I am truly thankful
for this wonderful country we all live in –
such an incredible
continually growing
grand experiment of a nation!

Family – Friends

Blessings both large and small



Hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


To get to the wishbone, one MUST do some serious, serious turkey eating. Then once found, it must dry out for a day or two for the ritual to work properly. So, good luck with your wishbone. And don’t forget the fabulous leftovers! If you’re reading this on the afternoon after Thanksgiving, I’m on my second helping. Enjoy yours!!  :-)))

By now, I hope you have recovered from your Thanksgiving coma – (see science on tryptophan), patched up the inappropriate conversation damage done with the relatives, and gotten your fill of football, stuffing and pie (never enough pie! Pumkin and Apple Caramel!).  Now, as you decide just how much and which of the leftovers you plan to consume today (turkey mayo sandwich, stuffing and gravy, potatoes and jellied cranberry sauce, or just the green bean casserole), I wanted to share a little history and fun facts on the wishbone tradition.  Growing up in the Kowalski house, Thanksgiving is quite the undertaking – making all the food, heading down to the metro parks for the pick-up football game and associated trips to the ER, enough pie for 20.  Today, with all the kids and grandkids and great grandkids, we need an offsite location to feed the 88 who will be able to make it back to Cleveland this year!?.  One of my favorite memories is the breaking of the turkey wish bone.  Mom used to pull it out of the “bird” and set it on the kitchen windowsill to let it dry.  On Friday, she had to choose who got to do the wish ceremony (come to think of it, this could be where Dad got his inspiration for PIA (Pain in the @%$) Jobs!).  The wishbone ritual is much older than you probably suspect, even though it came to America with the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. In fact, it began thousands of years earlier in the ancient Etruscan civilization.  Enjoy the info below, and thanks to and Now go get some more pie!

  • Thanksgiving is one of America’s most beloved holidays and is full of traditions. Some are relatively modern additions — but others, like the breaking of the turkey’s wishbone (technically known as the furcula), have ancient origins.
  • Though wishbones are commonly associated with turkeys, all poultry have them — chickens, ducks, broad-breasted vs. heritage turkeys, and even geese — and people have been using these domesticated birds to grant wishes or tell the future since ancient times.
  • The Etruscans were a civilization in ancient Italy (from at least 800 BC) who practiced bird divination — the practice of using birds as oracles to predict the future. Chickens were allowed to peck at Etruscan letters on the ground to divine the answers to questions about the future. When a chicken was killed, the Etruscans laid the wishbone in the sun so the people could touch it and continue to use the chicken’s oracle power even after its death. People who touched the bone made wishes as they did, which is why we now commonly call it the wishbone.
  • Poultry have a long history of being used to grant wishes and tell the future. Ancient Greeks used to place grain on marked cards or mark kernels of corn with letters and carefully record which ones their chickens pecked first. The Roman army carried cages of “sacred chickens” with them — the designated chicken keeper was known as the pullarius. Once, as Andrew Lawler writes in Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?, the sacred chickens suggested a Roman general stay in camp. He fought instead and “he and most of his army were slain within three hours as a devastating earthquake shook Italy.” Obey the chickens, or else became the cry, as  poultry premonitions became so important that many advisers began to game the system. Chickens were often kept hungry or overfed the day before “divining” desired answers.
  • Over time, instead of wishing on bones on the ground, the Romans grappled over the wishbone to break it, with the victor being the person who broke off the larger part of the bone. The Romans brought their culture and traditions with them to the British Isles, and the wishbone tradition caught on there.
  • The first recorded practice of wishbone divination in Britain dates back to 1455; a goose wishbone (called a merrythought) was used to divine the weather on St. Martin’s Day, a harvest celebration that fell in November. Merrythoughts were sometimes broken between two single people, and the person who got the longer side of the bone was then predicted to marry first. The English colonists then brought the poultry bone tradition along with them to America and included it in the first Thanksgiving celebration.
  • The first known mention of the word “wishbone” as it refers specifically to a turkey bone was in an 1842 article in The Sun newspaper of Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Other religions also have ceremonies that involve poultry, many of them controversial. During Yom Kippur, some Jews practice kapparot where a live chicken is swung overhead in a circle three times, taking on that person’s sins, before the bird is slaughtered and given to the poor.
  • Geese helped foretell how bad the coming winter would be in European and Scandinavian traditions. Tate writes that after St. Martin’s Night, a dried goose’s breastbone would be examined to determine “whether the coming winter would be cold, wet, or dry.”
  • Many children like to study the wishbone long and hard before deciding which side they think will win a coveted wish. Today the internet has taken a bit of magic out of the wishbone tradition with tips on winning like choosing the thicker side (obvious) or ones that use the physics of pulling apart a two-pronged bone to your advantage like holding the wishbone closer to the center or letting the other person do most of the pulling.
  • When you face off with someone to break a wishbone, you carry on a tradition that harkens back thousands of years and spans continents. Here’s wishing that you break off the bigger piece this post-Thanksgiving Day!



