths about the Pilgrims and Native Americans. The Billy Bear Storybooks site offers activities and links that will keep children busy for hours. The Bellingham Public Schools of Bellingham, Wash., offer an extensive set of links. These include links to virtual tours of the first Thanksgiving, in 1621, and historical documents and paintings.

For executives in many industries, the most important aspect of the Thanksgiving weekend is what some store workers call "black Friday" -- the official arrival of the holiday shopping season.

The Web can provide a way to keep in touch with the business world without losing sight of warm and fuzzy parts of the festival.

Take the site of the National Retail Federation, for example. It provides holiday information, including sales data, retail news headlines and a consumer mood survey about holiday shopping.

Macy's, the store associated with Thanksgiving, has a site that focuses on Christmas and Hanukkah and does not even mention its famous parade.

Aside from overeating, Thanksgiving seems to have added another tradition: football on TV. Starting tomorrow, the National Football League site has previews of the Thursday games at Detroit and Dallas.

For a light-hearted look at the holiday, there is always the Top 10 Most Despised Thanksgiving Dishes, compiled by Stanford University students.


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