Thanksgiving food celebrates American values, will never be “overrated”


Anna Myers

Turkey has been a Thanksgiving staple since the original feast in 1621. Fry’s food has had turkey in their markets since the end of October.

Holidays are often defined by the specific cuisine associated with them. The candy canes and gingerbread cookies that are ushered in with Christmas carols on the radio, those jelly beans that show up in your Easter basket without fail and never quite get eaten, and the barbequed hot dogs that practically shout Fourth of July. 

Thanksgiving is no exception to this celebratory food relationship that Americans have with holidays.

The final Thursday of each November is a holy day- set aside for the Macy’s Day parade, hand turkeys, Black Friday stress, gratitude, and food. A lot of it. 

According to the journal of Governor William Bradford, one of the original colonists and the founder of Thanksgiving celebration, the original feast included some kind of fowl, five deer brought as a gift from the Native Indians, cornmeal sweetened with molasses, lobster, potatoes, and berries indeginous to the area. 

The modern Thanksgiving feast remains a close relation to the original. Americans have stuck with the turkey and corn, but now opt for their potatoes in a mashed form. Butter and sugar have both become more of a staple household item since 1621, leaving the once indeginous berries and gourds to be baked into Thanksgiving pies by the dozens. 

In true “American-melting-pot” form, families often adapt the traditional meal further, adding cuisine from their own backgrounds. Traditional Jewsish dishes like potato latkes can be found among the turkey and stuffing at my own family’s Thanksgiving table. 

The stereotypical “Thanksgiving feast” has been revised as a celebration of culture and family that ushers in the American holiday season and embodies the idea of the original Pilgrims joining with the Native American Indians for a meal.

What is my point in this extensive culinary history lesson?

A new thread of millennials pride themselves on their opinion that Thanksgiving food is “overrated.” In fact, thirty one percent of Perry students polled claimed that Thanksgiving food is “way overdone.” 

This way of thinking, however “woke” it may be, is simply not true. 

Thanksgiving food is important. It represents a tender moment in American history. It is delicious. It serves as an opportunity for families to come together at the end of a busy year and celebrate a new season. And, it is delicious. 

The turkey and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie at the end of the night will never grow overrated. How could anyone consider family time sweetened with pumpkin pie overrated?