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Why We Eat What We Eat On Thanksgiving

It truly is an All-American meal.

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Turkey

Via Flickr: ruocaled

Though there were wild turkeys in the Plymouth area, deer was served on the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Turkey became a staple holiday dish after President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, popularized the turkey with gravy and stuffing dish.

Cranberry Sauce

Via Flickr: nomadic_lass

The cranberry is native to North America. As a wild perennial, Native Americans used cranberries as both food and medicine and probably introduced it to the Pilgrims. Though cranberries were most likely eaten at the first Thanksgiving, it's unlikely there was cranberry sauce since sugar was hard to come by at the time.

According to the American Pie Council, pumpkin pie was served on the Pilgrim’s second Thanksgiving in 1623.

The sweet potato is a native American plant discovered by Columbus and his shipmates, probably on the West Indies islands off the coast of Yucatan and Honduras.

About 50 percent of French fried onions are sold during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter because of that casserole,

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