A traditional Thanksgiving dinnerpage 1 / 2
The centerpiece of Thanksgiving in the United States is a large meal, generally centered around a large roasted turkey. The majority of the dishes in the traditional American version of Thanksgiving Dinner are made from foods native to the New World, according to tradition the Pilgrims received these foods from the American Indians. However, many of the classic traditions attributed to the first Thanksgiving are actually myths introduced later.
Because turkey is the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving is sometimes colloquially called Turkey Day or poultry day. Most Thanksgiving turkeys are stuffed with a cereal-based stuffing and roasted. Sage is the traditional herb added to the stuffing, along with chopped celery, carrots, and onions.
Nontraditional foods other than turkey are sometimes served as the main dish for a Thanksgiving dinner. Goose and duck, foods which were traditional European centerpieces of Christmas dinners before being displaced by ham, are now sometimes served in place of the Thanksgiving turkey. 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.
Many other foods are served alongside the main dish—so many that, because of the amount of food, the Thanksgiving meal is sometimes served midday or early afternoon to make time for all the eating, and preparation may begin at dawn or on days prior.
Many Americans would say it's "incomplete" without cranberry sauce, stuffing or dressing, and gravy. Other commonly served dishes include sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice, dumplings, corn on the cob or hominy, deviled eggs, green beans or green bean casserole, peas and carrots, wheat flour bread rolls, cornbread, or biscuits, rutabagas or turnips, and a Waldorf salad.
For dessert, various pies are often served, particularly apple pie, mincemeat pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate meringue pie and pecan pie, with the last three being particularly American.