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!



Giving Thanks


Thank You…

  1. For family both here and past.
  2. My first grandchild
  3. Being able to get together for a day with family near and far!
  4. Can’t forget all of the wonderful food from yesterday!
  5. Even during these crazy times that we all have things to be thankful for.
  6. We should all take a moment to remember all of the wonderful things we actually experience each day.
  7. Thank God!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!











Oh Grannie

M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m, pies!!!
Makin’ em & bakin’ em is a family affair. But I won’t lie, I’m especially 
partial to eaten‘ em!!!

While most of you are feeling the “stretch” of yesterday’s meals (I never just eat once) and are now digging into the fridge for those amazing leftovers, I on the other hand, am reaching for the thanksgiving unsung hero – extra pie.  Of course, I’ve already had my leftover turkey, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce – jellied not that lumpy stuff! and potatoes, and vegi’s, So it’s just right that I finish my re-tasting with a nice couple slices of pie.  A little Grannie apple, followed by a smidge of pumpkin, topped with whipped cream and ice cream and a cool glass of soy milk (you’re welcome Jackie!).  Not sure what it’s like at your house, but I just love it when Jackie and the girls crack open the recipe books, whip up the family favorite’s,  especially, Chocolate Pecan pie and treats us to good cookin’. Although I love to cook,  for some reason I tend to cause a ruckus in the kitchen during baking so I have been banished.  So, for my foodies out there, here’s a little “pie” trivia (thanks American Pie Council and Wikipedia).  Enjoy. And look for the links throughout for fun leftover meals.

