Thanksgiving Trivia!

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "Freedom From Want," 1943Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” (1943)

Here in the U.S. and in Canada, we celebrate an annual national holiday dedicated to giving thanks for our abundant good fortune.  Our holiday evolved from much older ones celebrating the gathering of the Autumn harvest.  Since we’ve been having this party for a long time, it has gathered many traditions including special foods and activities. Here’s a quiz about some of the more obscure facts related to Thanksgiving. I want you to leave the blog smarter than when you came in! (The answers are at Comment #1.)

  • The first Thanksgiving Day feast between the new immigrants at Plymouth and the resident Wampanoag tribe lasted three days in 1621. They ate venison, game birds, fish and cranberries (in pemmican). The pilgrims brought beer, but what available vegetable was avoided out of superstition?
  • What basic eating utensil was unavailable at that first feast?
  • Two of the Founding Fathers disagreed over the choice for a “national bird”. Thomas Jefferson favored the bald eagle. Who argued in favor of the turkey?
  • Sarah Josepha Hale began petitioning sitting presidents in favor of adopting a national day of thanksgiving in 1847. Abraham Lincoln acted upon her suggestion in 1863, but Sarah Hale is even better known for what work?
  • The National Football League started having big games on the holiday in 1934. That contest was between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. When did the tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving begin?
  • There are many food traditions associated with Thanksgiving Day besides eating turkey. One popular side dish was created in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly and a team of home economists at the Campbell’s Soup Company, to take advantage of two simple ingredients Americans generally had on hand. Name the dish.
  • There’s a tradition of U.S. Presidents periodically “pardoning” a selected turkey that goes back as far as JFK, but officially retiring a bird (or two) to a farm or zoo each year began in 1987. This year’s recipients are named Mac and Cheese. Name any of the previous lucky turkeys.
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924. The first giant balloon was introduced in 1927, a likeness of which cartoon character?
  • How many calories (on average) are contained in an American Thanksgiving “one-plate”?

Why do people get drowsy after the meal? Don’t over think it.

big meal

I hope each and every person reading gets some time off for reflection in good company, with ample provisions.

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3 Comments

Filed under humor, Music

3 responses to “Thanksgiving Trivia!

  1. ANSWERS: 1. Potatoes were plentiful, but Europeans believed they were poisonous. 2. Forks were not in common use in North America until the 19th Century. 3. Ben Franklin wrote “For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.” 4. Ms. Hale is the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. 5. The newly formed American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game on Thanksgiving Day in 1876. 6. Green Bean Cassarole, featuring Campbell’s Mushroom Soup. 7. Blessed birds (a designate and an alternate) since 2002 have included ones named Katie & Zack, Stars & Stripes, Biscuits & Gravy, Marshmallow & Yam, Flyer & Fryer, May & Flower, Pumpkin & Pecan, Courage & Carolina, Apple & Cider, Liberty & Peace, Cobbler & Gobbler and Popcorn & Caramel. 8. Felix the Cat. 9. 3000 calories, nearly 50% more than the recommended total for an entire day’s consumption! 10. No, it’s not the tryptophan in the turkey. That ingredient promotes serotonin, which has a sedative effect, but five other large neutral amino acids (LNAA) compete with tryptophan to cross into the brain, suppressing its levels. It’s the high caloric intake that produces that lovely, sleepy “digestion brownout”.

  2. Knew a few of your questions–great quiz; enjoy your feasting tomorrow 🙂

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