Why Do We Eat Turkey for Thanksgiving?


On the fourth Thursday of November, many people have a large meal to celebrate Thanksgiving. There are many sides including: green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and dinner rolls. However, the main course always seems to be turkey with 88 percent of Americans eating Turkey on Thanksgiving. Nearly 46 million turkeys are consumed each Thanksgiving. This is odd because in the 17th century for the “first Thanksgiving” they ate deer, geese, duck, with sides including chestnuts and succotash. So, how did turkey become normal? Well, by the 19th century they were eating turkey. They began doing this because turkeys were a plentiful resource. When Europeans came to America, there were as many as 10 million turkeys. While there were many family farms with cows and hens, those animals were more productive while they were alive, with cows producing milk and hens producing eggs. Therefore, that left the turkeys to be slaughtered because they have no other purpose except for their meat. It was and still is an affordable option because a turkey can feed a whole family. Turkeys are cheaper than geese and geese are also harder to raise. Turkeys are also born in the spring, so they eat through the summer and spring gaining at least 10 pounds by the fall. It is also said that George Washington encouraged people to celebrate Thanksgiving which made Alexander Hamilton say,”No person should abstain from having turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” Turkey isn’t the only thing they didn’t have at the first Thanksgiving. They didn’t enjoy potatoes, stuffing, green bean casseroles, pies, or really any sweets. Instead, they had corn, nuts, and shellfish.


Source: https://www.britannica.com/story/why-do-we-eat-turkey-on-thanksgiving

Source: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2007/11/why-do-we-eat-turkey-for-thanksgiving-and-christmas.html