When Is Thanksgiving in 2014?
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Think it's too early to prepare for Thanksgiving? Think again
Simplify your Thanksgiving planning by starting early and using The Daily Meal's Guide to Thanksgiving.
The same thing happens every year: you find yourself at the end of July starting to think about back-to-school supplies, then all of a sudden it’s Labor Day, then Columbus Day, then Halloween, and before you know it, Thanksgiving and the holiday season have crept up on you out of nowhere.
But apparently, Americans have started thinking about Thanksgiving earlier than ever, according to a Google search trends report. And why shouldn’t they? With the hoards of aunts, uncles, and grandparents that descend upon households during that week in November, planning ahead easily makes what could potentially be a very stressful few days worry-free.
In 2014, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 27, leaving you plenty of time to prepare for your best Thanksgiving yet. Start thinking about sweet potatoes, stuffing, and — of course — turkey, as you count down the days toward entering one of the biggest food comas of the year. If you want to go ahead and mark off your calendar for the coming years, plan to celebrate Thanksgiving on:
Thursday, November 26 in 2015
Thursday, November 24 in 2016
Thursday, November 23 in 2017
Thursday, November 22 in 2018
Thursday, November 28 in 2019
Here at The Daily Meal, planning ahead is on the brain with our Guide to Thanksgiving, which outlines all the recipes, advice, and entertaining tips you could possibly need to prepare yourself far in advance. While thinking about fall holidays in this sweltering July heat may seem strange, you’ll thank yourself later once you’ve hosted a stress-free Thanksgiving gathering. It’s never too early to plan ahead.
Friends, Food and Turkey Day Tips Are on the Menu at Thanksgiving at Bobby's
If you've ever wondered what Thanksgiving looks like when an Iron Chef is in charge, you're in luck because for the first time, fans will be able to watch Bobby Flay as he hosts his Food Network friends for a celebratory feast. On the all-new upcoming special Thanksgiving at Bobby's, airing Saturday, Nov. 22 at 12|11c, Bobby will be joined by some of your other favorite chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli, Katie Lee, Sunny Anderson and Michael Symon, and together they will cook up a turkey day spread complete with all of the trimmings. They'll even break down each course with chef-tested tips so you can tackle the holiday with ease.
In true Iron Chef style, Bobby's menu will feature traditional picks like a simply roasted turkey and a hearty cornbread stuffing, but his recipes and those from the group will include new ways to dress up old-fashioned classics, like a maple glaze for his bird and a boldly spiced cauliflower side dish from Alex. Perhaps best of all, with five cooks in the kitchen, you can guarantee that the cast will offer strategies for stress-free hosting at home and share quick tricks for turning out next-level flavor at your house.
Tune in to Thanksgiving at Bobby's on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 12|11c.
When Is Thanksgiving in 2014? - Recipes
Are you guys ready for Thanksgiving yet?! This year we are going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving across the state in eastern Washington. Thankfully, as I have mentioned many times before, my parents are also nutritarian, so healthful and delicious foods will not be hard to come by this holiday! We will have a few dishes on our menu not nutritarian-friendly for my husband, brother, and sister-in-law.
For the night before Thanksgiving as everyone is getting into town, we are having a simple dinner of Vegan Red Beans and Rice with a simple side salad. Find my recipe for red beans and rice here.
Grandma's Garlic Dip - A recipe deep in our family tradition, but not nutritarian
Layered Taco Dip - My mom recipe she has used for years, although she has modified it to nearly eliminate the bad stuff (cheese and sour cream)
Amy's Hummus - This has become a family favorite in recent years. Find my recipe here.
Veggies, fruit, crackers, pita bread
Pomegranate and apple salad - inspired by this recipe, but we will be making our own oil-free dressing
Mashed potatoes - the traditional kind with butter and milk for the non-nutritarians at the feast
Mushroom Herb Gravy - healthier version of gravy, recipe here
Baked Oriental Sweet Potatoes - This is my new favorite type of sweet potato. It has a pink/purple skin with white insides.
Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing, with Roasted Brussels Sprouts - recipe here and here
Traditional Stuffing - for the non-nutritarians
Macaroni and Cheese - for my husband mainly, recipe here
Whole Wheat Rolls - my mom's recipe
Vegan Cabbage Rolls - recipe here
Small turkey with traditional stuffing
Marrionberry Pie - store bought
Pumpkin Pie - traditional homemade crust, with this vegan pumpkin filling
Is our Thanksgiving line-up perfectly nutritarian? Of course not! But it is miles and miles more healthful than most of the Thanksgivings we grew up with.
Did I mention that I get to see these two butterballs next week? I just can't wait to see my nephews!
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When Is Thanksgiving in 2014? - Recipes
Susan Vaughan here. Yes, I know Thanksgiving comes later in the month, but sharing these killer Thanksgiving recipes allows time to shop for ingredients.
Thanksgiving is my husband’s favorite holiday—family and friends, great food, but no pressure about gifts—so we have the complete Thanksgiving turkey dinner, no matter it’s just the two of us. Back in the Dark Ages when I grew up, the only cranberry sauce I knew was a tasteless jelly that came in a can (sorry, Ocean Spray). One spoonful and I decided this side to the turkey extravaganza was not for me. As an adult, I shunned even homemade sauce, thinking it would be no better. It wasn’t until I married that I learned to love the real thing. At my in-laws’ home for our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, of course I couldn’t turn down my mother-in-law’s homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce. Yeah, it’s a cliché in novels when an author describes taste as exploding on the tongue, but that was exactly my experience. At last, a cranberry sauce that made my taste buds dance. Every Thanksgiving since, I’ve made her killer recipe and am sharing it with you in her memory. The recipe can be adjusted for different amounts of berries.
Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce
MRS.VAUGHAN’S CRANBERRY SAUCE
Ingredients: 12 ounces fresh cranberries, 1 ½ cups of water, 1 ½ cups of sugar.
Combine all in a saucepan and heat on stovetop. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pour into a bowl or mold. Chill. The sauce jells nicely and looks pretty, almost too pretty to eat.
Next up is a to-die-for pumpkin pie recipe. It’s a lower-fat version of the classic dessert, but no one ever notices the difference (and I’ve kept the low-fat secret from my husband for years).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Ingredients: 3 eggs or 4 egg whites, 1 can pumpkin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon cloves ½ teaspoon salt, 1 can (14 ounces) Eagle Brand Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk, a nine-inch unbaked pie crust.
In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add pumpkin, spices, salt. Beat until well blended. Slowly add the condensed milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 25-30 minutes longer, or until a knife comes out clean. Serves 8.
When Is Thanksgiving in 2014? - Recipes
|When is Thanksgiving in 2014?|
The date of Thanksgiving in 2014 is on Thursday, November 27th.
|What is Thanksgiving?|
Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. It is a holiday that is primarily celebrated in the United States but is also popular in Canada, where it was actually celebrated prior to the United States. The national holiday is dedicated to giving thanks for family and friends and is characterized by large gatherings and feasts where turkey is consumed.
Thanksgiving originated in the year 1621 at Pymouth in modern-day Massachusetts when the Pilgrims and Native Americans held a joint celebration and feast to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.
Up until 1863, various states celebrated Thanksgiving on different days towards the end of the year. The celebrations were held after the harvest and before the approaching winter. In 1863, President Abrham Lincoln made a presidential proclomation to have Thanksgiving celebrated on the same date throughout the United States, which was to be the final Thursday in November. Even though President Lincoln made the Thanksgiving proclomation in 1863, the United States as a whole did not celebrate Thanksgiving on the same date until the 1870's when the United States was reconstructed following the Civil War between the northern and southern states. In 1941, President Franklin. D. Roosevelt along with the United States Congress signed a joint resolution to have the national date of Thanksgiving to be moved from the final Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November.
The most popular Thanksgiving 2014 traditions are Thanksgiving meals with friends and family, NFL games, and the large Thanksgiving day parades including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, and the oldest American Thanksgiving day parade, 6abc's Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.
Honoring abundance by wasting less: Thanksgiving comes of age
My mother-in-law is an inventive, skilled cook who comes from a long line of Texas farmers and ranchers. Her family members, she says, “waste nothing.” So there’s an edge to the story she tells about her first Thanksgiving as a young wife, when she interpreted the cookbook’s instructions to “baste the turkey with a stick of butter every 30 minutes” to mean a new stick of butter each time.
