Recreate the First Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving feast is legendary. This is, after all, what began the Thanksgiving tradition. This year, host a truly traditional holiday feast that mimics the first Thanksgiving menu. This historically inspired Thanksgiving party will be a festive way to celebrate the holidays.
You might think that this feast would be the same as what we now eat at Thanksgiving. Our modern-day meal is modeled after the first Thanksgiving meal, after all. It may be surprising to learn that the first Thanksgiving foods were actually not the same as those we eat at Thanksgiving today.
Take a look at the suggestions below to start planning a menu full of the first Thanksgiving food:
- Mains: It may come as a surprise that the main dishes served at the first Thanksgiving feast were not the same as the dishes we eat now. While the pilgrims would have had turkey, they would have also enjoyed numerous other meats. This all depended upon what was seasonally available. At the time, popular meats were waterfowl and venison as well as seafood such as lobster and clams. We don’t usually think of Thanksgiving as a time to eat seafood, but for an authentic Thanksgiving menu, be sure to include a seafood portion.
- Sides: Side dishes would have also been created based on what ingredients were available at the time. Familiar ingredients would have included pumpkin and berries, such as cranberries. Corn was also a major part of this meal. However, it is unlikely that corn on the cob was served, as this preparation was considered suitable for peasants. Rather, corn may have been eaten in the form of “samp,” a corn-based oatmeal. Onions were another popular side dish at the time and would pair well with the rest of the dishes in a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
- Dessert: Unlike the meal we know and love today, dessert was not actually a major part of the first Thanksgiving menu. Favorite items, like pies, were probably not very popular at the time. This was due to the limited sugar supply brought by the pilgrims on their ships, as well as the fact that there were no ovens. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make your favorite pie for Thanksgiving! For a traditional dessert, whip up a batch of pudding to accompany your pies, or experiment with a classic bread pudding.
These are just a few suggestions for an original menu, just like the one eaten on the first Thanksgiving. To truly celebrate this holiday the right way, be sure to include a “giving thanks” portion in which everyone at your table says what they are thankful for. This may or may not have been something the original Thanksgiving guests did, but it will certainly emanate the original feelings that inspired the first Thanksgiving meal. Happy Thanksgiving!
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