Many dishes have become the norm for Thanksgiving, but how many of those foods actually were at the first one?
I went to a Thanksgiving buffet this past weekend with some friends. And I saw all the same dishes that I’m preparing for my own Thanksgiving meal. The green bean casserole with the French fried onions on top. The turkey, the ham, the mashed potatoes and gravy. Rolls, cranberry sauce and an assortment of pies. We’ve all pretty much gotten used to making the same dishes every year for the holiday.
But I’ve never stopped to wonder just how authentic those dishes are compared to the very first Thanksgiving. Did the pilgrims even have French fried onions? So I did what I do. I looked it up. According to familysearch.org, turkey most likely was eaten at the first Thanksgiving. Since wild turkey was easily accessible to those who were living in the newly-settled area of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Mashed potatoes, however, were nowhere near the table on the first Thanksgiving. Potatoes weren’t even introduced to the American colonists until the 1700s (familysearch.org). And since the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621, and the pilgrims didn’t have Morty McFly and his time machine, there weren’t ANY potatoes. Let alone mashed ones.
Cranberry sauce also was most likely missing from the first Thanksgiving table. Since there wasn’t a lot of sugar in 1621. Plus the cranberry was so new to the pilgrims at that time, they wouldn’t even know how to sauce those little guys. At that time, the Wampanoag people were using the cranberry to dye clothing (familysearch.org). Pumpkin pie was also not likely there. While the pilgrims did make foods out of pumpkins, they didn’t have the ingredients to make a crust that is needed for a pie.
So many of our traditional Thanksgiving dishes weren’t at the first Thanksgiving feast. So then, what was?
If you’re looking to make a REALLY authentic Thanksgiving this year, try adding one of these to your meal. -Wendy Rush, 96.3KKLZ