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217 Today: The rich history behind pumpkin and sweet potato pies

Pastry chef Carla Jones loads a trio of sweet potato pies onto a tray destined for the oven on Nov. 15 at Ol’ Henry’s Restaurant in Berkeley, Missouri. Sweet potato pie is a significant touchstone of African American culture, especially around Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Today’s headlines: 

  • Holiday shopping season is well underway, and child safety advocates are warning of the dangers of certain gifts.
  • Plans are in the works to construct a 2.3 mile rail trail in a rural area of Piatt County.
  • Benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, increased last month. 
  • The Urbana High School student council will host a Thanksgiving feast for people in Champaign-Urbana who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a Thanksgiving meal.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look at the history and cultural ties that influence why Americans may prefer one Thanksgiving pie over another.

Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Jim Meadows, Stephanie Mosqueda, Piper Pascarella and Chad Davis.

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Farrah Anderson

Farrah Anderson

Farrah Anderson is a student at the University of Illinois studying journalism. At Illinois Public Media, Anderson works as a general assignment reporter and produces and hosts the 217 Today podcast.

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