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Thanksgiving Menus

Updated on August 12, 2012
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.


The Original Thanksgiving Menu

Today's American Thanksgiving menus have little in common with the feast that started it all back in the 1600s.

The meat that was mentioned was "wild fowl". Historians believe this could have been anything from wild turkey to duck. There would have been corn as it was cultivated by the Wampanoags and would have been readily available. It is also likely that pumpkin and winter squash would have been served as vegetables. Other items that may have graced that first Thanksgiving table were:

  • Seafood like lobster, oysters, eel, clams
  • Fish both salt water and fresh water types
  • Rabbit
  • Venison
  • Greens
  • Turnips
  • Beans
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Dried blueberries and other wild berries

Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving menus have gone through a lot of changes over the years. Following are some menus that are sure to fit your idea of the perfect Thanksgiving.


A Victorian Thanksgiving Menu

Victorians loved a party and Thanksgiving fit that bill quite nicely. The Thanksgiving menu in the Victorian household was likely to be an extravagant series of courses served for hours. Since most people in the 21st century would prefer to be able to walk away from the table here is a menu that is based a Victorian Menu of the mid 1880s.

Be sure to decorate your table with a variety of fruit and nuts tumbling out of a basket to complete the Victorian ambiance.

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pistachios image(c)maryeaudet2008
Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pistachios image(c)maryeaudet2008

Vegetarian/ Vegan Thanksgiving Menus

There is no reason to forgo Thanksgiving if you are a vegetarian. There are plenty of ways to enjoy all of the Thanksgiving goodness while giving the turkey a break.

More Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Menus:

Family Favorite Thanksgiving Menu

This is the menu that many people remember from their childhoods. Seems like there are variations and additions to it all over the country but the basic menu remains the same.

If you want to change it up a little try some different side dishes

If you were a kid in the 50s, 60s, or 70s you may remember this one.


A Sophisticated Menu

Sometimes you are not in a time of your life when you gather at the table with generations of relatives. There are times that Thanksgiving is smaller, lower key, and depending on your circumstances, more upscale. This menu is perfect for a quiet, but delicious, Thanksgiving.

Don't Forget to Give Thanks

Of course the best thing about Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the food.  It is, after all, the time of year when the whole country stops and remembers how much we are blessed.  It is a wonderful world despite what we hear on the news.

Each year that you can gather with family and friends is one more year to be thankful for. 


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    • RichieMogwai profile image

      Richie Mogwai 

      5 years ago from Vancouver

      Oh well, what do you know, just delicious. I guess I missed the boat on this one. Anyhow, next year. Thanks for sharing!

    • betherickson profile image


      9 years ago from Minnesota

      I love thanksgiving and it's been a tradition to us. This menu would definitely in my list of recipes. Thanks for your info.

    • Dottie1 profile image


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Everything in your Thanksgiving menu hub sounds wonderful and I'm printing this out for the many recipe links you have listed. With Thanksgiving right around the corner now this will be very handy. Thank you.

    • Geneva Vinas profile image

      Geneva Vinas 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Can't wait for Thanksgiving ... I'm a traditionalist myself. I may make all the interesting side dishes etc., but what I want to eat is huge plate of turkey, mashed potatos, and stuffing. Mmmmm!

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Lissie, for many of us it is the same menu...or nearly so...Christmas is a bit more dessert oriented here at my house though

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      9 years ago from New Brunswick

      Great food suggestions although Thanksgiving in Canada has passed this year, there is always next.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      9 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      The blueberries and cranberries make a wonderful addition to any meal because of the powerful antioxindents they contain.

      Yummy hub, great ideas!


      Chef Jeff

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      OK Ive never been to an Americans home for Thanksgiving - how is the menu different than for Christmas? For us in NZ/Australia turkey traditional at Christmas, along with roast veg and fruit mince pudding, christmas cake, mince (fruit) pies and way too much booze! So do American distinguish the traditional foods for the 2 events or do you just do it one more time a month later?

    • Scottie JD profile image

      Scottie JD 

      9 years ago

      Great recipes, As a mother of a vegan anything helps Great stuff Mary


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