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Larry David's Thanksgivings Were Just Like Ours

Larry David's Thanksgivings Were Just Like Ours

He reminisces about family dinners and the special turkey day

For this Thanksgiving weekend, Funny or Die brings you an exclusive from Larry David, who was fairly confused about the turkey. Some questions he had: "Why did turkey have stuffing and not chicken? What was stuffing anyway? Was it part of the turkey? And if it was part of the turkey, how come it wasn’t part of the chicken?"

Watch below to meet his cousin Arthur who stewed over missing ice, uncle Leo who tended to eat in his undershirt, mother who belittled white-meat eaters, and father who always wanted his mother to sit down. You know, ordinary Thanksgiving stuff.

For more turkey talk, visit The Daily Meal's Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving!

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.

The story of John Madden's legendary turducken

There are countless NFL memories we’ll all have from Thanksgiving, but when you think of John Madden calling games on the holiday, you might associate him with one word: Turducken.

That’s the Frankenstein-like combination of duck, chicken and turkey that gives eaters a taste of each.

It was 20 years ago that Madden first tried the turducken, leading him to talk about it on the air and show it during many a Thanksgiving game, popularizing a dish that was familiar in Louisiana before thousands of turduckens were mailed around the world.

How did the turkey-duck-chicken make its way into Madden’s hands (literally)?

Let’s go farther back than 1997 for a second. First, you have to ask where the turducken originated from. The story isn’t completely clear.

Paul Prudhomme, the famous Louisiana chef who died in 2015, claims he invented it in the 1960s while working in Wyoming. Here’s part of the claim from a 1994 Times-Picayune article reprinted on

The original Turducken was introduced here in the 1970s by chef Paul Prudhomme. He invented the concept a decade earlier in Sheridan, Wyo., while working on a restaurant buffet line carving meats. Everything looked pretty except the turkey, he said. So the inventive chef set out to create something smashing. He eventually ended up with three birds, each with its own dressing. After moving back to New Orleans, Prudhomme gave it its name, then copyrighted Turducken in 1986.

“It’s that wild imagination I have and the physical abuse I give myself to make it happen,” he said, explaining the creation. “One of the greatest pleasures of my life has been to be able to do things like the Turducken that make people happy. It’s a huge effort but once you taste it, it is literally the best.”

But there’s also a story that in 1985, a farmer came to Hebert’s Specialty Meats and asked for the shop to combine all three fowls.

And that’s where Glenn Mistich comes in. Mistich’s wife Leah is from the family that owned Hebert’s, and he opened his Gourmet Butcher Block in 1994, where he used some savvy knifework to debone the trio of birds, line them up with various types of stuffing in between and sew them together.

He told For The Win that before Madden popularized the turducken, he sold 250 of them a year.

Then, in 1997, he heard longtime radio personality Bob Delgiorno talking on-air about getting Madden to try the dish before the Hall of Famer was set to broadcast a Rams-Saints game from the Superdome. Delgiorno told For The Win that he had interviewed Madden a few times on his show and that Mistich used to advertise the turducken on the station.

“Bob got in touch and we went to Superdome,” Mistich recalled. “Madden grabbed a piece of it with his hands and fell in love with it.”

Madden — who declined an interview request from For The Win — confirmed that was true to the New York Times in 2002.

“‘The P.R. guy for the Saints brought me one. And he brought it to the booth. It smelled and looked so good. I didn’t have any plates or silverware or anything, and I just started eating it with my hands.”

(AP Photo/Intelligencer Journal, Suzette Wenger)

There’s also this anecdote to add to that moment via

“I’m there eating this turducken with my fingers,” Madden recalled. “(Saints owner) Tom Benson comes in and I have all this stuff on my fingers and I’m doing that thing in my head where I’m wondering, ‘Do I shake his hand?’ ”

(For the record: Madden did shake Benson’s hand, sticky fingers and all, and he said the two haven’t spoken since.)

The next day, Mistich got a phone call he thought was a prank.

“I really loved it,” he remembered Madden saying. “Can you send one to me in California?”

Two weeks later, there was a FOX camera crew in his shop because Madden chose turducken to be the official “All-Madden Team” food. This year, he estimates he’ll sell between five and six thousand turduckens, two of which are shipped to Madden himself.

“Every year, he gets one for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Mistich said.

