Take a break from your holiday preparations and soak up some fun Thanksgiving trivia. Use these to steer the dinner conversation away from politics!
The pilgrims didn’t eat turkey at the first Thanksgiving.
Instead, the menu consisted of duck, eel, fish, goose, lobster, venison, and oysters. Yum. They also likely ate pumpkins and cranberries, but nothing like the way we typically prepare them today.
Thanksgiving meals are fattening!
Unless this year is an exception, Americans will probably consume an average of 4,500 calories and about 230 grams of fat.
Thanksgiving used to be creepier and way less PC.
Around the turn of the 20th century, Thanksgiving was a time for adults and kids alike to don masks and costumes and roam big cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Many of them dressed as poor people, giving rise to the holiday’s nickname “Ragamuffin Day.”
Turkey doesn’t make you sleepy.
Don’t blame the tryptophan. This amino acid gets a bad rap, and there’s no more of it in turkey than in other poultry. Instead, blame your post-meal sleepiness on the s**t-ton of carbs you’ll probably scarf down.
“Jingle Bells” wasn’t intended for Christmas.
“Jingle Bells” used to be a Thanksgiving song. In 1850, James Lord Pierpont was chugging beers (probably) in a Medford, Massachusetts, tavern. While thinking about the town’s sleigh races he loved so much, he sat down at a piano and slapped together a little tune about them. The song was a smash hit. Later on, the lyrics were changed slightly to fit the Christmas season.
The first Thanksgiving was a multi-day affair.
Historical records suggest this seminal feast lasted for three days. It’s understandable that a successful corn harvest in 1621 would be cause to really throw down. By the time members of the neighboring Wampanoag tribe showed up with their food, everyone decided to extend the celebration.
Thomas Jefferson wasn’t having it.
Before President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday, every president before him had to recognize the holiday every year. Thomas Jefferson didn’t want to because he claimed that Thanksgiving, originally a time designated for contemplation and prayer, conflicted with the church/state separation, a violation of the First Amendment. He preferred it be a state holiday, not a federal one.
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was balloon-less.
Can you imagine?!! During the first parade in 1924, parade participants placed huge puppets on the floats. The parade included other things that seem more familiar, like bands, singers, and Santa Claus. They also featured animals from the Central Park Zoo!
It really was about the shopping.
In 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day to the third–not the fourth–Thursday. He did this to add more shopping days to the holiday season. Holiday commercialism is definitely not a new thing.
TV dinners are an unintended consequence of Thanksgiving.
The first TV dinners came from a ordering snafu. In 1953, an employee at Swanson accidentally ordered 260 tons of Thanksgiving turkeys. To metaphorically make lemonade out of lemons, savvy salesman Gerry Thomas had the idea to fill over 5,000 aluminum trays with the excess turkey and other traditional Thanksgiving fixings. Each meal sold for 98 cents, and the rest is TV dinner history.
Only male turkeys gobble.
Click HERE to hear the gobble. Female turkeys cackle.
Americans prefer leftovers to the real meal.
That’s almost 80% of Americans. And why not? Honestly, unless you don’t eat meat, who doesn’t savor a turkey sandwich with a little gravy? I like mine with a layer of dressing. And while you’re slacking off during the holiday weekend, go ahead and treat yourself to a leftover slice of pie for breakfast.
Americans eat 50 million pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving.
But during the rest of the year, pumpkin pie ranks second to apple pie. I’ll have mine ala mode!
Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for . . . plumbers!
Someone has to deal with the aftermath of our gluttony. Plus, extra houseguests can put additional stress on the pipes. Roto-Rooter lists several suggestions for avoiding post-Thanksgiving back-ups, including throwing food scraps in the trash and not down the kitchen sink.