The contemporary Thanksgiving menu is a far cry from what the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe feasted on that historic autumn of 1621 to celebrate the colony’s first successful corn harvest. In fact, there is only one written account of the first Thanksgiving, and turkey isn’t mentioned.
And because the Pilgrims didn’t have a large sugar supply, the meal probably did not include pies, cakes, and other sweet treats either.
Nearly four centuries ago, diners likely enjoyed seal, swans, venison, and duck, perhaps prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods.
Eventually, however, the big meaty bird became a staple of the modern Thanksgiving dinner — along with sides dishes like mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and string beans, and desserts like pumpkin and pecan pies. And for that, we are very thankful!
The total weight of sweet potatoes produced by major sweet-potato-producing states in 2009. North Carolina led the country (940 million pounds), followed by California (592 million pounds), and Louisiana (162 million pounds).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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