Thanksgiving always makes me think of family, friends, food (and football!). Most of us picture turkey on the table for our holiday meal, along with cranberries and pumpkin pie. However it may surprise some to know that it’s not even certain if turkey was on the menu of the Plymouth Colony members back in 1621 when they shared a feast with the Indians in the region. Actually, according to Godfrey Hodgson, author of A Great and Godly Adventure, it’s pretty unlikely that turkey was even available in the area and probably the larger part of the meal was deer brought by the Indians. If there was bird at the table at that time, it was most likely geese or duck. The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson agrees with this scenario but does say that turkey was probably on the menu at the next recorded Thanksgiving in 1623.
Somehow deer on the table doesn’t hold the same homey picture as a stuffed turkey in my mind. If you need ideas on what to serve up for Thanksgiving, check out the holiday cookbooks at your local library and don’t feel compelled to confine yourself to turkey now that you know it probably wasn’t on the table back in 1621. Whatever you end up serving, be sure to enjoy it with those around you.