“I’m very grateful,” Mistich added. “I can’t say enough about what he’s done for our business. He’s definitely put it on a national level. Turducken is even in the dictionary now.”

(This story originally ran in 2017.)

10 Larry David

This might seem like a controversial sorting, but Larry David (portrayed by David himself) is a Ravenclaw. An argument can definitely be made for David (and most of these misanthropic characters) as a Slytherin.

However, it is not certain that David is ambitious enough to be a Slytherin. Instead, he is resourceful, intuitive, and able to put a lot of complicated feelings into words. David understands human behavior on an intellectual level, even if he does not respond to his intuitions with proper social actions. His expert eye for humanity makes him a Ravenclaw.

My Family’s Thanksgiving Tradition? A Complete Disregard For It

It took me until I was almost 30 to realize how jealous I was of other people’s family holidays. Blame Instagram, blame Martha Stewart, blame my friends who are best friends with their siblings and whose parents have Famous Recipes and whose nieces and nephews have slumber parties. To paraphrase Tolstoy, happy families are all the same on Thanksgiving, and it took me until well into adulthood to realize that my own happy family was an exception to that rule: We had somehow missed a memo on calcifying our traditions, and I was bummed about it.

When I was a kid Thanksgiving was all about the balloons. I grew up four blocks north of the American Museum of Natural History, around which the Macy’s Day Parade (as we called it) inflated its enormous, unwieldy Snoopy and Superman balloons on Thanksgiving eve. The following morning all the floats and high school marching bands would line up along Central Park West, with Santa’s sleigh, the very tail of the parade, sitting vacant at the end of our block. Sure, we had turkey, but the food was secondary to the girls with batons and the costumed professionals holding a 65-foot Kermit on a string. My mother, a former high school cheerleader who will be horrified to have that fact printed in a magazine, is still very much an enthusiast, and she liked nothing more than to stand along the sidelines, shouting along with Al Roker or whoever was the grand marshal, imploring each balloon to “Join the parade!”

True to form, the most meaningful childhood Thanksgiving I remember has nothing to do with food or family—just the parade. It was the year that the New Kids on the Block were on one of the floats. (If you’re too young to bring up a mental image of the New Kids on the Block in, say, 1989, imagine haircuts like atomic bomb explosions, blousy silk shirts, and elaborate leather jackets.) I was so stunned by seeing them in person—just feet away from me, not on MTV—that the moment their float passed by, I became a black hole of tween misery for the rest of the day. Pity the parents who had to cajole me into enjoying the stuffing. It’s a metaphor for a holiday: so much buildup, so much excitement, and then the crushing realization that it’s a day, just like any other, that will be over in a few hours, and nothing more. Existential dread fueled by tryptophan.

“Once we came loose from the mom-dad-kid-kid structure, we were searching for the thing that made us feel like the cast of a Nancy Meyers movie, wearing white and unafraid of stains.”

My parents both come from small far-flung families, so holidays were never about the gathering of a tribe. Then my brother left for college in California, and coming home for the Thanksgiving holiday quickly proved ridiculous—cold weather, two days, jet lag. It didn’t make sense, and what for? For some turkey? And so for the last half of my life, Thanksgiving has been, well, sort of higgledy-piggledy. Once we came loose from the mom-dad-kid-kid structure, we were searching for the thing that made us feel like the cast of a Nancy Meyers movie, wearing white and unafraid of stains. It took me a long time to realize that there are a lot of us who feel that way, like we missed the orientation at proper adulthood and so we’re still flailing around in the dark while everyone else trusses and bastes with ease.

When my husband and I got together, I was 22 and he was 24. Mike had just moved to New York from Florida, and I was the only native he knew. The first Thanksgiving we spent together, we went with my parents to their artist friends’ loft on Cooper Square in the Village. We ate a butternut squash soup and marveled at the jars full of colorful gumball-size casts of the sculptor host’s head and teeth. I think that’s when Mike knew he wasn’t in Florida anymore. That was the first time we’d been guests on Thanksgiving, which felt a little bit like taking a vacation: very nice and also not what you want to do forever.

15 Legendary Sandwiches In Film And TV, From The Moist Maker To The Tangwich

All you have to hear is “I’ll have what she’s having” to recall one of the most iconic scenes in film. At the center of that memorable moment from “ When Harry Met Sally” is a sandwich, the star of a surprising number of movie and television scenes.

