Thanksgiving: History, Traditions, Recipes

Nov 27, 2014

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Thanksgiving

Remembering to be thankful

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and especially turkey! But that’s not the way it has always been. In fact the first Thanksgiving didn’t have turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie or gravy. The only thing historians are sure of is that the first Thanksgiving is that that Wampanoag Indians brought 5 deer. The Thanksgiving tradition has come a long way since that meal of venison in 1621. The modern day holiday of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie takes root in the first half of the 19th century when writer Sara Josepha Hale begin campaigning to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She published the history of the holiday and recipes for turkey, and pumpkin pie among others. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln finally made it a national holiday.

Giving Thanks

How do you celebrate thanksgiving? One tradition that my family had was going around the table at the start of the meal and everyone got to name one thing that they were thankful for before everyone began dishing. This tradition, common and simple, was a great reminder of what the entire day is really about.

Pie Night

Another tradition that we had was Pie Night the night before Thanksgiving. This was a tradition that developed a little later in my life but has become one of my favorite. In my house Thanksgiving was a family holiday but pie night was a time to be together with friends and to enjoy each others company while eating pie. One of the pain points that I think every American faces is trying to eat a piece of pie after eating a huge turkey feast. To easy this problem without giving up pie, Pie Night was established. Everyone makes pies and brings them to share. Some years we had a best pie competition and other years we just ate and talked. Pie is a big deal at thanksgiving, one of my college mentors even went as far as to create a Pie Personality Test.

These are just a couple of traditions my family has to celebrate the holidays and to make the most out of this season of thanksgiving. Share in the comments below some of your favorite holiday traditions and who knows, you might find a new tradition that you want to start in your own family!

And in light of my family Pie Night tradition here is my families Pecan Pie recipe which also happens to be my favorite pie!

Pecan Pie

8 in Pie Crust
3 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. pecan halves

Heat oven to 375º. Beat eggs, sugar, salt, and butter, and syrup with hand beater. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie crust. Bake until set, 40-50 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or refrigerate. Enjoy!

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