The Weekend Wrap


This weekend on the Dish, we explored the Thanksgiving holiday and its capitalist corollary, Black Friday, along with providing our usual literary and cultural coverage.

In Thanksgiving coverage, Mark Perry celebrated America's abundance of affordable food, Anna Spiegel outlined the process by which the turkey President Obama pardoned was chosen, Michaeleen Doucleff was impressed by an algorithm that predicts how successful a recipe will be, Tara Parker-Pope fact-checked diet food companies' claims about Thanksgiving caloric intake, and farm-bred turkeys turned out to be both threatened by climate change and subjected to cruelty on their way to your table. Stephen Marche urged us to ignore the foodies and indulge in Thanksgiving feasting, Elizabeth Gunnison explained how to salvage burned dishes, Rosecrans Baldwin deemed Thanksgiving a holiday for adults, and Shamus Khan provided a short history lesson on those who have to work on holidays. Hesham Hassaballa pondered God's gratitude, Akim Reinhardt debunked myths about Thanksgiving's origins, Rachel Shukert nominated Thanksgiving to replace Christmas as our biggest holiday a reader told a story of holiday political discussions, Madeleine Johnson investigated the dark history of cranberries, and Dana Gunder noted how much food we waste. Don't miss the Thanksgiving Hathos alert here and master storyteller Ed Gavagan's Thanksgiving tale here.

We also dissected the mania of Black Friday shopping. Farhad Manjoo declared that Black Friday is for suckers while Kevin Roose called it a behavioral economist's nightmare, Dorian Warren supported the Wal-Mart strike, The Week explored Black Friday's history and recent rebranding, and Rebecca Greenfield explicated why we delight in the frantic day of shopping. Josie Leavitt lamented that she no longer receives books as gifts as Reddit offered a lively thread on gifts that men are tired of getting.

In literary and culture news, Maria Popova noticed a fascinating episode in the ongoing relationship between food and literature, Dustin Kurtz reflected on reading Moby-Dick aloud, Yuga Igarashi couldn't escape the editing mindset, Adam Kirsch examined literature's connection to history, Robert Krulwich consulted Montaigne on what death feels like, Jessica Vivian Chiu ruminated on the nature of friendship, and Matthew Lee Anderson extolled intellectual empathy. Casey N. Cep considered the way poets eulogize one another, Matthew Bell speculated about the impact of Lincoln's barber, Bee Wilson learned about how the development of cutlery impacted the alignment of our jaws and teeth, Christopher Harding reflected on the role of psychology in religion, and Roger Forsgren profiled the Nazi architect Albert Speer. Charles Simic observed how places can trigger old memories, Megan Garber kept an eye on the Grim Reaper, John Horgan struggled with teaching evolution to students who believe in creationism, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie expounded on boredom's relationship to disgust, and Jason Wilson encouraged his students to stretch their tastebuds when tasting wine. Read Saturday's poem here and Sunday's here.

In assorted coverage, Michelle Andrews reported that cannabis co-pays don't exist, morning wood had its health benefits elucidated, Nell Lake set forth the risks that come with increased Cesarean section births, a new study suggested that music can result in an effect similar to runner's high, Nathan Heller noticed the Internet is getting nicer, and Matt Zoller Seitz reviewed Ken Burns' latest documentary about the Dust Bowl. Vaughan Bell highlighted time-sensitive sexual taboos, Marian Stamp Dawkins defined animal welfare, the Internet generated the rave's second wind, Violet Blue feared the introduction of facial-recognition software into porn, Jesse Gamble related how bears have coped with climate change, the universe proved to be past its prime in terms of making stars, and the charms of Sunday dinners with family were remembered. MHBs here, here, here, and here. FOTDs here, here, here, and here. VFYWs here, here, here, and here, and the latest window contest here.

– M.S.

(Rocio Fernandez greets her grandson Max Bazsn, 7, as families reunite at National Airport for Thanksgiving. By Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images.)