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Veggies at the First Thanksgiving

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

We all know the story of that first Thanksgiving in Plymouth in 1621. Did you ever wonder what was really on the table? Here's a look into the past to see what our Native American and Pilgrim ancestors were serving up.


We all know the story of that first Thanksgiving in Plymouth in 1621. Did you ever wonder what was really on the table? Here's a look into the past to see what our Native American and Pilgrim ancestors were serving up.

In addition to indigenous plants cultivated by the natives, the English pilgrims brought some seeds with them on the Mayflower. It's most likely that they brought seeds for lettuce, beets, beans, onions, pumpkins, peas, leeks, carrots, radishes and squash. Native Americans were already growing veggies of their own, including corn, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), nuts and berries.

The soil and weather in New England was different than the conditions the Pilgrims knew, so it's safe to say that their harvest was not a huge success. There's no solid documentation on exactly what vegetables and fruits were on the first Thanksgiving table, but scholars generally accept that some of the fare included sunchokes, corn, acorns, carrots, pumpkins, beans, peas, cranberries, melons and grapes. That's right--no mashed potatoes, which is one of our Turkey Day staples today.
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