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What wasn’t on the pilgrims’ table?

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Besides the big bird, there are lots of other foods that have become traditional for the Thanksgiving meal. But you might be surprised to know that many of those foods were not on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. According to the Mayflower Web Pages, the Pilgrims would have been surprised to see any of the following foods on their table:

  • Sweet potatoes, potatoes, or yams – These hadn’t yet been introduced in New England.
  • Corn on the cob – What the Pilgrims called “Indian corn” was only used to make cornmeal.
  • Cranberry sauce – Although they had cranberries, they didn’t have sugar.
  • Popcorn – “Indian corn” could only be half-popped, and wouldn’t have tasted very good.
  • Pumpkin pie – However, they probably made a type of pumpkin pudding, sweetened by honey or syrup.

What you might be surprised to know was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving was fish and seafood, which was plentiful in coastal New England, including cod, bass, eel, clams and mussels.