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The Turkey Ties That Bind: Award-Winning Restaurateurs Pay Homage To Family Traditions

Photo of traditional roast turkey dinner.
Creative Commons
Need a little help with your holiday? Restaurateurs Stephanie Tyson and Vivián Joiner share stories and tips."

The family Thanksgiving meal does not look quite like it used to for Winston-Salem chef and restaurateur Stephanie Tyson. Tyson is the chef and co-owner of the award-winning restaurant Sweet Potatoes, best known for its twist on Southern staples like sweet potato cornbread. 

Tyson says that as a kid Thanksgiving was a day of “entirely too much food.” The same goes for her partner and Sweet Potatoes co-owner Vivián Joiner who remembers a holiday table filled with at least three meats and even more starch dishes.

As an adult, Tyson kept the tradition alive by cooking an enormous meal for her family, but recently Thanksgiving became a much simpler affair after her mother and grandmother both passed away. The shift led Tyson to realize that it might be good for people to put more attention toward just gathering together for a communal meal rather than piling on the stress of a big production.  

Tyson and Joiner sit down with Frank Stasio to share their families’ culinary traditions and talk about their new Sunday Supper series. They also take listener questions on how to survive (and even thrive) during the holiday season. Tip number one, don’t microwave a turkey. 

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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