- Holidays and Celebrations»
- United States Holidays
The First Thanksgiving Foods
Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving
First Thanksgiving Foods were Different
If you were eating at the First Thanksgiving, you would discover that your Thanksgiving favorites might not have been served.
The foods served for that first meal were very different than what we typically think of as a modern Thanksgiving Feast with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie were not served.
Instead the Pilgrims dined on a more modest (and probably much healthier) meal of the foods that were available to them at the time.
Read on to discover the type of foods that were served at the First Thanksgiving. Perhaps you might include a few of these original Thanksgiving foods in your own Thanksgiving meals and traditions.
Image: Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving Book, available on Amazon.
The First Thanksgiving Food were Different and Healthier
Foods from the First Thanksgiving Meal
Accounts vary as to when the first Thanksgiving meal occurred. The Thanksgiving holiday is thought to have had its origins at a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The first recorded religious Day of Thanksgiving was held in 1623 after a larger harvest. In the mid-17th century an annual Thanksgiving meal began to be celebrated after the harvest. Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States since 1863 when President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day.
The foods included in the first Thanksgiving meal were very different than what is typically served today at a traditional Thanksgiving feast.
The First Thanksgiving meal included:
- Duck, Geese and Swan
- Fish, Lobster, Mussels, Eel and Clams
- Squash and Corn
- Red and white grapes
- Red and black plums
- Dried fruit
Of course all of these foods would have been wild-caught, organic, locally-grown pesticide and GMO-free. Seems to be a pretty healthy tradition to adopt.
The First Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving foods were wild-caught, organic, locally grown, pesticide and GMO-free.— Kirsti A. Dyer
Vote on First Thanksgiving Food
Which of the following First Thanksgiving foods would you like to try?
The First Thanksgiving Food - Video
The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us
Robert Tracy McKenzie, author of The First Thanksgiving share his thoughts in the video clip above on what would have been at the First Thanksgiving meal.
First Thanksgiving Food on Wikipedia
The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three whole days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Indians. The traditional Thanksgiving menu consists of turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and so on. We may eat these foods on modern day Thanksgiving, but the first feast did not consist of these items.
On the first feast turkey was any type of fowl that the pilgrims hunted. Pumpkin pie wasn't on the menu because there were no ovens for baking, but they did have boiled pumpkin. Cranberries weren't introduced at this time.
Due to the diminishing supply of flour there was no bread of any kind. The foods included in the first feast included duck, geese, venison, fish, lobster, clams, swan, berries, dried fruit, pumpkin, squash, and many more vegetables.
More on the First Thanksgiving Foods
- What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving? | History | Smithsonian
The history of the holiday meal tells us that turkey was always the centerpiece, but other courses have since disappeared
- Partakers of Our Plenty | Plimoth Plantation
Thanksgiving article explaining how our modern holiday fare bears little resemblance to the food eaten at the three-day 1621 harvest celebration at Plymouth Colony, the event now recalled as the “First Thanksgiving.”
- The First Thanksgiving: Daily Life: Food
This content resource allows students to compare and contrast Pilgrim and Wampanoag food.
- First Thanksgiving Celebration | National Geographic
The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat, far from today's traditional Thanksgiving feast.
- The First Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving | Epicurious.com
Read The First Thanksgiving - Just how did the Pilgrims give thanks? Here's the story behind the story.
Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner
Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner
Image above: Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner available at Allposters.com.
Meat, Game and Fish
Fresh Duck on Amazon
Meat, Game and Fish on Amazon
Some of the Meat and Game available on the First Thanksgiving would have been:
- Duck, Geese and Swan
- Lobster, Mussels
- Eel and Clams
Meat, Game and Fish available on Amazon for a traditional First Thanksgiving meal.
Corn, Squash and Pumpkin
Corn for Thanksgiving
There are many different ways to include Corn for Thanksgiving
- On the Cob
Add some corn for a traditional First Thanksgiving meal on Amazon.
More about Corn at Thanksgiving
- Five Kernels of Corn Story
The Five Kernels of Corn is about counting your blessings. It is a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. Read the story then invite family and friends to share why each person is grateful at Thanksgiving.
Squash and Squash Soup on Amazon
Different squashes and squash soup for a traditional First Thanksgiving meal on Amazon.
Cabbage on Amazon
Pumpkin and Berries on Amazon
Pumpkin and berries for a traditional First Thanksgiving meal on Amazon.
Dried Plums in the Amazon Spotlight
Dried plums would be on the menu for a traditional First Thanksgiving meal.
More about Antioxidants and Health Foods
- Antioxidants, Phytochemicals and SuperFoods - Oh My!
Superfoods are colorful, nutrient-rich foods and are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are one food source that are recommended to consume daily. There are many health benefits to consuming super foods that...
First Thanksgiving Books
If You Were At The First Thanksgiving Book
The Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving
Articles about the First Thanksgiving
- The first Thanksgiving | csmonitor.com
Thanksgiving portrayed in popular culture is more myth than fact.
- The Council of Seven / Royal House of Pokanoket / Pokanoket Tribe / Wampanoag Nation - Thanksgiving
By the time fall arrived things were going much better for the Pilgrims, thanks to the help they had received. The corn they planted had grown well. There was enough food to last the winter. They were living comfortably in their Indian-style wigwams
- The First Thanksgiving
In early autumn of 1621, the 53 surviving Pilgrims celebrated their successful harvest, as was the English custom. During this time, "many of the Indians coming... amongst the rest their great king Massasoit, with some ninety men."
- First Thanksgiving - Primary Sources
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, othe
- History of Thanksgiving | Random History
The history of Thanksgiving Day, from its diverse origins in Puritan prayer to world harvest festivals, to the evolution of modern traditions.
- Lizzy turner - The Feast | Letters from the Mayflower
Letters from the Mayflower Harvest 1621 | The First Thanksgiving | Scholastic.com
- The First Thanksgiving - History.com - Pilgrims, Indians, & Food
Find out about the first Thanksgiving including what the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians ate, table manners, and the spices used for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Thanksgiving facts: Food of the first Thanksgiving - by Lisa Bjurstrom - Helium
The traditional Thanksgiving dinner we hold today is quite different than what was served at Plymouth Colony in 1621. The turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie was not available to the Pilgrims.
- The Original Thanksgiving Day: The Surprising First Thanksgiving Menu- No Turkey, No Pumpkin Pie?
What you don't know about the first Thanksgiving may surprise you.
History of the First Thanksgiving Lens
The Thanksgiving Story
In this award winning story, the Hopkins family is followed during their first year at the Plymouth Colony.
The book ends with the first Thanksgiving feast.
First Book for Children
You can support First Books and help provide new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy - access to books.
An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low-cost books in thousands of communities.
First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada.
You can support First Books, by sharing a book about Thanksgiving with a child.
Created for the Thanksgiving Cookoff for Charity
The First Thanksgiving Foods lens created for the Squidoo Thanksgiving Cookoff (for Charity) in 2009 to benefit another '"first," First Book.
If was gets selected, First Book would have received $1000 to buy books for children maybe even some books about The First Thanksgiving.
While this lens wasn't selected for the Cookoff, my lens on Five Kernels of Corn Story was selected and Kiva received a donation from Squidoo.
Purchases from this lens continue to benefit First Book.
What First Thanksgiving Foods Would You Like to Try?
Share your thoughts foods you might like to try in the comment section below.
© 2009 Kirsti A. Dyer