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Gobbling Up an American Tradition on the Web

November 15, 2001|MICHELLE MALTAIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Thanksgiving is a tradition of breaking bread--and diets--with friends and family near and far.

The first feast in 1621 included Pilgrims, who traveled from England, and the Wampanoag people, a Native American tribe. Get a little history on this nation of "eastern people" at www.tolatsga.org/wampa.html.

At www.bham.wednet.edu/thanks.htm, you'll also find a starting point to travel through various representations of history. Visit www.msstate.edu/Archives /History/USA/colonial/first-thanksgiving- proclamation to read the first Thanksgiving proclamation.

Yes, the holiday is about history, family and being grateful and all that. But what about the food? The Food Network dishes up advice and recipes at www.foodtv.com/holidays/thanksgivingindex. A turkey calculator assesses how long to cook the bird. (Don't forget to thaw it and take out the innards first.) The pie section offers recipes and demonstrations that aim to teach how to handle dough like a pro.

The FoodTV site also has tips to keep cooks from boiling over during the holiday. And, of course, it includes the TV network's schedule for its Thanksgiving-themed shows on Saturday, Sunday and Nov 22.

Check foodgeeks.com/seasonal for mouthwatering recipes for everything from the bird to the berries. There's also a printable checklist for the holiday feast.

One of the best (and worst) things about a huge Thanksgiving meal is leftovers. Diabetic-Lifestyle, at www.diabetic-life style.com/articles/nov98_dinne_1.htm, offers some pretty decent recipes for reconstituting turkey.

Keep the kids out of the kitchen with activities at www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/ thanks.html. They can tackle questions such as why potatoes weren't served at the first Thanksgiving feast or do word searches and decipher the referee's body language. The site also has links to Thanksgiving history and lets kids send a holiday e-mail.

Check out www.holidays.net/thanksgiving, where visitors can adopt a turkey and find holiday pictures to print and color, recipes and e-greeting cards.

At wilstar.net/holidays/thanksgv.htm and www.benjerry.com/thanksgiving (yes, Ben & Jerry's), find activities from games to coloring to making place tags or a New England village.

And who said Thanksgiving has to be only one day?

Check out rats2u.com/thanksgiving /thanksgiving_events.htm#events for related events, from parades and pow wows to football.

Enough with the elbows on the table and the eating with the hands. SoYouWanna.com offers a primer on table manners at www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/table manners/tablemanners.html.

Of course, before the utensils work hard enough to produce sparks, many families bless the food. Ever been charged with that, uh, honor? Go to www.night.net/thanksgiving for help with the eloquence. The site offers various prayers, blessings and graces. It also has representations of early Thanksgiving-related documents. In the section with recipes and serving ideas, there also are hotlines to talk turkey.

Giving thanks can extend beyond the dinner table. Some folks might want to send a message to the U.S. soldiers abroad this Thanksgiving. At usmilitary.about .com/library/milinfo/uccsupportsubmit.htm, you can address a message of 100 words or less to "any service member."

Families and friends of Navy and Marine Corps service members on active duty can send a message from www.navymars.org.

There's also www.youremyhero.org, where visitors compose supportive messages to the U.S. military, firefighters, police and emergency services workers.

And in this time of feast and celebration, folks can make a donation to help feed the hungry here and abroad at www.thehungersite.com and www.stop thehunger.com/hunger.

Michelle Maltais is a broadcast producer and copy editor at The Times. She can be reached at michelle.maltais@latimes.com.

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