Sandwiches are a great equalizer: The simple combination of bread stuffed with random ingredients has competed for attention with the likes of Rodney Dangerfield and Diane Keaton.

These 15 iconic sandwiches include ones we’ve all eaten before as well as some that are decidedly more bizarre. Some of them, no doubt, chew the scenery.

The Moist Maker (‘Friends’)

If Ross Geller shouting “MY SANDWICH?!” echoes in your head for those few seconds you can’t spot your lunch in the office refrigerator, then you’re well acquainted with the Moist Maker of Episode 9, Season 5 of “ Friends”: “ The One with Ross’s Sandwich .”

Its star was an epic sandwich of Thanksgiving leftovers that Monica made for Ross. The “only good thing going on in [his] life,” this lunch item launched the normally passive Ross on an anger-fueled rampage at work, earning him the nickname “Mental Ross” and getting him placed on leave after the sandwich was (criminally) half-eaten by his boss.

“Friends” fans seriously upped their Thanksgiving leftovers game after 1998 thanks to Monica’s secret weapon, a gravy-soaked slice of bread in the middle, i.e., the Moist Maker. The rest of the recipe is open to interpretation, but should include some combination of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

The Ride-Along Meatball Sub (‘Friends’)

Eleven episodes after the Moist Maker, we meet another life-changing sandwich on “ Friends .” On “ The One with the Ride-Along ,” Joey buys a meatball sub that he can’t stop talking about right before going on a ride-along with Chandler, Ross and Phoebe’s cop boyfriend, Gary.

When a car backfires and they mistake it for a gunshot, middle-seated Joey instinctively dives over Ross. Ross finds a new lease on life after being “saved,” while Chandler feels forsaken by his best friend. The apparent rejection is a moot point, however: Joey was diving across Ross to save his sub, “the greatest sandwich in the world.” In the ultimate act of friendship, Joey allows Chandler to have one bite of the sub.

The Pixy Stix and Cap’n Crunch Sandwich (‘The Breakfast Club’)

The 1985 classic “ The Breakfast Club ” paints a picture of its detention-going characters in a lunchtime scene. Sophisticated Claire pulls out sushi, sheltered Brian unveils a mom-packed crustless PB&J, jock Andrew digs into enough food for the entire wrestling team and misfit Allison tosses the pimento loaf from her sandwich and instead stuffs the bread with candy and cereal.

Was it a stunt to maintain her intrigue or did she really dig the sugar rush? If you can stomach it, copy the sandwich with a white slice and a wheat slice of bread, butter, Pixy Stix and handfuls of Cap’n Crunch.

The Hors-d’Oeuvres Sandwich (‘Back To School’)

Rodney Dangerfield’s Thornton Melon might be a millionaire, but he got there without a fine education or an illustrious pedigree. In a scene from the 1986 comedy “ Back to School ,” Melon prepares himself a sandwich made with food from the hors-d’oeuvres table at one of his wife’s eye-rollingly stuffy parties.

Proclaiming he hates small food, our hungry protagonist digs some dough out of a loaf of bread and fills it with deviled eggs, meatballs and spanakopita. The appetizer-filled sub succeeds both in setting Melon apart from the tiresome fancy guests and in giving sandwich-makers new ingredient goals .

The Tangwich (‘Married With Children’)

The cash-strapped and resourceful Bundy family was good at finding different ways to consume Tang. On the seventh episode of Season 4, “ Desperately Seeking Miss October ,” our curmudgeonly patriarch, Al, asks his kids, “OK, who wants a Tangwich?” Yes, the family has taken to pouring the orange powder onto bread.

Kelly and Bud don’t refuse the offer because it’s gross, but because they prefer it when their mom makes it, pinching the ends of the bread so the Tang doesn’t spill out. Al scoffs and proceeds to dump the sandy orange mess all over himself.

Writer Loryn Stone tested the Tangwich for Cracked . “It was super delicious. When you bite into the bread, the Tang starts to melt and it mingles with the bread like orange pound cake. I think Tangwiches should replace peanut butter and jelly as the standard.” Milk Bar chef Christina Tosi has created a similar recipe for Tang Toast that’s worth trying, too (it includes margarine, “not butter”).

