Many believe that the turkey was not part of the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving Day celebration. Goose was thought to be the bird of choice. But when they landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims brought with them a domesticated version of the bird. Apparently, it was transported to Europe in the early sixteenth century. With help from the indigenous Indians, the new settlers captured native wild turkeys and bred them with their domesticated version.
An article from www.theholidayspot.com titled, “The Turkey, its Traditions, and how it got associated with Thanksgiving,” explained that in a letter to his homeland, a Pilgrim named Edward Winslow wrote that the governor sent four men to hunt for fowl and they returned with geese, ducks, and turkeys. The same article mentions the 1854 discovery of another document in which the author states that he feasted on turkeys. These bits of information lead some to believe that the large bird was indeed part of that first post-harvest thanksgiving feast in 1621.
It is quite possible that cranberries were also part of that first Thanksgiving. Native to North America, the fruit was introduced to the Pilgrims by the Indians. It was originally called crane berry or craine berry because its drooping flowers and head resembled a crane. The Indians dried the berries for consumption or used them to preserve deer meat. States a www.ehow.com article, cranberry sauce was made popular by Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Petersburg during the Civil War. He introduced it to his soldiers during their Thanksgiving meal.
Green Beans too may have been part of the first post-harvest feast. The native Indians showed the Pilgrims how to grow the vegetable with corn so it could use the cornstalks as columns. But in her article, “Green Beans have no place on a Thanksgiving Menu,” www.slate.com, Juliet Lapidos writes that the green bean casserole was actually a promotional stint created by the Campbell Soup Company in 1955 that somehow found its way onto the Thanksgiving menu in the 1960’s.
“The Turkey, its Traditions, and how it got associated with Thanksgiving.” www.theholidayspot.com.
“The History of Cranberry Sauce.” www.ehow.com.
Juliet Lapidos, “Green Beans have no place on a Thanksgiving Menu.” www.slate.com.