“I don’t know how many sticks of butter I used,” she said, “but the turkey was very moist.”
Whether it’s cooking snafus that result from experimentation with unfamiliar recipes or the preparation of bounteous meals, Thanksgiving is a holiday of waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans throw out 35 percent of the turkey meat they buy. From this, Dana Gunders, staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, extrapolated that Americans discard 200 million pounds of turkey every year. Compounding the ecological cost is the fact that turkey production has the sixth largest carbon footprint of 20 sources of protein, after lamb, beef, cheese, pork and farmed salmon.
The Environmental Protection Agency has identified another consequence of food waste: climate change. When old food is cleared out of the refrigerator to make way for the turkey, vegetables and other foods, it goes to landfills, where it generates methane gas. (Leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal itself generate methane in landfills, too.)
But reducing this environmental impact isn’t as easy as merely using a Thanksgiving meal calculator, smaller plates or better recipes for turkey leftovers. To get people to change and make Thanksgiving less wasteful, we have to delve into what a food surplus means.
The reason for the waste isn’t hard to figure out: Thanksgiving requires us to violate the First Principle of Food Waste, which says, “The more repetitive your diet — the more you eat the same things day after day — the less food you waste.” (The First Principle was derived from findings by the Garbage Project, an ongoing archaeology initiative in Tucson, Arizona, that attempts to understand patterns of American consumption from excavations of landfills.)
At Thanksgiving, we don’t buy, cook or eat our usual foods. As a result, cooking accidents probably occur more frequently, because the ordinary home cook has less experience with special foods. Take my mother-in-law’s overreliance on butter, for example. (The National Turkey Federation says that most turkey consumption in the United States now occurs during the rest of the year, though I doubt this means that Americans are spending their time cooking more whole turkeys.)
Leftovers from Thanksgiving meals are easier to throw out because we don’t usually eat them. We don’t feel attached to them. I’d wager that defenders of stuffing and cranberry sauce would be shocked by the huge volume of their favorite foods that ends up in the trash on the fourth Friday of November. (When my wife and I kept a journal of foods we threw out in 2013, we listed ordinary foods like toast and blueberries but also many special items like lobster, leeks, burdock root and Brussels sprouts.) Many online guides to reducing food waste encourage sending guests home with food. But if the guests don’t eat those foods either, even the most lovingly wrapped bundles will end up in the compost.
We also waste food at Thanksgiving because we deliberately create a surplus. Here’s where the meanings of food, and plenty of it, come into play. (It’s not just Thanksgiving — you can find a lot on the Web about food waste at Passover and Eid). We cook in larger amounts than usual not only because we expect more guests, but also because the Thanksgiving meal includes the first and second rounds of leftovers as well as the initial formal one. One would be ashamed not to be able to provide turkey sandwiches during a halftime show, so one overcooks. Perhaps we’re being hospitable and generous to family and friends who aren’t expected to reciprocate, but these feasts are designed to show, by their lavishness, that guests can’t reciprocate.
In this sense, Thanksgiving resembles the potlatch ceremonies held by indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest, in which huge amounts of food or manufactured objects are given away or even destroyed in displays of social status.
Anthropologist Michael Harkin at the University of Wyoming, who studied communities in British Columbia that practice potlatch, had some caveats about comparing potlatch to Thanksgiving. For one thing, potlatch as we know it is a relatively recent invention, an adaption to European contact. For another, it varies from place to place. In Alaska, the Tlingit potlatch emphasizes reciprocity and sympathy between groups. In the more famous Kwakiutl potlatch, it is about symbolically conquering the invitee.
Yet potlatch is closer to our own Thanksgiving than we think. “If we accept the myth of the first Thanksgiving,” Harkin wrote in an email, “It was very much along the lines of the potlatch, as it was a demonstration of the superior wealth and beneficence of the Wampanoags.” In other words, the Native Americans weren’t generously saving the early American settlers with a feast they were ritually conquering them by placing them in debt.
Seen in this light, a surplus of food, even if it leads to waste, is the meaning of the meal. We’ve done so well, it says, we can afford to waste things.
anthropologist, University of Wyoming
To change Thanksgiving, we might again take a lesson from the history of potlatch. In the late 19th century, the Canadian government outlawed potlatch ceremonies because they seemed wasteful, but by the 1950s, many communities had revived potlatch. The lavishness couldn’t be abandoned, because people needed it to secure their status.
