Thanksgiving food, the special food made to celebrate the American and Canadian harvest festival, mainly highlights a dinner featuring the Thanksgiving Turkey as its most important menu inclusion. No wonder, this occasion, celebrated to express thankfulness to the harvest Gods, is also popular as the Turkey Festival. Apart from roasted turkey, the Thanksgiving food includes a variety of Thanksgiving dishes comprising appetizers, side and main courses, desserts and beverages. Popular Thanksgiving recipes include those for Cranberry Sauce, Giblet Gravy, Snowflake Potatoes, Hot Rolls, Fruit Salad and French Drip Coffee.
Thanksgiving food for the traditional festive dinner commonly includes roast turkey served with cranberry sauce. Other Thanksgiving dishes for the traditional meal include hot rolls, baked carrots, creamed asparagus tips, mince meat pie and snowflake potatoes. The popular Thanksgiving recipes considered for traditional accompaniment menu may commonly include the recipes for giblet gravy, oyster stew and dressing. Thanksgiving food includes an interesting assortment of desserts such as candy, fruit cake, apples and grapes. French Drip Coffee is consumed as a traditional beverage for the occasion. Cigarettes and cigars are found to be associated with the traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving turkey is stuffed with bread stuffing, using sage as the herb of choice for the dressing.
Roasted turkey had become the mandatory feature of a Thanksgiving food menu in the United States only after 1800.
Thanksgiving food of European countries originally included Thanksgiving dishes made of birds other than the turkey, such as the goose or the duck. Early settlers replaced the goose with the turkey as it was indigenous to the Americas and was thus easily available.
Thanksgiving food has undergone significant change since the olden times. In the modern times fried turkey is gaining prominence over roasted turkey. Goose and duck, which were originally eaten by the Europeans are reappearing in many modern thanksgiving dinner menus. The Texan quail, the Dungeness Crab of the West Coast, the Alaskan whale meat, the Irish prime beef rib are popular evidences of the deviation from inclusion of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey.
Variations in Thanksgiving recipes are made in the modern American cuisine with new ingredients, culinary methods and flavors and turkey has become one of the optional Thanksgiving dishes today for some, though largely it still dominates the American palates. Dishes made of tofu with turkey flavors are made for vegetarians. Even influences of foreign cuisines, such as the Chinese, have had an impact on the Thanksgiving food of the recent age.
Thanksgiving food is served on the dinner table especially arranged for the occasion by the host. The guests gather at the table and unlike Christmas or a birthday party, the guests do not present gifts to each other. Instead, they recollect all the good incidents of life that have happened to them in the past year and express their gratitude. The original custom of thanking the harvest Gods for a good harvest by the farmers has been incorporated by the American culture as a custom to generally express their thankfulness for all the good things in life.
According to Alexander Hamilton, The First US Secretary of the Treasury's proclamation, no US citizen should abstain from the turkey on Thanksgiving Day.