As delicious as it is, the current roster of foods made and enjoyed on an American Thanksgiving day is not nearly close to what the Pilgrims enjoyed at their own first Thanksgiving. Besides the many diverse dishes that we have now, there are also many regional dishes enjoyed all over the country that the Pilgrims would have known nothing about. They didn’t have any green bean casserole, cranberry sauce or pecan pie 🙂
Besides the different foods that they would have eaten, the Pilgrims probably cooked their foods very differently than we do now. The Pilgrims came from the cultural world of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. They brought with them all the cooking styles, flavorings, seasonings and cooking methods from that time period with them to the New World.
Roasting and smoking meat was common most often over open fires. Many spices and sauces were used to flavor the food and help preserve it. Salads were eaten as well as many other vegetables. Honey was a popular sweetener for desserts that were often stewed or baked. One of the most interesting things about this time period was that there were no forks! People ate with knives and spoons.
So, what would the Pilgrims have eaten at their first Thanksgiving? If you had sat down to enjoy the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, this is what you might have found on your table.
- Roasted Wild Turkey, Geese or Duck
- Lobster, Eel, Mussels and other seafood
- Boiled Bread
- Stewed Pumpkin
- Salads made with Cabbage, Carrots, Spinach, Onions, Sage, Thyme, Parsnips and Parsley
- Bread or Porridge made of Indian corn
- Wild Nuts
- Dried Blueberries and Grapes