Indigenous communities were also never very amenable to the argument about waste as immoral, because they have a different notion of the ecosystem in which humans exist, Harkin said. In part, their ecological worldview was built on acknowledging and honoring relationships between species. For instance, the bones of salmon are thrown back into the river in order to ensure future generations of fish.
“Overconsumption,” he said, “is fine as long as you do the proper rituals and pay the proper respects.”
As we prepare our Thanksgiving meals this year, keep a few things in mind to reduce waste:
• Try to cook foods that are part of your diet, so that you violate the First Principle of Food Waste as little as possible.
• In lieu of a ritual that honors the relationships between species, write down what you cook for Thanksgiving and everything you throw away. As I found when I kept the food waste journal in 2013, it’s a powerful tool for helping us see what we need to change.
• Don’t waste food during the rest of the year. If there’s food waste at Thanksgiving, it’s because it reflects our worst food habits. If you want to honor the early American settlers, remember that they could never take a food surplus for granted.
The tradition of Thanksgiving dinner often has been associated in popular culture with New England. New England Puritans proclaimed days of thanksgiving to commemorate many specific events. Such days were marked by religious observances, prayer, and sometimes fasting. Church records of the time do not mention food or feasting as being part of such events. A single exception records that following church services in 1636, there was “Then makeing merry to the creatures, the poorer sort being invited of the richer.” 
On December 11, 1621, Edward Winslow of the Plimoth Plantation wrote a letter in hopes of attracting more colonists. In it, he described a three-day feast shared by the Plymouth settlers and the local Wampanoag tribe. The Governor sent out four men who provided a variety of fowls, sufficient to feed the colony for a week, while Massasoit's hunters killed five deer. In the 1800s, this event became associated with the idea of a Thanksgiving feast. In a footnote in 1841, Alexander Young claimed that this event “was the first thanksgiving, the harvest festival of New England”.  Jamestown, Virginia and other locations have also been suggested as sites of the "First Thanksgiving". 
One of the most persistent advocates for Thanksgiving as a national holiday was writer Sarah Josepha Hale.  Although she advocated for Thanksgiving in editorials in Godey’s Lady’s Book from 1837 onwards, Hale did not associate the Plymouth Pilgrims with Thanksgiving until a brief mention in 1865. In 1872, in “America’s Thanksgiving Hymn,” she credits the Pilgrims as being "free to do and pray, And keep in sober gladness Their first Thanksgiving Day". Hale did not suggest that the Pilgrim thanksgiving included feasting. 
Other writers were less discerning. Jane G. Austin published a fictional account of the Pilgrims, Standish of Standish in 1889. Austin describes the Pilgrims, a year after their arrival, as feasting on turkey stuffed with beechnuts, other types of fowl, venison, boiled beef and other roasts, oysters, clam chowder, plum-porridge, hasty pudding, sea biscuit, manchet bread, butter, treacle, mustard, turnips, salad, grapes, plums, popcorn, ale and root beer. Austin's lavish description disregards the historical record and the deaths due to starvation and malnutrition that occurred in the Plymouth Colony that winter. Nonetheless, her account was extremely popular. It was repeated by other writers, adapted for plays and public events, and adopted by school curricula. The writing of Austin and others helped to establish the inaccurate image of the Pilgrim Thanksgiving feast in popular culture and make it a part of the national identity of the United States. 
The use of the turkey in the United States for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln's nationalization of the holiday in 1863. In her novel Northwood or, a Tale of New England (1827), Sarah Josepha Hale devoted an entire chapter to Thanksgiving dinner, emphasizing many of the foods that are now considered traditional. Although many other meats are mentioned, "the roasted turkey took precedence on this occasion, being placed at the head of the table and well did it become its lordly station, sending forth the rich odour of its savoury stuffing". With respect to desserts, "the celebrated pumpkin pie". "occupied the most distinguished niche" and was described as "an indispensable part of a good and true Yankee Thanksgiving". 