  1. pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients.
  2. Pies are defined by their crusts. A filled pie (also single-crust or bottom-crust), has pastry lining the baking dish, and the filling is placed on top of the pastry but left open. A top-crust pie has the filling in the bottom of the dish and is covered with a pastry or other covering before baking. A two-crust pie has the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell.  Shortcrust pastry is a typical kind of pastry used for pie crusts, but many things can be used, including baking powder biscuitsmashed potatoes, and crumbs.
  3. Ancient Greeks are believed to have originated pie pastry. In the plays of Aristophanes (5th century BC), there are mentions of sweetmeats including small pastries filled with fruit. Nothing is known of the actual pastry used, but the Greeks certainly recognized the trade of pastry-cook as distinct from that of baker. A rich pastry, intended to be eaten, was used to make small pasties containing eggs or little birds which were among the minor items served at banquets.
  4. During the Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age period, the use of stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, the domestication of plants and animals, the establishment of permanent villages, and the practice of crafts such as pottery and weaving became common. Early pies were in the form of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes called galettes consisting of a crust of ground oats, wheat, rye, or barley containing honey inside.
  5. Early pies made by the Roman most likely came from the Greeks.  These pies were sometimes made in “reeds” which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling.  The Romans must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century. The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.
  6. The 1st-century Roman cookbook Apicius makes various mentions of recipes which involve a pie case.  By 160 BC, Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato (234–149 BC), who wrote De Agri Cultura, notes the recipe for the most popular pie/cake called placenta. Also called libum by the Romans, it was more like a modern-day cheesecake on a pastry base, often used as an offering to the gods. With the development of the Roman Empire and its efficient road transport, pie cooking spread throughout Europe.
  7. Pies made centuries ago were predominately meat pies, and originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn”. There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.
  8. Song birds at the time were a delicacy and protected by Royal Law. At the coronation of eight-year-old English King Henry VI (1422–1461) in 1429, “Partrich” and “Pecok enhakill” were served, alleged by some modern writers to consist of cooked peacock mounted in its skin on a peacock-filled pie. Cooked birds were frequently placed by European royal cooks on top of a large pie to identify its contents, leading to its later adaptation in pre-Victorian times as a porcelain ornament to release of steam and identify a good pie.
  9. Meat pies with fillings such as steak, cheese, steak and kidney, minced beef, or chicken and mushroom are popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as take-away snacks. They are also served with chips as an alternative to fish and chips at British chip shops.
  10. Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffin.
  11. The Pilgrim fathers and early settlers brought their pie recipes with them to America, adapting to the ingredients and techniques available to them in the New World. Their first pies were based on berries and fruits pointed out to them by the Native North Americans.  Pies allowed colonial cooks to stretch ingredients and also used round shallow pans to literally “cut corners” and to create a regional variation of shallow pie.
  12. Pies remained as a staple of traveling and working peoples in the colder northern European countries, with regional variations based on both the locally grown and available meats, as well as the locally farmed cereal crop. The Cornish pasty is an adaptation of the pie to a working man’s daily food needs.
  13. Pot pies with a flaky crust and bottom are also a popular American dish, typically with a filling of meat (particularly beef, chicken, or turkey), gravy, and mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and peas). Frozen pot pies are often sold in individual serving size – (on a good day I can eat two or three).
  14. Fruit pies may be served with a scoop of ice cream, a style known in North America as pie à la mode. Many sweet pies are served this way. Apple pie is a traditional choice, though any pie with sweet fillings may be served à la mode. This combination, and possibly the name as well, is thought to have been popularized in the mid-1890s in the United States.  Apple pie can be made with a variety of apples: Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauty, Macintosh, Red Delicious and more.
  15. “Chess pie” was popular in the South—a silky pie with a rich filling of sugar, cream or buttermilk, egg, and sometimes bourbon. The Pennsylvania Dutch made molasses “shoofly” pies, as well as stew-like savory meat pies known as “bott boi,” or pot pie. Settlers in Florida, utilizing the plentiful local citrus, turned native limes into key lime pie. The state of New Hampshire became known for its fried hand pies, quaintly called “crab lanterns.” The Midwest, famous for its dairy farms, favored cheese and cream pies. French immigrants to New Orleans created the pecan pie after the Native Americans introduced them to pecans. Massachusetts invented the beloved Boston Cream Pie, a hybrid pie-cake.
  16. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was made with 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon and 2 pounds of pumpkin spice.
  17. Over the years, pie has evolved to become what it is today “the most traditional American dessert”. Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now commonly use the term “as American as apple pie.”



There’s only one … Mom’s of course.

Thanksgiving Day = Turkey but this blog is all about Stuffing. (Oh, and a nod to jellied cranberries) Smells sooo great right out of the oven. Tastes sooo great, too. I’ve tried different recipes and I haven’t met a stuffing I haven’t loved. Stuffing left-overs are great on a sandwich, too. So, say your Thanksgiving grace and serve plenty of stuffing.


