Menu

A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Hosts put a great deal of time and energy into planning their Thanksgiving dinner each year, from the event invitations to the decorations to the very important menu. As you make decisions about your menu, take a moment to see how the traditional Thanksgiving dinner has evolved over the years.

While many of the popular dishes found around the Thanksgiving table are rooted in Pilgrim traditions, there are a number of other dishes that were introduced much later and some that are missing from the table entirely. Seafood, for example, was one of the dishes that was served at “The First Thanksgiving” in 1621. Specifically, fish, lobster, and clams were served at this iconic meal. This makes sense since it took place in New England where seafood is abundant. Today, however, it is rare to find seafood around a traditional Thanksgiving dinner table. Instead, most families serve turkey, squash, berries, and fruit - all of which were also present at “The First Thanksgiving”.

As for traditional side dishes and desserts, those can vary greatly by region. Staples across the country include green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cornbread. When it comes to traditional Thanksgiving desserts, it’s all about pie! Pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie reign as the top Thanksgiving desserts.

Check out a few delicious facts about the culinary delights that Americans feast on at Thanksgiving:

  • 248 million turkeys are raised in the U.S., weighing 7.11 billion pounds
     
  • 750 million pounds of cranberries will be made into sauces and jellies
     
  • 2.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes are used to create this quintessential side
     
  • 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins will be used to make everyone’s favorite dessert
     
  • 266.1 million pounds of cherries will be used for this tart and fruity pie
     
  • 2.01 billion bushels of wheat are needed as wheat is the essential ingredient of bread, rolls, and pie crust
     
  • 656,340 tons of green beans will be ready to go in your casserole dishes

The decision is up to you: you have the option of going with a truly traditional menu for your celebration or sticking to modern classics - either one will be delicious! Still need recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner? Check out the full list of Thanksgiving ideas!

Envelope Icon Love this article?

Sign up and we'll send more inspiration straight to you.

Sign up now