Thanksgiving Dinner is special. It is sumptuous, it is rich, it is luxurious, and it is unifying. However, a dive into the history of thanksgiving food will tell us that the first Thanksgiving was devoid of turkey. Deer and pumpkin were the dishes that fed a crowd at the first Harvest feast. Turkey is a modern-day food served at Thanksgiving. Some historians also believe that Goat was the primary protein at the first Thanksgiving.
Now that we have talked about Thanksgiving food’s history, we are ready to talk about the present ties and the food served today. Who doesn’t love Turkey and gravy?
1. Turkey as an essential part of the history of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Turkey requires great care as it is notorious for being dry. It is highly essential to brine Turkey. Either a wet brine or a dry brine does wonders in this case. The dry brine does not involve water. It is more of a salt rub. This allows the skin of Turkey to become soft and also removes excess moisture from the bird. Although the celebrations last only for a day, the brining has to start early. The brine has to stay for over a day. In a wet brine, herbs, spices, and aromatics add to the flavor. Turkey is then generously buttered outside and under the skin to make the meat juicy and tender. The stuffing for Turkey can be put inside the bird or served separately. Turkey is the main attraction of the Thanksgiving dinner.
The stuffing made of bread, herbs and a lot of fat is a substantial side dish that doesn’t come up in the story of thanksgiving. Now the fat can be butter or good old turkey fat. The bread has to be coated in a mixture of eggs, milk, herbs, spices, and aromatics. It is then baked and dehydrated for a long time, inside a low-temperature oven for around half an hour. This yields the crunchiest and most flavourful stuffing to bring to the table. An excellent side dish, the filling for the bird, is a new dish. We cannot trace it back to the pilgrim’s Thanksgiving.
3. Mashed potatoes – the must-have for every Thanksgiving
Another excellent side dish that pairs well with Turkey is Mashed potatoes. This potato dish is savory. Ensure you have heavy cream, milk, butter, pepper (and lots of pepper) handy. Add aromatics like garlic cloves and herbs like thyme or rosemary to up the oomph quotient of your mashed potatoes. And there you have it, the ultimate mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving dinner. With lots of leftover mashed potatoes generally at the table, you might even make the celebrations last longer.
4. Sweet Potato casserole might have been the pilgrim’s Thanksgiving’s pride
Evidence of a sweet potato casserole has been found in the history of thanksgiving dinner. Historian refers to a lovely orange dish that presents itself in paintings that refer to the story of Thanksgiving with a crusty exterior. This might be a pumpkin pie or a sweet potato casserole. We begin with a sweet potato casserole and move over to a pumpkin pie in the next section. Cube the sweet potatoes and mash them. Add salt, brown sugar, butter, and flour. Mix them until they are homogenous. In a separate pan, warm some milk with sugar, cream and add them to the mashed sweet potatoes. Pour it into a baking tray and add the flour mixture. Bake at medium heat for 45 minutes, and you have a beautiful casserole, ready to be served.
5. Good Old Pumpkin Pie
We know how intimidating pies can get. From the flaky pastry to the cold butter, making a perfect pie can be intimidating. Worry not! We are here to guide you. This Thanksgiving, remember to keep a lot of cold butter at hand. The most important part of the Thanksgiving pie is the cold butter. The colder the butter, the flakier the pastry. Remember to keep the butter in a large rectangular slab. You can also buy puff pastry from a local store but making pies by hand is better. Do not overwork the dough. Add the pumpkin that has been sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and add it to the pie. Remember to bake the crust before completing the rest of the pie in the oven.
Perfect thanksgiving dinner is supposed to balance the sweet with the salty. The first Thanksgiving to commemorate unity was joyous and unifying, and what is better than food to unify families and friends!