Food & Drink

The Foods They Really Ate At The First Thanksgiving (PHOTOS)

No turkey or cranberry sauce here.
11/08/2013 10:04am ET

We all know the modern staples of a Thanksgiving dinner: cranberry sauce, roast turkey, stuffing and more. But would it surprise you to know that none of these were present at the first Thanksgiving feast?

It's true -- historians believe that most modern Thanksgiving foods are additions that have come over the years since the first feast. Other things that the settlers probably didn't eat? Potatoes, corn on the cob and pumpkin pie.

So if they didn't eat what we know as 'traditional' Thanksgiving foods today, what foods were present at this meal? Instead of wild turkey, it was likely that the settlers ate roast duck or goose. Additionally, seafood, including lobster, clams and mussels, made an appearance at the meal in the New England colony. The forest provided chestnuts and walnuts, and crops provided squash, carrots, and peas for sides. Though corn is one of the most iconic Thanksgiving foods, it's unlikely that settlers had corn on the cob this time of year -- the only corn present at the first Thanksgiving was dried.

Now that you know what foods actually made an appearance at the first Thanksgiving, we've put together 12 recipes that will help you give your feast a bit more authenticity. This year, don't be afraid to switch things up by going back to this holiday's roots.

1
Duck
Mimi Thorisson/Manger
2
Goose
Simply Recipes
Get the Roast Goose Recipe by Hank Shaw, via Simply Recipes
3
Lobster
James Ransom/Food52
Get the New England Lobster Rolls with Lemon Chive Mayonnaise Recipe by Sonali aka The Foodie Physician
4
Clams
Simply Recipes
Get the New England Steamers Recipe by Simply Recipes
5
Mussels
Mimi Thorisson/Manger
Get the Plenty of Mussels Recipe by Manger
6
Chestnuts
TASTE
7
Walnuts
Simply Recipes
8
Corn
New Media Publishing
9
Pumpkin
Foodie Crush
10
Squash
How Sweet It Is
Get the Crispy Acorn Squash Rounds Recipe by How Sweet It Is
11
Carrots
Kristy Mucci/Food52
Get the Miso Curry Carrots Recipe by Kristy Mucci/Food52
12
Peas
Simply Recipes
Get the Grilled English Peas Recipe by Simply Recipes

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