Thanksgiving is coming, and with it, one of my favorites – stuffing. Hot or cold, with gravy or without, snack or meal, it’s heaven. Remember stuffing is a wonderful breakfast food also. And I’m guessing, like you, there’s nothing quite like Mom’s. I was always responsible for the “stuffing” part!  Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Jackie’s recipe, filled with goodness and smothered with her fantastic gravy!  As far as I am concerned, Turkey – Stuffing and gravy along Jellied cranberries and I am a happy man!   I can still remember my first Thanksgiving with Jackie, as a new couple just starting out and the smell of her savory dressing filling the kitchen. Since I come from a relatively large family my perspective on how much stuffing and cranberry sauce needed was slightly different from Jackie’s.  Who doesn’t buy the cans of cranberries when they were 10 for $10?  You have to buy 10 correct?

For my history buffs, here’s some great info on stuffing.  And for my fellow foodies, some great recipes from around the country.  Cornbread or white bread?  Just the crust?  Store bought cubes, or sour dough?  Have fun and ENJOY!


Stuffing, filling, or dressing is an edible substance or mixture, often a starch, used to fill a cavity in another food item while cooking. Many foods may be stuffed, including eggs, poultry, seafood, mammals, fruits and vegetables.

Traditionally, turkey stuffing often consists of cornbread or dried bread, in the form of croutons, cubes or breadcrumbs, mixed with onion, celery, salt, pepper, and other spices and herbs such as summer savory, sage, or a mixture like poultry seasoning. Many families add sausage, raisins, cranberries, bacon, mushrooms, kale, apples and more.  Experimenting is fun and easy to get a great complimentary flavor profile.  Popular additions in the UK include giblets, dried fruits and nuts (notably apricots and flaked almonds) and chestnuts.

Many types of vegetables are also suitable for stuffing, after their seeds or flesh has been removed. Tomatoes, capsicums (sweet or hot peppers), vegetable marrows (e.g., zucchini) may be prepared in this way. Cabbages and similar vegetables can also be stuffed or wrapped around a filling. They are usually blanched first, to make their leaves more pliable. Then, the interior may be replaced by stuffing, or small amounts of stuffing may be inserted between the individual leaves.

Almost anything can serve as a stuffing or filler. Many popular Anglo-American stuffings contain bread or cereals, usually together with vegetables, herbs and spices, and eggs. Middle Eastern vegetable stuffings may be based on seasoned rice, on minced meat, or a combination thereof. Other stuffings may contain only vegetables and herbs. Some types of stuffing contain sausage meat, or forcemeat, while vegetarian stuffings sometimes contain tofu.

It is not known when stuffings were first used. The earliest documentary evidence is the Roman cookbook, Apicius De Re Coquinaria, which contains recipes for stuffed chicken, dormouse, hare, and pig. Most of the stuffings described consist of vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts, and spelt (an old cereal), and frequently contain chopped liver, brains, and other animal parts.

Ancient Romans, as well as medieval chefs, cooked stuffed animals with other animals. An anonymous Andalusian cookbook from the 13th century includes a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds. A similar recipe for a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs is mentioned in T.C. Boyle’s book Water Music.  Today families enjoy “turducken” (turkey stuffed with a boned duck stuffed with a boned chicken)

Names for stuffing include “farce” (~1390), “stuffing” (1538), “forcemeat” (1688), and relatively more recently in the United States; “dressing” (1850).

Oysters are used in one traditional stuffing for Thanksgiving. These may also be combined with mashed potatoes, for a heavy stuffing. Fruits and dried fruits can be added to stuffing including apples, apricots, dried prunes, and raisins. (Although I have said I eat anything.. NOT THIS ONE!)

In addition to stuffing the body cavity of animals, including birds, fish, and mammals, various cuts of meat may be stuffed after they have been deboned or a pouch has been cut into them. Popular recipes include stuffed chicken legs or breasts, stuffed pork chops, stuffed breast of veal, fish, as well as the traditional holiday stuffed turkey or goose.

