Thursday is Thanksgiving and it will be time to sit down and devour the traditional thanksgiving meal. My wife and I had a lengthy discussion the other night about what is a traditional  Thanksgiving meal. We both grew up with our mothers serving different food items at Thanksgiving. Of course along with the Turkey and mashed potatoes, the side dishes that our mothers served were different. My mother always served green beans and sweet pickles along with the turkey, Roxie’s mom always served scalloped corn and lefsa. So what is a traditional Thanksgiving meal?

I did some interesting research and found it to be fascinating about how Thanksgiving got started and the foods that have been served. This was taken from Wikipedia

According to what traditionally is known as “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony contained waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash. William Bradford noted that, “besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.”  Many of the foods that were included in the first feast (except, notably, the seafood) have since gone on to become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner.

The use of the turkey in the US for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln’s nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no “Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day,” and Benjamin Franklin had high regard for the wild turkey as an American icon, but turkey was uncommon as Thanksgiving fare until after 1800. By 1857, turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England.

Many offerings are typically served alongside the main dish—so many that, because of the amount of food, the Thanksgiving meal is sometimes served midday or early afternoon to make time for all the eating, and preparation may begin at dawn or on days prior. Leftovers are also common following the meal properly.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal often has something of a ritual or traditional quality. Many Americans would say it is “incomplete” without cranberry sauce, stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and brussels sprouts. Other commonly served dishes include winter squash and sweet potatoes, Fresh, canned, or frozen corn is popular and green beans are frequently served; in particular, green bean casserole. A fresh salad may be included, especially on the West Coast. Bread rolls or biscuits and cornbread, especially in the South and parts of New England, are served. For dessert, various pies are usually served, particularly pumpkin pie, though apple pie, mincemeat pie and pecan pie are often served as well.

There are also regional differences as to the stuffing or dressing traditionally served with the turkey. The traditional version has bread cubes, sage, onion and celery. Southerners generally make their dressing from cornbread, while those in other parts of the country make stuffing from white, wheat or rye bread as the base.

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? This is what Roxie is cooking up Thursday. Turkey breast, chicken (from the Kipp Stender farm) mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, squash with apples in it, scalloped corn, biscuits and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. To me that is the perfect Thanksgiving meal and thankful for my wife who loves to cook on Thanksgiving. I will put the dishes in the dishwasher for my contribution to the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!!


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