THE MENU and VARIATIONS—REGIONAL, ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS/ETHICAL, DIETARY
The standard Thanksgiving meal centers around a whole roast turkey, hence it’s knickname, turkey day. The turkey has to be accompanied by potatoes (usually mashed white potatos as well as mashed sweet potatoes), bread stuffing (cornbread dressing in the South), gravy, and cranberry sauce. Usually some type of roll is present as well as an assortment of vegetables: corn, beans, carrots (the three can be combined as succotash), turnips or other root vegetables, or any other vegetable. Salads are common, and desserts are a necessity. No Thanksgiving meal would be considered without a pumpkin pie or some dessert featuring pumpkin—cheesecake, roll, or cake. It is common to have an abundance of desserts, especially pies. This menu ,however, varies according to the region, ethnicity, and religion or ethical beliefs of the eaters. Nutritional or dietary considerations also come into play, so that the meal tends to be personalized to each family. Even if the dishes are the standard ones, the recipes themselves can differ. In this way, the meal can be seen as a metaphor for the nation with its citizens participating in a common activity in their own individual ways.
CONNECT: What is your usual Thanksgiving menu? Has it changed from your childhood menu? Does is reflect your region, ethnicity, religion, values or health concerns in any way?