When you picture a Thanksgiving meal, what comes to mind? For many of us, it’s slices of turkey drizzled with rich gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie. Then, maybe your family around the table, laughing together or snoozing together after dinner on the couch.
For this festive mental image, we have Sarah Josepha Hale to thank. After petitioning five different presidents for the holiday over the course of nearly 20 years, Hale finally convinced Abraham Lincoln to create a national day of thanks. Lincoln came to believe that the special day, which honors when Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians, could help to unify the country in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Her contributions to Thanksgiving didn’t stop there. Hale also proposed the menu, ensuring that turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes became staples of the meal.
Here are some delicious Thanksgiving tidbits to pass around the table this year:
- Over 90 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving; that’s around 7 billion pounds of turkey or $3 billion sold each year.
- Thanksgiving didn’t become an official national holiday until 1941. Before then, the holiday was announced by the president on a yearly basis.
- Turkey Day accounts for 20 percent of all cranberry consumption in the U.S.
- Turducken (a de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck stuffed with a de-boned chicken) is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.
- The diners at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 had an entirely different menu comprised of deer, fowl, cod, bass and flint corn.
Did you know that the first Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth lasted a total of three days? Maybe, with a little Hale-inspired petitioning, we could get our official holiday festivities extended by a couple of days, too. But even if we can’t, at least most of us can enjoy a day filled with food, football, family and fun. And, of course, a chance to give thanks for everything we have.
We at the Trenton Trib and Island Beacon want to thank you for your support this year and wish you and your loved ones a comfortable and wonderful holiday with more to be thankful for in the years to come!
Kathy Kane is business manager and co-publisher of the Trenton Trib. Contact her at email@example.com or (734) 676-0850.
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