Thanksgiving

Posted on 4 min read

The most American holiday ever

Thanksgiving is THE American holiday that it is also celebrated in Canada, Liberia and some Caribbean islands. First celebrated in 1621, this holiday is an integral part of the history of the United States of America and has been a public holiday since 1941.

The settlers were very grateful to the Native Americans for teaching them hunting, fishing and agriculture in a territory that was unknown to them. Without their help, the newcomers would probably have starved to death. Wild turkeys were shared between settlers and Amerindians that year. That explains why a Thanksgiving meal without a turkey is not a Thanksgiving meal.

Much later and far from these landscapes, there is Wendelinhof which is an organic farm in Aargau, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. This farm is labelled “Organic Switzerland” and “KAGFreiland”. The proper treatment of animals is simply a natural attitude. The many turkeys on the farm have open air access, pick freely and are raised with respect for animal life. For example, this is a short video showing the exchange between the farmer and his turkeys.

At this time of year, it’s not just about food. The houses are very (or maybe too much?) decorated. Everything in orange, brown, burgundy tones… anything that reminds us of autumn is welcome. Pumpkins of all kinds, dead leaves, branches and other decorative elements.

You want to start preparing a Thanksgiving menu? Be aware that you will need to do this well in advance and study the cooking method to make your turkey perfect. It will obviously be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. But what to eat next to your beautiful turkey?

Each American family makes more or less the same side dishes for Thanksgiving. Small variations are allowed, but tradition is no joke. Alongside turkey, you will inevitably find seasonal products. This is explained by the fact that Thanksgiving, also known as Thanksgiving Day, has been celebrated since long before exotic products were available.

Pumpkin:

On D-Day, the 4th Thursday of November, we can find squash on the table. The pumpkin pie, almost as famous as the apple pie, is one of the highlights of this celebration. It is also possible to serve stuffed squash, pumpkin served as small roasted cubes, puree or soup.

Vegetables:

Vegetables are also part of the large choice of side dishes: peas, green beans, but also beet, carrots and celery are shared at this feast. These products, which may seem a little “simple” for a festive meal, remind us that at the time of the first Thanksgiving, these vegetables were the fruit of the harvest that saved them from famine. It is therefore more by tradition than by taste that they are consumed.

Potatoes:

Several dishes of potatoes or sweet potatoes in different forms will also be eaten during this feast. The latter are sometimes candied and covered with marshmallow. It should be remembered that these two roots originated in America before being quickly cultivated in Europe and then in the rest of the world.

Corn:

Thanksgiving being celebrated in the USA, it is not surprising to find roasted corn on the table, canned corn or corn flour bread. Corn was a cereal totally unknown to the settlers and one of the first they learned to grow thanks to the Native Americans.

Chestnuts and cranberries:

Chestnuts are often placed around the turkey or on a separate plate. To complete this emblematic meal, there is the famous cranberry sauce.

Pies (finally the dessert!):

For dessert, there are mainly apple, squash or pecan pies. Sometimes they are accompanied by a cranberry jelly. A real delight!

Here are several blogs with traditional Thanksgiving recipes if you want to test them at home.

This meal is a real delight for all the ones you love! It is part of the tradition to eat leftovers the next day, the day of the famous Black Friday.

A little note regarding Black Friday:

But why would this Friday have the strange peculiarity of being black? This expression was first used in the American press in 1951.

If we dig a little deeper, we discover that many workers were taking their Friday off (probably to recover from the previous day’s meal) and that there were huge traffic jams on the roads. In fact, the police officers also used the term “Black Friday” to describe the overtime hours awaiting them for this weekend as a celebration.

When merchants began to feel that it would be beneficial for their business to have a sale on that Friday, a kind of kick-off for Christmas shopping, their accounts came out of red and could again be written in black ink.

This tradition was slowly adopted in Europe in 2013 and fully accepted in 2016. This was followed by Cyber Monday, with merchants announcing massive reductions on online sites.

That’s it! You know everything there is to know about Thanksgiving and the fabulous meal that brings family, friends and people who love each other around the same table. We naturally wish you… an excellent appetite!

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