Turkey is the Main dish for Thanksgiving Celebrations, but Why?

Turkey is the Main dish for Thanksgiving day Celebrations, but Why

One question I always wondered was why turkey for the Thanksgiving day meal? We decided to do some research and share with you the reason, and it’s not quite as historic as you might think. The original meal was probably shared unintentionally one historian noted, apparently the Wampanoag tribe was not invited, but just showed up. Another tidbit was that only a few wild turkeys may have been eaten during the original meal because they were hard to come by, therefore seafood was the meat of choice and much more popular. Chicken and turkey remained a luxury item for the wealthiest in American for subsequent centuries.


Pies were the dominant choice for most early thanksgiving day meals, made with beef, pork, or even chicken. These were much more popular with the everyday family, used as replacements to the luxury turkey. At this time in America, even lobsters, oysters and clams were more affordable and easily accessible choices for the feast. The Department of the Interior even went as far as to declare oysters a Thanksgiving Day tradition back in a 1954 press release. So if you are an oyster lover, you now have a reason to celebrate the holiday by shucking, cooking or preparing your oysters in any way you see fit

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There was a magazine editor who had some significant influence in President Lincoln’s White House, and may be the origin source of turkey eventually becoming the staple of the American Thanksgiving. In a novel she wrote on the perfect Thanksgiving day meal, she described it this way:

“The roasted turkey took precedence on this occasion, being placed at the head of the table; and well did it become its lordly station, sending forth the rich odor of its savory stuffing, and finely covered with the froth of the basting.”

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