The Unsettling Ham and Cheese Sandwich (‘Kill Bill: Volume 2’)

Never has such a simple sandwich carried so much weight. Once Uma Thurman’s Beatrix tracks down her former lover and would-be killer, Bill, in Quentin Tarantino’s 2004 “ Kill Bill: Volume 2 ,” Bill, played by David Carradine, prepares Beatrix, their daughter, B.B., and himself crustless sandwiches on Bimbo bread with ham, turkey, Swiss and American cheeses, mustard and mayo.

Just a nice dad making a classic combo, right? Except that he unnervingly does so with a butcher’s knife while recounting to Beatrix how B.B. has come to understand death through having killed her goldfish, Emilio. Spoiler alert: The kid-friendly sandwich is Bill’s last meal.

The Ironed Cheese (‘Benny and Joon’)

Johnny Depp’s character, Sam, makes up for his lack of education with a collection of quirky skills in 1993’s “Benny and Joon .” One such skill is making a mean grilled cheese with an iron. He happily churns out a stack of them while staying with his soon-to-be love interest Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) and her brother Benny (Aidan Quinn).

Later, Benny jokes to Joon that personally, he would have used the iron’s wool setting for the sandwiches, and Joon informs him that Sam used the rayon setting. Either way, the ironed cheese has been put to the test if you should fancy a try.

The Grilled Jarlsberg (‘The Devil Wears Prada’)

When Anne Hathaway’s Andy comes home to her boyfriend Nate, played by Adrian Grenier, ranting about her stressful fashion-mag job in 2006’s “ The Devil Wears Prada ,” Nate delivers what should be a bad day antidote: a crispy, gooey grilled cheese and wine. Andy snubs the indulgence, and Nate incredulously points out that “there’s like $8 worth of Jarlsberg in there.”

The scene has its critics : $8 of Jarlsberg would basically be an entire wedge of cheese between bread. It’s also been used to support a popular claim that while Nate is seemingly written as a good boyfriend, he kind of sucks . He looks down on Andy for falling under frivolous fashion’s spell, but he treats expensive cheese like manna.

The Pastrami on White Bread Sandwich Foul (‘Annie Hall’)

Diane Keaton’s Annie orders pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise in the iconic 1977 Woody Allen film “Annie Hall,” and it’s one of the most famous sandwich orders in cinematic history. Pastrami has long been mandated to be eaten on rye bread with mustard , so Annie’s order would appall a Jewish deli purist.

Milton Berle said, “Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere, a Jew dies,” and Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara joked in 1968 that “Friends of ours have told us that we go together like hot pastrami on white bread.” Only thanks to Annie’s charm can we let her slide.

The Very Exciting Turkey Sandwich (‘When Harry Met Sally’)

One of the most quoted lines in film wasn’t even spoken by either of the titular characters in 1989’s “ When Harry Met Sally ,” but by director Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle. She quips, “I’ll have what she’s having” in response to Sally’s unforgettable fake orgasm, which is performed — much to the chagrin of Harry — in a crowded Katz’s Deli over sandwiches.

Sally has ordered the turkey sandwich, which she treats with her signature deconstructing and rebuilding to her picky standards. Katz’s has said the sandwich came with Russian dressing and slaw, and yes, people are still re-enacting the scene in the deli all these years later.

The Secret Sandwiches (‘30 Rock’)

“Sandwich Day” is basically Chrismukkah for the staff of TGS on “ 30 Rock .” It’s when the Teamsters bring in next-level sandwiches from an undisclosed Italian deli in Brooklyn. These hero sandwiches are so good that Liz (Tina Fey) threatens to cut the writers’ faces up so bad they’ll have chins after they eat hers.

This causes the writers to participate in a drinking contest with the Teamsters in hopes of winning Liz another sandwich. The internet went crazy trying to figure out where the sandwiches were really from, and the deli was finally revealed to be Fiore’s Deli in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The Dealbreaker Pastrami Sandwich (‘Seinfeld’)

While Jerry suffers two injuries and blood transfusions from Kramer and Newman in Episode 4, Season 9 of “ Seinfeld ,” Jason Alexander’s George is busy working food into his sex life after being made hungry by the scent of his girlfriend’s vanilla incense. She’s open to the usual suspects, like strawberries and chocolate, but George is most excited about a pastrami sandwich.

