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