Thanksgiving is coming in just a few days, and we’re excited about celebrating! The first thing that comes to mind is food – most importantly, turkey, which has become a crucial symbol of Thanksgiving that cannot be substituted. However, is this holiday really just about turkey?

Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving roast turkey

There are many explanations on how Thanksgiving started and how turkey has become so integral to this holiday. One of the stories that is often told is that it was a gift from the Native Americans, who were invited to the harvest feast by the Pilgrims. However, the reason why turkey has become the go-to choice for Thanksgiving dinner is more than just the stories behind it.

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Pumpkin pie

Amongst all the choices of meat, chickens and cows are crucial for laying eggs and producing milk, making turkey a good choice when compared to other alternatives. More importantly, it’s big enough to serve the whole family. But make no mistake, it didn’t become famous without Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book in the 1800s, who had lobbied for 17 years to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in order to unify the country following the American Civil War. It all started in one of her novels, Northwood, where she wrote about Thanksgiving as a popular holiday in New England, with a detailed description of how roast turkey took precedence on this special occasion. In addition, she mentioned other types of food such as goose, chicken pie and pumpkin pie, which is also popular at this holiday. Whether it was an accurate description of what people did to celebrate this occasion, no one knows. It could simply have been her own food preferences, but the result was that both turkey and pumpkin pie have became symbols of this annual celebration.

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Ciabatta stuffing with chestnuts and pancetta

What also makes turkey special is the stuffing with which it is served. There are various recipes for stuffing, usually consisting of vegetables, nuts, herbs, sausages or even oysters. There isn’t a fixed rule of what ingredients should go together, thus stuffing allows cooks to showcase their individuality through their unique creations. Having said that, some chefs always go for the traditional stuffing that reflects the style of certain US regions – for example, the use of cornbread in the South and the use of mashed potato in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

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Mulled wine

After a great Thanksgiving meal, a glass of mulled wine is a must to conclude the day with a festive and cosy atmosphere. Holding a mug filled with hot wine that has been flavoured with various mulling spices is perfect for a heart-warming evening.

In the end, this much-celebrated holiday isn’t just about food. It’s a time for family and friends to reconnect with their loved ones and express their gratitude. These are the reasons why Thanksgiving is so beloved to this day.

If you’re craving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you can always check out the All-American Thanksgiving set dinner menus at Bungalow and Common Room on Thursday, 24 November 2016 and celebrate together with your loved ones.

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