Sugar, among other food commodities, was rationed from 1942 to 1946.  In 1947, as part of a voluntary rationing campaign, the Harry Truman Administration attempted to promote "Poultryless Thursdays," discouraging Americans from eating poultry or egg products on Thursdays. Because Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, this meant that turkey and pumpkin pie, two Thanksgiving staples, were discouraged, not only for that holiday, but for Christmas and New Year's Day as well, since those holidays landed on Thursday in 1947. (Pumpkin pie was discouraged because it contained eggs.) The National Poultry and Egg Board furiously lobbied the President to cease promoting the plan it culminated in a truce at the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation shortly before Thanksgiving in 1947. Turkey was no longer forbidden, but Eggless Thursdays remained for the rest of the year, meaning no pumpkin pie was served at the White House dinner that year. 
Turkey is the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving dinner, to the point where Thanksgiving is sometimes colloquially called "Turkey Day." Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that "No citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day",   and Benjamin Franklin had high regard for the wild turkey as an American icon.   As Thanksgiving Day rose in popularity during the 1800s, so too did the turkey. By 1857, turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England. 
The domesticated turkey eaten now is very different from the wild turkey known to the Pilgrims, Hamilton, and Franklin. The species Meleagris gallopavo was native to the Americas and evolved around 5 million years ago. At least five subspecies are still found in 48 states, Mexico and Canada. A separate species, Ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata), is rare but still found in the Yucatan Peninsula. Wild turkey can fly at up to 55 mph and run at up to 25 mph, making them hard to catch. 
The southern Mexico subspecies Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo is almost extinct,  but it was taken to Europe from Mexico by the Spanish in the early 16th century. Its descendants later returned to America.  Twentieth century commercial varieties of turkey were bred from these European descendants. The Beltsville Small White turkey was bred by the USDA at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland in response to consumer demand for a small (8-15 pound) turkey with more white meat and no dark feathers. It was introduced commercially in 1947 and dominated the market for nearly 20 years.  
The Beltsville Small White was supplanted by the Broad Breasted White turkey, bred specifically for large feasts such as Thanksgiving. Specimens can grow to over 40 pounds, but the breed must be artificially bred and suffers from health problems due to its size.  It is estimated that more than 99% of the American turkeys eaten are Broad Breasted Whites.  In 2006, American turkey growers were expected to raise 270 million turkeys, to be processed into five billion pounds of turkey meat valued at almost $8 billion, with one third of all turkey consumption occurring in the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, and a per capita consumption of almost 18 pounds (8.2 kg). 
Most Thanksgiving turkeys are stuffed with a bread-based mixture and roasted. Sage is the traditional herb added to the stuffing, along with chopped onions and celery.   Other ingredients, such as chopped chestnuts or other tree nuts, crumbled sausage or bacon, carrots, cranberries, raisins, or apples, may be added to stuffing. If the mixture is cooked outside the bird, liquid is generally added.  A number of cultural factors may affect whether it is referred to as "stuffing" or "dressing".   Deep-fried turkey has also been suggested due to its shorter preparation time, but carries safety risks. 
The consumption of turkey on Thanksgiving is so ingrained in American culture that each year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey to the President of the United States prior to each Thanksgiving.  These turkeys were initially slaughtered and eaten for the President's Thanksgiving dinner since 1989, the presented turkeys have typically been given a mock pardon to great fanfare and sent to a park to live out the rest of their usually short natural lives. 
Alternatives to turkey Edit
Entrees other than turkey are sometimes served at Thanksgiving dinner, either alongside the turkey or in place of it as the main dish. Baked ham is served at Thanksgiving in many households.  Roast goose or duck, foods which were traditional European centerpieces of Christmas dinners before being displaced, are now sometimes served in place of the Thanksgiving turkey.  Italian-Americans might serve capon as the main course to the Thanksgiving meal.  Irish immigrants might have prime rib of beef as their centerpiece since beef in Ireland was once a rarity families would save up money for this dish to signify newfound prosperity and hope.
Sometimes, fowl native to the region where the meal is taking place is used for example, Texas Monthly magazine suggested quail as a main dish.  In a few areas of the West Coast of the United States, Dungeness crab is common as an alternate main dish, as crab season starts in early November.  Similarly, Thanksgiving falls within deer hunting season in the Northeastern United States, which encourages the use of venison as a centerpiece.  In Alaskan villages, whale meat is sometimes eaten. 
