Saturday, November 19, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving – A Holiday Menu Review

From the days of the Pilgrims Harvest Festival to today's modern celebrations, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated throughout America each year.



Thanksgiving became a National Holiday in 1863 when President Lincoln issued a proclamation. But actually, it wasn't until 1941 that Thanksgiving officially had the set date as the fourth Thursday in November. President Roosevelt officially changed the date of Thanksgiving in 1941 to be the second-to-last Thursday in November.


Thanksgiving Menus


Source: Pixabay

The First Thanksgiving was actually a Harvest festival held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. It was to celebrate a successful growing season and the menu included all the fresh vegetables harvested at that time.


History tells us that the menu included freshly killed deer, assorted wildfowl (including wild turkey), fish, and flint, a native variety of corn harvested by the Native Americans, which was eaten as corn bread and porridge. The harvest vegetables included onions,  peas, beans, squash, cabbage and carrots. 


*Note: Not served were potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet corn or stuffing. 


Source: Pixabay

Today, our modern Thanksgiving menu traditionally consists of turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pie. Although, many dishes are ever-changing because of current food trends and different dietary requirements. 


A Thanksgiving Menu from World War II Days


Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Caitlyn Byrne

A "Thanksgiving Dinner Menu," dated Nov. 26, 1942, included roast young turkey, chicken a la princess, cranberry sauce, oyster dressing, Russian salad, mixed candy, assorted nuts, pumpkin pie, cigars, cigarettes and café noir.


The menu even included a poem for inspiration:


"This is the table, lads, grab you a seat, 

Thanksgiving this year is Uncle Sam's treat;

The café noir

Is not rationed by far

And neither, my lads, is the meat!

So eat!"


Summary 


Favorite Thanksgiving traditions, menus and recipes are shared by many of the contributors on Review This Reviews in a number of interesting and delicious reviews. Click here for a fun list of articles and recipes to read. 


Happy Thanksgiving!



*Thanksgiving Review written by Wednesday Elf





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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15 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading the Thanksgiving menu from 1942, WWII - and the poem is a nice tough as well. Have a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

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    1. Thanks Barbara. I got a kick out of the WWII menu that included 'cigarettes'. LOL. Hope you enjoyed your Canadian Thanksgiving last month!

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  2. How interesting that neither white nor sweet potatoes, sweet corn nor stuffing were served at the first Thanksgiving. i also enjoyed seeing Thanksgiving menu for soldiers during WWII (this is the first time I have seen cigarettes listed on a dinner menu!) and, especially, the poem. Thanks for sharing these glimpses into Thanksgivings past.

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    1. I know, Margaret. The lack of potatoes at that first Thanksgiving dinner really surprised me too. With all the veggies the Pilgrims grew, you'd think potatoes would be included. And I guess sweet corn wasn't a crop back then.

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  3. I also enjoyed the menu from 1942, and the poem was the best. Where ever did you fond this? Thanks so much for the little history lesson I really enjoyed your review Pat.

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    1. Thanks, Sam. I found the poem and dinner menu from 1942 in some World War II history I was reading. Actually, I think it was in some stuff I found from my father-in-law's time in the Air Force back in the 1940s. I found it so interesting that I saved it to include here.

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  4. What a fun and interesting read, thank you for that! Happy Thanksgiving to all our American Writers and Readers of Review This Reviews.com! Wishing you all the very best!

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    1. Thanks, Olivia. I always enjoy reading about your Canadian Thanksgiving too in many reviews here on RTR.

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  5. Very interesting. Happy Thanksgiving

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  6. I couldn't help but laugh when I read the menu for the first Thanksgiving! I am sure we would have been thankful for the food and would have loved it, but I doubt my family would eat deer, peas, & cabbage today. We are pretty spoiled to our butterball turkey, sweet potato casserole & pumpkin pie! Happy Thanksgiving and thank your for the look back in history. Now, pass the potatoes please :)

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    1. Thanksgiving menus are all what you grew up with and expect each time, Mouse. I agree with you that the menu from long-ago would not appeal to most of today's appetites. And to not even have potatoes at the first dinner? Hard to believe.

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  7. Thank you for your interesting review, love the poem and the Thanksgiving menu from World War II. It is fascinating to see how the Thanksgiving menu changed over time. Wishing you and all who celebrate a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving!!

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Raintree Annie. I'll have an extra slice of pumpkin pie in your honor. :)

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  8. It is interesting how Thanksgiving menus have evolved over the years. I wonder how Canadians and Americans managed to come up with different dates for their celebrations!

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