In the United States, Christmas isn’t the only winter holiday where families come together to break bread. About a month before Jesus’ birth lies the quintessentially American holiday of Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
This iconic holiday traces its roots back to 1621 in what became known as the First Thanksgiving. This consisted of a three-day feast where early American settlers, known as the Pilgrims, sat down for a communal meal with indigenous Americans to celebrate the end of the harvest.
But it wasn’t until 1863 during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln that Thanksgiving was enshrined as a national holiday, a position it retains up until this day. While the origins of this modern iteration of Thanksgiving laid in giving thanks to God for a successful harvest, these have in many ways been overshadowed by more modern traditions such as Thanksgiving parades—and one of the busiest days to travel throughout the whole year, as families all over the country attempt to come together to eat a communal meal and watch football.
For anyone who’s celebrated the holiday before, you’ll know that there are a number of iconic dishes that can often be found on a Thanksgiving dinner table. Preparing these dishes usually involves a full day’s work—and an occasional argument in the kitchen! But perhaps the most famous of all the Thanksgiving dishes is, of course, a roast turkey filled with stuffing. It’s estimated that 46 million Turkeys are consumed by Americans on Thanksgiving, this fact demonstrating how truly important this dish is for the holiday.
The secret to a great Thanksgiving turkey is purchasing a meat thermometer. Depending on the size of the bird—and the strength of your oven—cooking a turkey can be a slightly challenging task. But with a meat thermometer at hand, you’ll be able to know right away when the bird has reached that desired level of heat and is ready to serve.
But a roast turkey is nothing unless it contains a great stuffing inside. As there is no one stuffing recipe set in stone for all to follow, you can experiment with a number of different combinations. If you want to try out something new this year, why not attempt one of these three turkey stuffing recipes?
The first is a delicious pecan and sausage stuffing, which is bound to please the whole family. Another variant you could put on the menu this year is a cornbread and Italian sausage stuffing which. After all, who doesn’t love extra cornbread? Finally, for the most adventurous stuffing enthusiasts, a chestnut, squash, and wild rice stuffing might go down as the most memorable—and definitely the most interesting—of any stuffing your family has ever eaten.
Vegetarians can celebrate Thanksgiving too
You know the story. Your son or daughter has gone off to college and a few months later comes home to inform you they’ve decided to go vegetarian. But have no fear—their change in dietary requirements will not ruin this year’s Thanksgiving. This is because there are a number of fantastic vegetarian variations on Thanksgiving classics that you can prepare that even the meat-lovers in your family will definitely enjoy!
First of all, you’re going to need an alternative for the juicy, luscious turkey meat that your vegetarian family members can no longer eat. A recipe that is bound to help out here is one for a deliciously savory tofurkey roll with mushrooms. This dish captures the meaty character of turkey along with the richness of the stuffing usually contained within. Who knows? Perhaps this dish might even convince you to try out vegetarianism!
If you need a fantastic vegetarian side dish to go along with your tofurkey roll, try making a green bean casserole. This is a quick, tasty, and healthy accompaniment that vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike can enjoy.
Save room for dessert
Here comes the moment you’ve all been waiting for—yes, it’s time for dessert! No Thanksgiving is complete without a pecan pie. After you’ve taken your turkey out of the oven, it’s time to bake this majestic, Thanksgiving pie for about 50 minutes. That way, by the time everyone has finished their main courses, this pie will be ready to go! Sweeten the deal with a dollop of sweet cream on top of every serving.
If you have a relative nagging you in the kitchen while you’re preparing the pecan pie, why not enlist them to cook up a second delicious Thanksgiving dessert? One idea comes to mind—a pumpkin pudding with raisins! Even if your family is devoid of hunger after so many servings of delicious food, this pumpkin pudding can also be put in the fridge and baked later in the evening, or even the next day. What better dessert is there to enjoy after feasting on leftover turkey sandwiches?