John Madden, NFL Thanksgiving Day commentator from 1981 to 2001, advocated turducken: deboned turkey, duck and chicken nested inside each other and then cooked.  
At the other end of the range, vegetarians or vegans may choose a tofu, wheat gluten or lentil-based substitute such as tofurky,  or serve vegetable-based dishes such as stuffed squash which are more often considered sides.  Vegetarian menus for Thanksgiving date back at least as far as 1897, when they were discussed by the Vegetarian club of the University of Chicago. 
In the United States, a globalist approach to Thanksgiving has become common with the impact of immigration. Basic "Thanksgiving" ingredients, or the intent of the holiday, can be transformed to a variety of dishes by using flavors, techniques, and traditions from their own cuisines. Others celebrate the holiday with a variety of dishes particularly when there is a crowd to be fed, guests' tastes vary and considering the financial means available.   
Many offerings are typically served alongside the main dish. Copious leftovers are also common following the meal proper. Traditional Thanksgiving foods are sometimes specific to the day, and although some of the dishes might be seen at any semi-formal meal in the United States, the Thanksgiving dinner often has something of a ritual or traditional quality to it. 
Many Americans would regard Thanksgiving dinner as "incomplete" without stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and cranberry sauce.  A recipe for cranberry sauce to be served with turkey appeared in the first American cookbook, American Cookery (1796) by Amelia Simmons.  Commonly served vegetable dishes include winter squash and sweet potatoes, the latter often prepared with sweeteners such as brown sugar, molasses, or marshmallows.  Other roasted vegetables are often served, such as carrots or parsnips, celery, beets, turnips, radishes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower.   
Creamed corn is also popular.  Green beans are frequently served in particular, green bean casserole. The recipe was invented in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly for the Campbell Soup Company to promote use of its cream of mushroom soup. It has become a Thanksgiving standard.  
The Ancient Greek Thanksgiving Celebration and a Recipe for Greek Turkey
Peter Minaki of Kalofagas.ca shows us the way to roast the turkey the Greek way.
Thanksgiving day is celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, something that the ancient Greeks also did thousands of years ago.
Today we give give thanks not only for our wonderful provider mother earth, but also for our ancestors having found the new world. Although the holiday may have been religious in origin, now is primarily identified as a secular holiday in North America. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. In the United States it falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thesmophoria: An Ancient Greek Thanksgiving Celebration
For thousands of years festivals for giving thanks have been taking place in many locations around the world. In ancient Greece when the underworld god Hades abducted the young maiden Persephone, her mother Demeter wouldn’t feed the world, and winter came upon the land. When Persephone was restored an elated Demeter gave the gift of agriculture to mankind.
The Greeks believed that because of her the earth provided the bounty it did. Honoring her with offerings and ceremonies would promise a new and fresh harvest each year. The holiday dedicated to Demeter was called Thesmophoria. Demeter was also called Thesmophoros because she gave certain thesmoi ‘laws’ to mankind. The festival Thesmophoria, was held in the fall during a month known as Pyanopsion. It occurred between October and November in the same months as the Canadian and U.S. Thanksgivings. The Thesmophoria were the most widespread festivals and the main expression of the cult of Demeter, aside from the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Today Greeks in America and Canada not only celebrate the modern day “Thesmophoria,” but also add Greek flavor to the American Thanksgiving tradition. Ask any Greek and they will give you a variation on how to cook the turkey, or, you can get chef Peter Minakis’ Greek style Turkey, below.
A Guide to the Greek Thanksgiving Table – By Peter Minaki
As Greeks living in the US and Canada, Thanksgiving is an easy celebration to adopt. Thanksgiving dinners are big, drawn out affairs. Greek dinners are big, plenty of food for everybody and it’s only natural that the Greek Thanksgiving table offers a hybrid of Greek and American classics.
First, build your menu around the centerpiece – that being the turkey. Buy an organic, local turkey and give it a Greek twist: a stuffing with ground meat, giblets, raisins, pine nuts, rice and herbs and spices of your choice. Allspice comes to mind.
Mashed potatoes and gravy from turkey drippings are the natural sides but why don’t you add some garlic and Greek yogurt in the mash? I make my cranberry sauce scented with cloves and orange zest. Roasted root vegetables are a favourite in our home and I love tossing them in fresh orange juice, olive oil, thyme, fennel and a splash of wine.
