NPR Staff

The New England area where the Pilgrims first settled is cranberry country.

These early colonists likely enjoyed a version of cranberry sauce on their autumn tables — though it probably took the form of a rough, savory compote, rather than the sweet spin we're most familiar with.

For ideas on using this bitter red berry of the season in new ways this Thanksgiving, NPR Morning Edition's Renee Montagne turned to Chris Kimball, founder of America's Test Kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving from Hidden Brain! All of the research in this week's episode is geared toward helping you have a happier holiday, with tips to help you avoid three deadly Thanksgiving pitfalls: overeating, over-shopping, and fighting with your relatives.

For appetizers, we'll start with two of Shankar's Morning Edition radio stories.

Tiny computers have allowed us to do things that were once considered science fiction. Take the 1960s film, Fantastic Voyage, where a crew is shrunk to microscopic size and sent into the body of an injured scientist.

While we aren't shrinking humans quite yet, scientists are working with nanotechnology to send computers inside patients for a more accurate and specific, diagnosis.

If you are turkey-averse, turkeyphobic or just bored with the bird, fear not. We've got some other main dish ideas for you.

"What I think is cool is to put a center roast on the table that comes from the woods itself: something wild, something home-hunted, like venison," Amy Thielen, Minnesotan and author of The New Midwestern Table, tells All Things Considered's Ari Shapiro. Deer, says Thielen, is "one of those secret underground proteins in the American meat-eating story."

Domingo Martinez, author of The Boy Kings of Texas, recommends the podcast Crybabies, particularly the episode in which the hosts talk to comedian Guy Branum about the things that make him cry. For more great podcast recommendations, and another one of Martinez's favorite Crybabies episodes, visit

He's known for his starring roles on screens both big and small, but it's his lifetime role that inspired his latest book — that of a father.

Taye Diggs joined NPR's Michel Martin for a conversation about his new book, Mixed Me, which is inspired by his son, Walker, and focuses on a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

Interview Highlights

On what inspired him to write the book

Seeking sanctuary in a church is an ancient tradition. But it's been making modern headlines — some immigrants enter churches to find refuge from deportation.

Rosa Robles Loreto was among them. She migrated from her hometown in northern Mexico to Tucson 16 years ago, and stayed illegally after her visa expired. Since then she has worked as a maid, raising two sons, and found a community in her children's Little League team.

Days of speculation and anxiety followed the Paris attacks. Then, last week, the Paris prosecutor's office confirmed that two of the suicide bombers did pass through Greece last month as part of the wave of refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

In the U.S., the emotional debate about whether or not to shut Syrian refugees out altogether gained new traction in presidential politics.

If you're not a Spanish speaker, you won't know precisely what Carla Morrison is saying when she sings --but you can feel it. The Mexican alt-pop singer and songwriter has built a reputation over the past half-decade as a master of songs about love and longing, and her new album Amor Supremo is no different.

In a run-down stretch of Chicago's South Michigan Avenue, miles from the museums and skyscrapers, an army of foot-high paving stones stand on shelves along the street. It's a handmade memorial to honor the young people who have died at the hands of the city's street violence. A name is written on each of the 574 stones.

But they are not just names to Diane Latiker.

It's common wisdom that families should avoid talking about politics around the Thanksgiving table.

But if you're reading this, you might be in an NPR family. And coming up on election year — with polls and gaffes every day — won't it be hard to talk about Car Talk the whole night?

So we turned to Miss Manners, aka writer Judith Martin, to ensure our etiquette's up-to-date this holiday season.

For Martin, the age-old rule, "don't talk politics," still stands.

It was a secret rescue operation in Aleppo, Syria — a mission to save a family who, to protect their identity, are being called the Halabis.

They were reportedly the last Jews living in Syria's largest city. Miriam Halabi's son, in Brooklyn, asked a businessman to help get them out.

So the Halabis — 88-year-old Miriam, two daughters, a son-in-law and three children — embarked on a dangerous journey.

They hoped to find refuge in Israel, and Miriam Halabi and her daughter Sara were able to get visas.

Carly Simon was born into what looks, from a distance, like a charmed life: Her father Richard was the co-founder of Simon & Schuster, the family moved in glamorous circles, and she eventually came to record some of the most personal, poetic and popular songs of our time. But as she makes clear in her new memoir, there have been plenty of tumbles, too.

When the idea to write a Nordic cookbook landed on Magnus Nilsson's desk, he was against it. He says it was offensive that someone would think all of Nordic cuisine could fit, let alone belong, in one book.

"The Nordic is a geographical region, not really a cultural region," says the author, who's also head chef at the Michelin-starred Faviken restaurant, 400 miles north of Stockholm. "It's too big, and too varied." (It includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and several groups of autonomous islands.)

He eventually came around.

For those who like to try new recipes at Thanksgiving, let Clay Dunn and Zach Patton be your guides. They're the couple behind the food blog, The Bitten Word, and every year before the holiday, they scan 10 leading food magazines to identify recipe trends.

Each morning for the past decade, StoryCorps has been presenting interviews recorded in booths. But this year, StoryCorps created a smartphone app that gives anyone — even if they can't get to a booth — the ability to interview someone and save that recorded interview at the Library of Congress.

These interviews can be recorded anywhere, even in the parking lot of an Applebee's. That's where Kara Masteller sat with her grandfather, James Kennicott, and talked about life and love in Waterloo, Iowa — in Masteller's 1994 Buick.

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is generally celebrated with a bounty of food — and a mountain of leftovers, some of which, let's face it, will end up in the trash.

Thirty governors have now asked for the resettlement of Syrian refugees into their states to be stopped amid security concerns.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, was among those who joined the early call in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris. But just months ago, Kasich had encouraged President Obama to accept the refugees.

President Obama says he's intensifying his strategy against ISIS — a strategy that includes airstrikes, working with local fighters like the Kurdish peshmerga and stepping up diplomatic efforts.

But Sen. Lindsey Graham, who's running for the Republican presidential nomination, wants to the U.S. to do more. He wants to send in upwards of 10,000 ground forces as part of a coalition to fight ISIS, also known as ISIL.