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Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner (Miscellaneous)

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Tags: thanksgiving (2 pics)

The centerpiece of contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada is a large meal, generally centered around a large roasted turkey. The majority of the dishes in the traditional American version of Thanksgiving Dinner are made from foods native to the New World, according to tradition the Pilgrims received these foods from the Native Americans. However, many of the classic traditions attributed to the first Thanksgiving are actually myths introduced later.

A very similar dinner is often served on Christmas and New Year's Day.

Historical Menus

The use of the turkey in the USA for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln's nationalization of the holiday in 1863 (154 years ago). Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no "Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day", but turkey was uncommon as Thanksgiving fare until after 1800 (217 years ago). By 1857 (160 years ago) turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England.

A Thanksgiving Day dinner served to the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 (82 years ago) included: Pickles, green olives, celery, roast turkey, oyster stew, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, dressing, creamed asparagus tips, snowflake potatoes, baked carrots, hot rolls, fruit salad, mince meat pie, fruit cake, candies, grapes, apples, French drip coffee, cigars and cigarettes.

Customs

Normally a Thanksgiving Dinner in the United States bears a good deal of resemblance to another feast served at Christmas: the centerpiece at both is most often a turkey. However, the spirits of these occasions are usually different: the family and friends present at a Thanksgiving table are not expected to give gifts to each other, for example, and the point of the meal is to reflect upon and be thankful for the things that have passed over the last year as well as reconnect with the people one holds close. While most hosts will say a short prayer before the start of the meal, this is not obligatory and there is no overt religious significance to the holiday. (It is not uncommon for people of very different religious backgrounds to gather around the table, e.g., if one's host is Jewish and one is a Christian there is no obligation for either to recite the birkat.)

Turkey

Because turkey is the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving is sometimes colloquially called Turkey day or poultry day. In 2006 (11 years ago), American turkey growers were expected to raise 270 million turkeys, to be processed into five billion pounds of turkey meat valued at almost $8 billion, with one third of all turkey consumption occurring in the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, and a per capita consumption of almost 18 pounds.

Most Thanksgiving turkeys are stuffed with a bread-based stuffing and roasted. Sage is the traditional herb added to the stuffing (also called dressing), along with chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Deep-fried turkey is rising in popularity, requiring special fryers to hold the large bird, and reportedly leading to fires and bad burns for those who fail to take care when dealing with a large quantity of very hot oil. In more recent years it is also true that as the wild population of turkeys has rebounded in most of the US, some will hunt and dress their turkey in the woods and then freeze it until meal preparation.


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