[Newsletter | November] – All About Thanksgiving: History and Cuisine

History of Thanksgiving

Around the 16th – 17th centuries, a number of Catholics and Puritans in England were forced by the king at that time to convert to his religion. These people disobeyed and were imprisoned. After being detained for a while, they still refused to change, so they were forced to leave England.

After moving to the Netherlands to live for a period of time, the people quickly realized that they could not integrate into the culture of this country and feared that their descendants would lose their roots, so they continued to migrate to America in 1620 on a ship called the Mayflower. The people on this ship (about 102 people), later known as the Pilgrims, arrived in the winter and established Plymouth Colony, New England. Hungry and cold, half of them did not survive the harsh winter.

Mayflower II at State Pier in Plymouth, Massachusetts, 2006 Source: Wikipedia

In spring, they were lucky enough to meet the kind Indians who gave them some food. These same Indians also taught the Pilgrims how to survive in the new land by teaching them how to grow crops and hunt for food. When the Pilgrims were able to take care of themselves, they held a party to thank God for allowing them to live until today. They invited the Indians to come to eat and drink happily together. From then on, every year the descendants of the Pilgrims always held a Thanksgiving ceremony to give thanks for the good things that had come to life.

Nowadays, the  annual Thanksgiving tradition continues in America and is considered a day for family members to reunite and bond closer together after nearly a year of hard work and study. Under candlelight at the dinner table, members of the family often hold hands, close their eyes, thank God for his blessings, and pray for a good future with lots of luck, however it is celebrated throughout America by families regardless of their religious beliefs.           

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Thanksgiving is one of the most famous holidays in the United States. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. With the theme of the holiday revolving around giving thanks, one of the most famous activities during the holiday is to celebrate with a Thanksgiving dinner (informally called turkey dinner). This is the day when family members gather together and enjoy a cozy dinner that traditionally consists of foods and dishes indigenous to the Americas, namely turkey, potatoes (usually mashed or sweet), squash, corn (maize), green beans, cranberries (typically in sauce form), and pumpkin pie. 


Traditional Dishes on Thanksgiving

Roasted Turkey

Roasted turkey is the most popular and most traditional dish on Thanksgiving. It is the main image associated with the holiday. Turkeys are usually baked or roasted in an oven for several hours, often while the cook prepares the remainder of the meal. After the preparations to make sure the turkey is clean, it will be grilled or roasted with vegetables, breadcrumbs, fruit or meat of your choice stuffed inside. The outer layer of the turkey skin is often coated with wine or honey, giving the dish an attractive color and a wonderful flavor. Roasted turkey is normally served with gravy and mashed potato, the gravy that is made from the drippings of roasted turkey meat. The drippings will be cooked on the stove at high heat with some vegetables and onions then thickened with a mixture of water and either cornstarch or wheat flour.

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Grilled Vegetables

Grilled or stir-fried vegetables served with the main dish at the Thanksgiving dinner table are extremely rich and colorful. They help balance the meal’s nutrition and taste extremely delicious. The Thanksgiving roasted vegetable recipe contains carrots, squash, beets, and sweet potatoes. The veggies will be mixed up with olive oil, salt, and pepper and sprinkled with some spices or some chopped fresh herbs. To finish the dish, everything will be baked on a baking sheet for around 20 – 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces and the type of veggies.

Baked Beans

After turkey, a cheese-baked string bean dish is also an extremely popular dish on Thanksgiving Day throughout the United States. This dish occurs in Native American cuisine and is made from beans indigenous to the Americas. Baked beans were believed to have been adopted by English New England colonists in the 17th century and then popularized and spread to other regions of the United States through cookbooks published around the 19th century. The string beans will be washed, and baked in the oven with mushroom milk sauce, onions, etc. Although string beans are considered a side dish, its taste is not inferior to the main dish on this holiday.


Americans not only refer to the ingredients stuffed turkey as “stuffing”, but other separately prepared popular Thanksgiving dishes are also considered to be stuffing. Vegetables, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, or bacon… will be processed and then stacked on top of each other, covered with foil, and then baked in the oven. All create an irresistibly delicious stuffing on the Thanksgiving table.

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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a traditional dessert on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving takes place at a time of changing seasons, so pumpkin pie makes people feel that autumn is still present amid the cold winter that is approaching. The mild spicy flavors of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger blend with the rich layer of crushed pumpkin, creating a special attraction for this pie.

Mashed sweet potatoes

In addition to potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes mixed with milk cream or yogurt are also a popular snack during year-end holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are fleshy and smooth combined with other ingredients to create an attractive dish.


The taste of cranberries is very tart and will normally need sugar to balance their tartness. Cranberries are absolutely perfect to serve with turkey; the flavors are just made for each other. Usually, cranberries will be cooked as cranberry sauce. The cranberries are also used in baking (muffins, scones, cakes, and breads), where they are often combined with orange or orange zest. And less commonly, sometimes cranberries are used to add tartness to savory dishes such as soups and stews.

As you all can see, traditional foods always play a big part in Thanksgiving celebrations. But the most important thing about this holiday is spending time with family. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for everything we have, to give thanks and help others, to break the wishbone for good luck or just simply to watch a football match with your loved ones. Noble Network wants to send our best wishes to our beloved friends, clients and customers to have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day that is full of love and blessings.

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