WHAT WASN’T ON THE PILGRIM’S TABLE: Besides the big bird, there are lots of other foods that have become traditional for the Thanksgiving meal. But you might be surprised to know that many of those foods were not on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims would have been surprised to see any of the following foods on their table:

  • Sweet potatoes, potatoes, or yams — These hadn’t yet been introduced inNew England.
  • Corn on the cob — What the Pilgrims called “Indian corn” was only used to make cornmeal.
  • Cranberry sauce — Although they had cranberries, they didn’t have sugar.
  • Popcorn — “Indian corn” could only be half-popped, and wouldn’t have tasted very good.
  • Pumpkin pie — However, they probably made a type of pumpkin pudding, sweetened by honey or syrup.

What you might be surprised to know was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving was fish and seafood, which was plentiful in coastal New England, including cod, bass, eel, clams and mussels.

PILGRIM CLOTHING MYTH: The image we all have in our heads of Pilgrims at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 is that of men and women who dressed only in black and white with big buckles on their shoes, hats and clothes. That idea of Pilgrim fashion is a myth. Buckles didn’t become popular until later in the 17th century, and black and white clothes were usually worn only on Sundays and at formal occasions. Instead, women usually wore red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green and brown.

TURKEY TRIVIA: Here are some facts about the turkey you’ll be eating on Thanksgiving:

  • Scientific name: melegragris gallopavo
  • Plumage: bronze, dark brown and black on wild turkeys with 3,500 feathers at maturity
  • Turkeyslive in flocks, roosting at night in thick tree trunks.
  • Male turkeys are called “gobblers” or “toms” and female turkeys are called “hens.”
  • Turkeysare polygamous — one male has a harem of females.
  • Toms attract hens by gobbling and strutting.
  • Hens lay about 12 eggs at a time, which hatch in 28 days.
  • Turkeyscan fly at speeds up to 55 miles per hour and run at around 12 miles per hour.
  • Turkeyshave 27 calls besides the gobble, including the “kee-kee,” the “purr,” the “yelp,” the “whine” and the “cluck.”
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