Thanksgiving to me means jello salad and sweet potato, well, anything. Of course, we always have the bird to ooo and awe over, but really, it’s the jello salad. Did I mention the jello salad? While I am pretty sure my Grandma’s Cherry Cola Jello Salad recipe did not make its debut at the first Thanksgiving, the thought has kind of made me wonder…where the heck did the idea of traditional Thanksgiving dinner foods make come from?
Real Simple has a Thanksgiving timeline that outlines the staples: turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and of course, the green bean casserole. According to their article, the only food that we consider traditional Thanksgiving fare likely served at the “first” Thanksgiving would have been wild turkey–and it wouldn’t have taken center stage, like the bird does now. It would have been served with “oysters, venison, duck, and eel.” Those Plymoth Rock pilgrims pretty much invented “eat local.” 🙂 Green bean casserole is the baby of the bunch, officially hitting the scene around 1955.
I guess those deep-seeded traditions that we all hold so fondly aren’t really all that old. Could you imagine the look on the pilgrim’s faces if they sat down to a standard American Thanksgiving today? I guess “traditions” change with each generation more than I ever really stopped to consider.
What is your family’s favorite “traditional” Thanksgiving menu item?
Long live jello salad!