Why Thanksgiving stories just have to be about turkey

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 22, 2018

The First Thanksgiving, 1621, Plymouth Colony, MA. The Pilgrims didn’t call the feast Thanksgiving

Ever noticed how Thanksgiving stories – the funny ones, and those about failure and fortitude – generally revolve around food?

I should rephrase that. They revolve around turkey. How it wasn’t properly cooked; or cooked way ahead of time; was brined wrong; or dangerously deep-fried. There are also those other stories about the turkey that fell on the floor, was surreptitiously wiped down and served up.

I guess it’s only right and proper there are all those turkey stories. After that First Thanksgiving in 1621 – attended by the Native Americans and the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony, MA –turkey played a big role in the new mythology. This was about bounty, freedom, new beginnings. I guess the turkey just has to feature in all Thanksgiving stories, funny, sad, or just absurd.

On another note, Thanksgiving was not really that American to begin with. As Nathaniel Philbrick writes in ‘Mayflower’, there was much about the First Thanksgiving that was “similar to a traditional English harvest festival, a secular celebration that dated back to the Middle Ages”.