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First Thanksgiving Dinner Feast

Here’s the lowdown on what the first Thanksgiving feast was really like. In the late 1620’s the Pilgrims arrived on Plymouth Rock by way of the Mayflower ship. After coming to the new land, the first winter was tough on them and many of them died. They not only had problems adjusting to the new land and freezing temperatures but there was also the problem of communicating with the land’s occupants, the Native Americans.

The First Thanksgiving Dinner Feast

It is uncertain whether the Pilgrims celebrated a time of giving thanks each year before the “First Thanksgiving” in the New World. Many more of the Pilgrims had died from illness by the following autumn. The Pilgrims remaining were to eat such a meal with the leader of the Native American tribe, Massasoit.

In our version of the first Thanksgiving dinner there is Tom the Turkey. In the Massachusetts settlement this was not the case at all. The first Thanksgiving’s main meat dish in America actually consisted of deer and wild fowl.

These same dishes are not used today for our own Thanksgiving dinners. We do not have to face the struggles that the early Pilgrims did. They had to worry about starving to death or dying from other illnesses due to the lack of food. This is the reason that deer and other wild poultry was a great feast for them. Potatoes and green string beans are among the foods that are on our holiday dinner tables today. These foods were also not part of the first Thanksgiving feast.

The number of Pilgrims that passed away made it obvious that they were not used to the land that they had come to find. Unlike the Indians, they didn’t know how to plant vegetables. With winter time approaching there were not too many vegetables available for this meal of thanks. They had to simply settle for what they had.

Many of the things we have on our Thanksgiving table today were not part of the first Thanksgiving feast, not even bread. The Pilgrims and Indians had corn and other foods that had been dried earlier in the year. What they did have was a large amount of meat. Meat would stick to their bones and give them strength, so that was the main item on their menu.

Any Thanksgiving dinner that doesn’t feature large portions of meat without vegetables, breads, or sweets are non-traditional to the first feast. After all, the main purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks for the bounty, right?

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