The History of Thanksgiving Foods

Did the 1621 Thanksgiving feast look like ours 400 years later?

Quinn Fuerst, Cardinal Nation contributor

Were your favorite Thanksgiving foods eaten at the first Thanksgiving? 

The year 1621 was a crazy time with vastly different resources than we have now. So the question is – do we eat like the pilgrims and the Wampanoags? 

The star of the show, turkey, was actually probably eaten because they were popular food sources. In fact, the birds were often hunted.

The foods that people look forward to most, such as your grandma’s homemade mashed potatoes, were not at the first Thanksgiving because potatoes come from South America and were not in North America until the 1700’s. Cranberry sauce once again was not at the first Thanksgiving because of the lack of sugar and the primary use of cranberries was for dye.

Now corn might not be a staple for everyone’s Thanksgiving meal, but it was for sure at the first Thanksgiving based on it being one of the most popular crops at the time. Pilgrims liked pumpkins – in fact, they used to hollow them out with milk and honey to make a custard. Therefore, they would love  pumpkin pie.

Lobster now is not on the Thanksgiving day dinner table but it sure was back in 1621 because of the location and based on the fact that many people of the time ate a lot of seafood. 

Now personally I am not the biggest fan of potatoes and pumpkin pie, therefore I do not love Thanksgiving food like the average American. However, I do love seafood which makes me think I would enjoy the first Thanksgiving more than your 21st century Thanksgiving. I do not like pumpkin pie but I do love other pumpkin flavored foods such as pumpkin bread so I am very fascinated by the hollowed pumpkin recipe the pilgrims had.

From Cardinal Nation, Happy Thanksgiving!

To read more on the first Thanksgiving click the links below: