Thanksgiving Foods: Then & Now

Did you know most of America’s Thanksgiving favorites didn’t originate in America or were even at  what we think of as the first Thanksgiving? The first Thanksgiving was not graced with favorites like:

Pumpkin pie
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Cranberry sauce


While pumpkins were often natively grown in the Americas, Eastern colonies did not have wheat or butter to be able to make the crusts, hence, no pumpkin pie (or anything made from wheat or butter for that matter). White potatoes had not arrived in North America yet, since they’re a crop originating in South America, which means no mashed potatoes. Another Thanksgiving favorite, sweet potatoes, came later from the Caribbean. Cranberries had not thought to be made into a sauce at the time, and wouldn’t be until quite a bit later.

The turkey itself is a more recent addition! Back in the colonial days, they may have caught and cooked wild turkey, but it was much more likely that they enjoyed goose, duck, pigeon, and venison. When Thanksgiving became a more widely-celebrated holiday, a turkey was ranked above the common goose and below the more decadent swan and peacock, allowing commoners to feel as if they were celebrating while also not breaking the bank.

We could write another whole article about the historical drama, and evolution, of Thanksgiving. Click here for an informative article published by The Takeout about how propaganda turned Thanksgiving from a New England tradition celebrating surviving the first winter, to a controversial reconstruction-era holiday, to the mostly-fictional reenactment we see today of the “first dinner”.

We are thankful today, and every day, for our subscribers and farmers!

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