Great Ideas For Thanksgiving Food

Though much of history has inaccurately portrayed the first Thanksgiving menusâ€"turkey, potatoes, corn on the cob, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauceâ€"pilgrims and other early Americans did not have access or knowledge of many of these ingredients. Instead the menu included ingredients indigenous to the New World and ingredients readily available, such as seafood like cod, eel, clams and lobster; wild fowl like wild turkey, goose, duck, crane, swan, partridge and eagle; meat like venison and seal; grains like wheat flour and Indian corn; vegetables like pumpkin, peas, beans, onions, radishes and carrots; fruit like plums and grapes; nuts like walnuts, chestnuts and acorns; herbs and seasonings like olive oil, liverwort, leeks, dried currants and parsnips.

It was not until the time following President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation that aimed at uniting the U.S. after the Civil War that traditional Thanksgiving staplesâ€"turkey, potatoes, corn on the cob, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauceâ€"became the preferred Thanksgiving menu items. Today there are many regional interpretations of traditional Thanksgiving fare and food trends also dictate menu selection.

Cooking magazines and food magazines like Bon Appetit and Food & Wine aim to bridge the gap between the menus of the early Thanksgiving feasts, what has become known as the traditional feasts and modern day menus.

One such food trend is the locally grown and organic food trend. Many people around the U.S. are going back to the ways of the past and growing their own foods or using farmer’s markets as their main source of fruits, vegetables and meats. To read more about this food trend read Vegetarian Times, Natural Health and Health magazines.

In its November issue Bon Appetit take on the modern Thanksgiving menu is "A Heritage Feast," which honors the roots of American foods with heirloom ingredients. Heirloom ingredients are fruits, vegetables and animals that were commonly grown in early history that have kept their traits. Examples of heirloom ingredients are turkey breeds bred in the U.S. since the 1800s, wild rice indigenous to the U.S. and apple varieties grown in Thomas Jefferson’s orchards. The recipes featured in "A Heritage Feast" include roast heritage turkey, bacon, apple and fennel stuffing and garnet yams, come from the best ingredients across the U.S.

Another current food trend in Thanksgiving menus is melding country-of-origin recipes, flavors and ingredients with traditional American Thanksgiving fare. Given the many different cultures and backgrounds of Americans this makes for an enormous food trend.

The November issue of Food & Wine magazine features another take on the modern Thanksgiving meal with its Thanksgiving article, "A Chef’s All-American Thanksgiving." The article features Chef Jose Garces’s culturally-fused Thanksgiving menu that incorporates Latin-American flavors and ingredients with traditional American recipes. This menu reflects Garces’s cultural background.

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About The Author, Jessica Vandelay
For more on food magazines visit Vandelay is a freelance writer in New York City.