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The Dish on Classic Thanksgiving Foods

Updated on November 9, 2011

Our reasons for celebrating Thanksgiving are as diverse as America itself. However, coast to coast, we typically raise out forks in gratitude with the same classic holiday foods. Fowl was a holiday mainstay in the Pilgrims' mother country of England, so turkey was a natural choice for gatherings in America. But what are the stories behind some other Thanksgiving favorites?

Cranberry Sauce

Native Americans relied on the preservative power of cranberries to make pemmican, a dried meat mixture, last longer. General Ulysses S. Grant reportedly believed in the health benefits of cranberry sauce and ordered it to be served to Union troops during the Civil War. In 1912, the Cape Cod Cranberry Company began selling cranberry sauce in the familiar canned form.

Green Bean Casserole

Dorcas Reilly, a home economist at Campbell's, first concocted the crispy onion topped creation in 1955. Reilly aimed to devise a recipe using ingredients common in 1950's cupboards - canned green beans and canned cream of mushroom soup.

Pecan Pie

The French get credit for inventing this sweet treat in the 1700's after settling in New Orleans. The desser didn't really catch on until the 1930's, when the makers of Karo syrup marketed a pecan pie recipe as a tasty use for their product.


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