British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has championed the ten-bird roast, calling it “one of the most spectacular and delicious roasts you can lay before your loved ones at Yuletide”. A large turkey is stuffed with a goose, duck, mallard, guinea fowl, chicken, pheasant, partridge, pigeon, and woodcock. The roast feeds approximately 30 people and, as well as the ten birds, includes stuffing made from two pounds of sausage meat and half a pound of streaky bacon, along with sage, and port and red wine.

American couples often have to reconcile competing stuffings as part of the ritual of bonding for the holidays. One Minneapolis woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid family discord, said she and her husband were so attached to their mothers’ stuffing recipes that they had to alternate years at each table. ”I hate my mother-in-law’s stuffing — she uses chestnuts — and when I have to go to her house, I always stop off at my Mother’s on the way home,” she said. ”She leaves a container of stuffing in the refrigerator for me, and I eat it in the car.”

The stuffing mixture may be cooked separately and served as a side dish. For turkeys, for instance, the USDA recommends cooking stuffing/dressing separately from the bird and not buying pre-stuffed birds. (Stuffing is never recommended for turkeys to be fried, grilled, microwaved, or smoked).

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that cooking animals with a body cavity filled with stuffing can present potential food safety issues. These can occur because when the meat reaches a safe temperature, the stuffing inside can still harbor bacteria (and if the meat is cooked until the stuffing reaches a safe temperature, the meat may be overcooked).


Ok, gather your ingredients 
and let’s make stuffing!



Time:  About an hour

½ c. margarine
5 large celery stalks
1 large onion
1 tsp. dried thyme
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried sage
1 can chicken broth
2 loaf sliced firm white bread
½ c. loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
(then have fun – raisins, cranberries, sausage, almonds, apples or chestnuts)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In 12-inch skillet, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion, and cook 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in thyme, salt, pepper, sage, chicken broth, and 1/2 cup water; remove skillet from heat.
  3. Place bread cubes in very large bowl. Add celery mixture and parsley; toss to mix well.
  4. Spoon stuffing into 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish; cover with foil and bake 40 minutes or until heated through.
  5. Blend in dry or wet “fun” ingredients about half way through cooking (good to pre-cook sausage).


Time: About an hour 

6 1/2 ounces butter (13 tablespoons)
6 cups crumbled corn bread
6 cups torn crusty white bread, such as a baguette
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried sage (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups turkey or chicken broth
2 dozen shucked small oysters, with their liquid (optional).

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Melt remaining butter. In a large bowl, combine corn bread, white bread, onion, celery, sage, salt and pepper to taste. Toss until well mixed. Add melted butter, eggs, cream and 1 1/2 cups broth. Toss in oysters, if using. Mix lightly but well; mixture should be very moist.
  2. Turn mixture into prepared dish. If mixture seems dry around edges, drizzle on remaining broth. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until firm and browned on top.
    Yield: 12 servings.


Time: About an hour

2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
4 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 pound breakfast pork sausage meat, crumbled
2 cups cubes made from crusty white bread, such as a baguette, toasted
1 cup low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
Pepper to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons dried summer savory.

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. Boil potatoes in salted water until just cooked through but still firm in center. When cool, cut into 1-inch dice. Set aside.
  3. Melt remaining butter and oil together in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery, and cook, stirring, until softened. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent browning.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high, add sausage and cook, stirring, using a wooden spoon to break up clumps. When sausage has browned slightly add potatoes, and continue cooking until they are incorporated and slightly browned. Add bread cubes, and mix.
  5. Add about half the broth, and mix. If needed, add more to soften bread cubes and to bind the stuffing together. Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon summer savory. Taste, and add more savory if desired.
  6. Turn into buttered dish. If mixture seems dry, drizzle on remaining stock. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until firm and crusty. (The stuffing is even better if mixed in advance, kept refrigerated and baked just before serving.)
    Yield: 10 to 12 servings.




