What Was Really Served at The First Thanksgiving

What are some of the fruits and vegetables you have for your Thanksgiving meal? Have you thought about which ones may have been served at the First Thanksgiving? I don’t know that there is any record of what was served but there are possibilities of what was and what wasn’t.

As far as fruits and vegetables:

Pumpkin and other squashes may have been served at the First Thanksgiving although not necessarily as a pie. There are many delicious ways to serve pumpkin. Bread, cookies, mashed with a little butter mixed in or with cinnamon and/or cloves. Pumpkin can also be mixed half and half with potatoes for a nutritious buttery look.

So called “Irish” potatoes are not from Ireland but are instead from the New World and may have been served at the original harvest festival.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes
Although sweet potatoes are native to the Americas I don’t know if they would have been in the area but it is doubtful they would have been served with nuts, brown sugar, and marshmallows. Those things labelled as yams at your local store are actually sweet potatoes. Yams are a different thing entirely and not available so far at your local store if you live in the U.S. Sweet potatoes can be baked and served with butter, cut and baked as homestyle oven fries, mixed with potatoes for hashbrown, or baked into a pie similar to pumpkin pie. Sweet potatoes can also be eaten raw.

Cranberries grow in and are native to the Northeastern United States so it is certainly possible that they were part of the meal. One of my favorite ways to have cranberries is this cranberry sauce recipe. Cranberries can also be baked in muffins or bread or made into a juice. One relative of the cranberry – blueberries – may also have been at this meal.

Corn may not be top of the list for the Thanksgiving menu for many people. Some do serve it either as succotash or corn bread stuffing or by itself. As a crop of the New World it could have been served. What is succotash you say? One version is a mixture of sweet corn and shelled beans (often lima beans).

Beans are also not on everyone’s list as a Thanksgiving dish except maybe in a green bean/mushroom soup dish with crunchy onions on top. This recipe was not around at that time. Lima beans are native to Guatemala and although I don’t know if they had made it so far north by that time there were other beans available. Most likely dried beans were served instead of green beans.

Grapes were found in the New World and may have been eaten fresh or used for juice, wine, or dried (raisins).

It is also likely that whatever seeds where brought from the Old World and had a good harvest that year were also served.  These foods may not have looked like what we are in the habit of seeing or they may have been things that many today do not consider to be food. Carrots were purple at this time. Dandelions were brought by various groups who used them for food and medicine so it is possible that dandelions were served.