Where did all the yummy food we eat at Thanksgiving originate from? If you sat a Pilgrim down at your Thanksgiving table today, they would recognize most of the food. Amongst the items eaten that first Thanksgiving day were deer, fish, lobster and clams. These items may seem like unusual Thanksgiving items today but they also had fruit, squash, and pumpkin, among many other foods!

 

Turkey has always been the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, making it only proper that it is the main course for this All American holiday. What may surprise you is that before DNA, genetics or Europeans showed up, residents of the Americas had already been molding these foods for thousands of years.  Despite the name, the turkey is from here. Ben Franklin actually preferred the turkey to the eagle for America’s national bird. Turkeys were hugely important to many early American cultures. Turkeys are one of the few domesticated animals that is actually native to the Americas. 

 

About 2,000 years ago, a new Native American cultures realized that breeding birds in captivity domestically was way easier than chasing them through the forest. Luckily, the birds pooped a lot and archeologists were able to ascertain that a single turkey lineage was maintained in the area for over 1,000 years. Today’s turkeys do not bear much resemblance to the birds that waddled among the pilgrims and Native Americans. In fact, since 1930, the average weight of a turkey has doubled.

 

Other dishes have become just as traditional as the turkey itself. Turkey is usually served with stuffing. This is a bread-based dish with a blend of herbs and spices. In many parts of the country, white or wheat bread is used to prepare the dressing. In the South, however, it is much more traditional to use cornbread. 

 

Other traditional food items include corn, green beans, yams, deviled eggs, rolls, biscuits and more! Dessert brings even more traditional Thanksgiving staples. The most popular is pumpkin pie, with pumpin being native to North America. Aside from pumpkin pie, other pies are also popular including apple, pecan and peach.  These food items help to make Thanksgiving the special day that it is!