Waiting for the turkey to be ready causes one to think of appetizers or something to nibble on until the big meal is ready: Spanakopita or tyropites (cheese pie), offer some warm olives in citrus and spices, make some dips like Tyrokafteri or roasted red pepper dip with some pita bread wedges and an array of Greek cheeses. Dolmadakia with some Tzatziki for dipping will keep the family at bay until dinner’s ready.
With my family, we like soups now that the cold weather has arrived and a turkey Avgolemono soup is the perfect start to your sit down Thanksgiving dinner. Also, we always have one or two people who don’t like turkey so, being Greek means we have to have everyone participate and eat at the Thanksgiving table. Make a Pastitsio or Moussaka. It may seem like a lot of food but remember we are Greeks…portion control is a fantasy.
It’s Thanksgiving – decide on pumpkin or apple pie then round’out your desserts with one of my favourites, a Galaktoboureko. It’s one of the best Greek desserts. Serve Greek coffee with dessert and have some fun with some coffee cup reading. Invite that “magissa” aunt over to tell our fortunes!
To complete the Greek Thanksgiving table, why not add some Greek wine to help wash down the feast? Think about it: we spend the whole winter thinking summers in Greece so there’s nothing better than uncorking Greece. For your starters, open a bottle of Amalia Brut, a sparkling wine from Mantinia Tselepos or try a Kir Yanni sparkling rose.
You could then open an Agiorghitiko red to go with your turkey or try a Xinomavro/Syrah from northern Greece. If you’re the type that wants to stick to whites with your turkey, a Malagouzia or Assyrtiko will be a sure crowd pleaser.
For dessert, you may offer a Vinsanto from Santorini or a chilled glass of Muscat from Limnos or Samos.
We are Canadians and Americans but we are also proud Greeks and nothing says Greek pride like sharing our Greek heritage at the festive table. Have a delicious, safe and memorable Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends!
Recipe for Greek stuffed turkey (Γαλοπούλα-γεμιστή in Greek)
3 bay leaves
handful of peppercorns
3 cloves of garlic
a bunch of fresh thyme
small handful of parsley
1/2 cup of Mosxato wine
handful of allspice berries
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 cup of salt
enough water to cover the turkey
1 large turkey (5.7kgs) feeds 10
sea salt pepper
combination of dried thyme, oregano and rosemary
Pre-heated 325F oven
Greek turkey Stuffing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 pork sausages, casings removed
1/2 lb. lean ground pork
1 packet of turkey giblets, finely chopped
1 bay leaf 1 tsp. dry oregano
3/4 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup wild rice
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup of Mosxato wine
1/2 cup of raisins
1 1/2 cups of turkey/vegetable stock
1 cup of chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup of pine nuts
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground clove
16 Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Be Grateful For
There are a few classic dishes that everyone expects to see on the Thanksgiving dinner table&mdasha juicy, golden brown turkey garnished with herbs and citrus, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, flaky, buttery rolls, and a variety of fresh, flavorful vegetable side dishes. To help you get started with Thanksgiving menu planning, here are 15 traditional Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing? This savory bread casserole is essential, so here are three versions to consider making for the feast. Cornbread, Bacon, Leek, and Pecan Stuffing is packed with flavor and texture while many stuffing recipes call for country white bread, cornbread is a colorful addition for the fall harvest. If you're thinking about making a more traditional dressing for the table, this pecan version should hit the mark. Chopped, toasted pecans add just a hint of crunch and nuttiness that pairs well with the other ingredients such as fresh herbs, celery and onions, and the savory flavors from chicken broth. Or try our Vegan Stuffing with Mushroom and Leeks, pictured here, so that vegetarians and dairy-averse can dig in, too. All three are guaranteed to delight so you can't go wrong.
Of course, root vegetables are at the heart of many of our favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. One of the key players is mashed potatoes&mdashmake Garlic Mashed Potatoes for a boost of flavor or take a page out of Martha's playbook and make her mom's recipe, Big Martha's Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese. Looking to add some festive color to your tablescape? Sweet and light Mashed Sweet Potatoes are just the thing (they also make a delicious base for Sweet Potato Casserole!).