“…till you drop”


For some, there is nothing more exciting than Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Regarded as the official start of the Christmas Shopping season when most retailers open very early, and some the night before to offer shoppers promotional sales. Many of you have already gotten up early today and rushed off to the malls and stores looking for deals. In my house, being a Dad of four girls, the “day after” was met with fun and fervor. We weren’t a family that would race out and go nuts, but we did at times, go looking for savings. So, in KHT fashion, here is some Wikipedia trivia about the day.

  • Although the concept of a national day of thanksgiving originated in the time of George Washington, it was not until 1863 that President Lincoln declared an annual holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday (now the fourth Thursday) in November, a proclamation ignored in the Confederacy until after the Civil War.
  • The day after Thanksgiving as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season may be linked together with the idea of Santa Claus parades. Parades celebrating Thanksgiving often include an appearance by Santa at the end of the parade, with the idea that ‘Santa has arrived’ or ‘Santa is just around the corner’ because Christmas is always the next major holiday following Thanksgiving. (as kids, we’d watch TV waiting to see Santa)
  • The earliest known use of “Black Friday” occurs in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance, for November 1951, and again in 1952, referring to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving, in order to enjoy a four-day weekend. However, this use does not appear to have caught on. Around the same time, the terms “Black Friday” and “Black Saturday” came to be used by the police in Philadelphia and Rochester to describe the crowds and traffic congestion accompanying the start of the Christmas shopping season. In 1961, the city and merchants of Philadelphia attempted to improve conditions, and a public relations expert recommended rebranding the days, “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday”; but these terms were quickly forgotten.
  • In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Santa or Thanksgiving Day parades were sponsored by department stores. These included the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, in Canada, sponsored by Eaton’s, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Department stores would use the parades to launch a big advertising push. Eventually it just became an unwritten rule that no store would try doing Christmas advertising before the parade was over.
  • Thanksgiving Day’s relationship to Christmas shopping led to controversy in the 1930s. Retail stores would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. For this reason, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation proclaiming Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November rather than the last Thursday, meaning in some years one week earlier, in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.  Most people adopted the President’s change, which was later reinforced by an act of Congress, but many continued to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the traditional date.
  • The earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday applied to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. This usage dates to at least 1961.
  • More than twenty years later, as the phrase became more widespread, a popular explanation became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to “turn a profit”, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black” on their ledgers.
  • For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or 4:00 a.m. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers opened at midnight for the first time.  In 2012, Walmart and several other retailers announced that they would open most of their stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, prompting calls for a walkout among some workers.  In 2014, stores such as JCPenney, Best Buy, and Radio Shack opened at 5:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day while stores such as Target, Walmart, Belk, and Sears opened at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and some other states observe “The Day After Thanksgiving” as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day.  States include Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, creates a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers, routinely making it the busiest shopping day of the year.
  • In the past few years, “Christmas creep” has been cited as a factor in the diminishing importance of Black Friday, as many retailers now spread out their promotions over the entire months of November and December, rather than concentrate them on a single shopping day or weekend.
  • Three states, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts, prohibit large supermarkets, big box stores, and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving, due to blue laws (designed to enforce religious standards).
  • It is common for prospective shoppers to camp out over the Thanksgiving holiday in an effort to secure a place in front of the line and thus a better chance at getting desired items. This can pose a safety risk, such as the use of propane, tents and generators in the most elaborate cases, and in general, the blocking of emergency access and fire lanes.
  • Historically, it was common for Black Friday sales to extend throughout the following weekend. However, this practice has largely disappeared in recent years, perhaps because of an effort by retailers to create a greater sense of urgency. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailers in the country, big and small, offer various sales including limited amounts of themed sales named “doorbuster”, “doorcrasher” and “doorsmasher” items to entice traffic.
  • In Canada, the large population centers on Lake Ontario and the Lower Mainland in Canada have always attracted cross-border shopping into the US states, and as Black Friday became more popular in the US, Canadians often flocked to the US because of their lower prices and a stronger Canadian dollar. After 2001, many were traveling for the deals across the border. More recently, due to the parity of the Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, several major Canadian retailers run Black Friday deals of their own to discourage shoppers from leaving Canada.
  • In the United Kingdom, the term “Black Friday” originated within the Police for the Friday before Christmas, a day where those services activated contingency to deal with the anticipated extra pressures put on the emergency services inherent in the larger than normal volumes of people going out on the final Friday before Christmas. Since the start of the 21st century, there have been attempts by retailers with origins in the US, such as Amazon, to introduce a retail “Black Friday” as it would be understood by Americans, into the United Kingdom. In 2013 Asda (a subsidiary of Walmart) announced its “Walmart’s Black Friday by ASDA” campaign promoting the American concept of a retail “Black Friday” in the UK.
  • In Mexico, Black Friday was the inspiration for the government and retailing industry to create an annual weekend of discounts and extended credit terms, El Buen Fin, meaning “the good weekend” in Spanish. El Buen Fin, when major retailers extend their store hours and offer special promotions, including extended credit terms and price promotions.
  • Recent trends in the US show over 250 million shoppers will spend beyond $50 billion in one day, followed by lesser yet meaningful sales on Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.

