Thanksgiving — From History To Your House (And What To Do With The Leftovers!)

by | Nov 2, 2023


Animated cornucopia with vegetables.

Thanksgiving. A time for families to get together to share a meal and appreciate the blessings in their lives. We all have our traditions — watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and football, enjoying a great meal with family and friends, loosening belts, and — inevitably — taking a nap. So how did it all start? And what will you serve? And — maybe the biggest question — what to do with all those leftovers?

Thanksgiving, as we know it, is traced back to the Pilgrims and Puritans who came to America from England in the 1620s and 1630s. They brought with them their traditions of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving. There is so much history rooted in Thanksgiving I am going to fast forward or you’ll be reading a dissertation.

Pilgrims and Indians at the first Thanksgiving.

Long ago and far away, in 1621 in fact, the Pilgrims held a huge feast to celebrate a successful and bountiful fall harvest. Like today’s tradition, family, friends and guests were invited. The guest list was a bit different from ours and included the Native American Wampanoag Tribe, referred to as the “People of the First Light,” and the last surviving member of the Patuxet Tribe — Squanto, who was incredibly helpful in that he spoke English — and along with the Wampanoag taught the settlers how to grow food. These special guests helped the Pilgrims get through the winter of 1620 by giving them food in exchange for alliance and protection against a rival Native American tribe, the Narragansett.

Abraham Lincoln black and white portrait.

Thanksgiving was initially celebrated on different dates and was not declared a national holiday until 1863, when our 16th president Abraham Lincoln made it happen. In 1941 Congress officially established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

So now let’s talk food. I think we all know the basics but Where The Food Comes From would like to share a few recipes for Thanksgiving — and more importantly what to do with all the leftovers!

The Main Course

Roast turkey is typically king at Thanksgiving. Our friends at Turbo Trusser have come up with a turkey recipe that is sure to satisfy the pickiest of eaters (and also makes prep super easy).

What can you say about stuffing besides yum? In my opinion it’s probably the most favorite side dish everyone seeks out; the trick is to prepare enough. And please, don’t forget the the gravy.

Instead of rolls give Ms. Gypsy’s Biscuits a try. These biscuits are warm and fluffy they are sure to please the most finicky biscuit eater. And if you are ever in Raleigh, NC visit the State Farmers’ Market and Restaurant to experience all Ms. Gypsy’s amazing food.

What’s For Dessert?

Now that you have loosened your belts it’s time for dessert. Pecan Pie is a traditional dessert, but this one has a fascinating story. This recipe came from Rich’s Department Store, a southern institution in Atlanta, GA. Even though the Rich’s closed their doors in 2005 people continue to rave about the bakery.

Sometimes you just want a unique sweetpotato recipe. Check out Sweetpotato Dumplings from Hickory Hill Milk. This recipe is probably one of the best I have ever tasted. But beware it is s-o-o-o-o easy to eat too many.

Ahh, but what do you do with the leftovers?

Compliments of our friends at Wish Farms Thanksgiving Leftovers Pull Apart Ring uses crescent rolls, leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and gravy. Muddled raspberries add a whole new dimension to this delicious and eye appealing meal.

How about combining another seasonal favorite with turkey? Give Pumpkin Curry Turkey Soup a try. Pumpkin gives this soup added flavor and creaminess. Recipe compliments of Minute® Rice.

From all of us at Where The Food Comes From enjoy your holiday feast, family and friends!

Happy Thanksgiving