Happy Thanksgiving: A Bit of Food History

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, if only for the wonderful food. And as a history freak, I love that so much of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes are native to the Americas.

roasted turkey on table

The food supply expanded when Europeans “discovered” the New World. Prior to Columbus’s first voyage in 1492, there were no turkeys, potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, cranberries or maize, i.e. Indian corn. There was a cereal grain called corn, but it’s more like wheat, not like the ears of corn we’re used to.

And there was no chocolate. Chocolate is native to the Americas, so the Spaniards were the first Europeans to encounter it. It became popular at court after the Spanish added sugar or honey to sweeten the natural bitterness. From there, chocolate spread through Europe in the 1600’s and grew into the international obsession is has become today.

Can you imagine a world without chocolate? I really wouldn’t like that at all!

Nor would I like a world without sweet potatoes, pumpkins or cranberries, some of my favorite ingredients for fall goodies.

Alas, with only four of us for Thanksgiving dinner, we won’t be roasting a turkey. Instead my niece will grill chicken thighs. We will have all the usual side dishes though: mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

So from my house to your house…

Happy Thanksgiving!


PS: Stay tuned for my upcoming new cover reveal and Black Friday sale on, you guessed it, Friday!

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