Yesterday one of my blogger friends, who’s a native Minnesotan, posted a picture on Twitter with this copy: “It’s always cheesy potato hot dish time.” As a native Iowan, her tweet brought a smile to my face as I thought about how a North Central Iowa potluck or family holiday wouldn’t be complete without “cheesy potato casserole.”
Thoughts of cheesy potato casserole quickly shifted to traditional Thanksgiving holiday recipes. Quite honestly, I assumed every American family must feast on turkey, potatoes, corn, cranberries and pumpkin pie like the Pilgrims and Indians. Then my inquiring mind started to wonder what the pilgrims even ate at the first Thanksgiving…
Wildfowl venison, as well as grain in the form of bread or porridge absolutely were part of the harvest celebration shared by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony in 1621, according to the Smithsonian. Governor William Bradford described the autumn of 1621 as follows: “And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys.” He also mentions that they’d begun eating Indian corn after the harvest.
Correspondence written by the colonists prove they planted gardens in the spring of 1621. In later documents, the colonists mention growing turnips, carrots, onions, garlic and pumpkins. Historians interested in researching the first Thanksgiving meal also studied foods served at traditional English celebrations during this same period.
“You see lots of pies in the first course and in the second course, meat and fish pies. To cook a turkey in a pie was not terribly uncommon. But it is like, no, the pastry isn’t there.” The colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts, according to the Smithsonian. (While the Pilgrims didn’t have pumpkin pie, there’s a chance they enjoyed pumpkin pudding.)
Knowing that people tend to make the most of what they have available – like Lobster Mac & Cheese in Maine and Clam Dressing in Massachusetts – I’m curious about what recipes your family enjoys for Thanksgiving. It will be fun to hear about “iconic Thanksgiving recipes” by region.
The team at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds will send a complimentary wooden spoon, spatula, cutting board or hand towel to anyone who shares his/her favorite Thanksgiving recipe by Nov. 22! Simply e-mail us your hometown, state and recipe to Marketing@LathamSeeds.com.
Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Because I enjoy meal planning so much, I’ve linked to enough recipes to make a complete meal:
- Herbed Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (This recipe is simple and delicious, which frees me up to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or thumb through Black Friday ads!)
- The best dang mashed potatoes (Trust me, we don’t save this recipe just for holidays! It’s one of our family’s favorite side dishes.)
- German green beans or green bean casserole
- Traditional Dressing or Scalloped Oysters
- 60-Minute Rolls or homemade beer bread topped with herb butter or Cajun butter
- Cran-Apple Jell-O mold
- Butternut Squash Casserole (see recipe below)