With the Dow Jones Industrials topping 19,000 this week, it’s no wonder what this year will bring.  Grab your hat and coat, jump in and have some shopping fun!


Steve’s Thanksgiving Leftovers

turkey 768 blog

This is now just a wonderful memory.


With me in the house, there are no thanksgiving leftovers. But I hear from friends and colleagues that there are some great recipes for such things. And here’s one you’ve just got to try:



Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 35 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: one 12-inch pizza
Level: Easy


• 1 pound pizza dough
• All-purpose flour, for dusting
• 1 teaspoon cornmeal
• 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 3/4 cup mashed potatoes
• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 teaspoons whole milk
• 1 cup prepared stuffing
• 1 roasted turkey (or chicken thigh), with skin
• 1/4 cup chunky cranberry sauce
• 1/4 cup gravy


Put a pizza stone or upside-down baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 500 degrees F. Stretch the pizza dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface. Dust a pizza peel or upside-down baking sheet with 1/2 teaspoon cornmeal and put the dough on top. Brush with the olive oil and sprinkle with the sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornmeal. Carefully slide onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet and bake until golden on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the mashed potatoes with 1/4 cup cheese and the milk in a bowl; set aside. Roll tablespoonfuls of the stuffing into 1-inch balls to look like meatballs. Shred the turkey meat and julienne the skin for flavor.

Slide the crust back onto the peel. Spread the cheddar mashed potatoes over the crust, then top with the shredded turkey. Spoon the cranberry sauce over the pizza and drizzle with the gravy. Arrange the stuffing balls on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the turkey skin.

Return the pizza to the oven and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 more minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Duff Goldman for Food Network Magazine. Read more and see a photo here.






A Whole Week of “Thanks” to All

Thanksgiving-Brownscombe 768 Blog

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914)


With Thanksgiving coming next week, I just want to say “THANKS”! Celebrating our 40th anniversary this year is amazing and exciting for the KHT Family.

All Our Thanks

  • To our wonderful customers who have trusted in us over the years.
  • To our reliable vendors who have supported us over the years.
  • To our hard-working staff who have made us great, time and again.
  • To all our friends, neighbors, and extended families – without your support, we could not have reached this milestone.
  • To Dad and Mom for providing the wisdom, encouragement, guidance and support all of these years.
  • And finally, to my wife and daughters – I am truly blessed.

May the blessings of Thanksgiving, the love of family, the nourishment of food and the goodwill of friends and family fill your homes this Thanksgiving week.

We are grateful for all you do.

And, on Thursday, may your toughest decision of the day be seconds or thirds or in my case fourths!