His girlfriend kicks him out when he aims for his perfect trifecta of a pastrami sandwich and TV while in bed, but George meets his match in the gang’s friend, Vivian, who declares she finds “pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats.”

The Puntastic Burgers and Sandwiches (‘Bob’s Burgers’)

Even a casual ” Bob’s Burgers ” fan knows to look out for the pun-tastic burger and sandwich names written on the burger shop’s chalkboard every episode. There is a seemingly infinite number of countdowns listing the tasty (the “Baby You Can Chive My Car Burger” with chives, feta and sour cream) and the tasteless (“The Child Molester Burger” with candy). Some of the most popular picks are a cauliflower and cumin burger, a Roquefort cheeseburger and a burger with poutine. It became so clear that fans wanted to eat these combos that this IRL cookbook happened.

The Larry David Sandwich (‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’)

No good deed goes unpunished at the hands of Larry David. On the premiere of “ Curb Your Enthusiasm ’s” fifth season, Larry’s favorite deli, Leo’s, announces they’re naming a sandwich for him. Larry’s chuffed — until he learns the ingredients of the sandwich: whitefish, sable, cream cheese, capers and onions.

“Not a fish guy,” he declares. He wants to trade with Ted Danson, whose crowd-pleaser has turkey, coleslaw and Russian dressing, but Danson is equally disgusted by the Larry David. Larry wins, though, by relating to Leo over being adopted, moving him to let Larry put his mark on the Danson.

The Racist Chicken Sandwich (‘The Kroll Show’)

Can a chicken sandwich be so good that people are willing to overlook the racist, homophobic views of the place making it? It shouldn’t be, but depending on your views, a good-chicken-over-everything belief system has helped Chick-fil-A stay in business .

Nick Kroll and the “ Kroll Show” writers took that phenomenon to task on the ” Soaked in Success ” episode of Season Two with a commercial for the so-called “Chikk Klub.” Multiple dudes of different races explain why it’s totally cool for white supremacists to make their sandwiches as long as they’re spicy and delicious.

Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator and season on both sides with salt and pepper — we use just less than 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt per pork chop. Set the chops aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190° C).

Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet — such as a cast iron pan — over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot and looks shimmery, pat the pork dry, and then add the pork. Cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. While the pork sears, scatter half of the thyme over the side of the pork chops that are facing up.

Flip the pork so that the seared side is facing up. (If there is a fattier side of the pork, use kitchen tongs to hold the chops, fat-side-down until it sizzles and browns slightly about 30 seconds.)

Scatter the remaining thyme over the seared side of the pork. Arrange lemon wedges around the chops, and then loosely cover with foil or tuck parchment paper around the pan. Slide the skillet into the oven to finish cooking. (If you do not have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the pork chops to a baking dish.)

Bake 8 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 145 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the chop. (Since cook time depends on the thickness of the chops, check for doneness at 5 minutes then go from there, checking every 2 minutes.) If you do not have a thermometer, you will know they are done, if when cutting into the chops, the juices run clear.

Transfer pork chops to a plate then cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the pork rest for 5 minutes. Serve with additional herbs, a squeeze of the roasted lemon wedges, and a spoonful of pan juices on top.

Shades Of `Seinfeld' In `Curb'

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: HBO comedy series premiering at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Larry David's 10-episode series for HBO gives you some idea of what came whence on "Seinfeld," which David co-created and produced.

All those awkward, everyday incidents that steadily snowball into hostility? Pure Larry David, it would seem.

But "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is more than a historical sidelight on TV. It's howlingly funny, groaningly close to home and usually both.

The show is a situation comedy with hardly any trimmings. David plays his deadpan self in a cinema- verite film style that almost makes you wonder whether he's intentionally entertaining anyone.

Cheryl Hines and Jeff Garlin, who appeared in David's HBO comedy special last year, are back as David's wife and his manager.

Real or heavily embellished, the David of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a mildly misanthropic man who can't help rubbing people the wrong way. Or being rubbed the wrong way.

In Sunday's premiere, David gets into an embarrassing shouting match when he tries to take his seat at a movie theater. The young woman in the aisle seat -- turns out she's Richard Lewis' date -- won't let him pass and then accuses him of staring at her breasts.

A week later, David manages to antagonize actress Mary Steenburgen's mother, as well as an edgy salesman at a Barneys clothing store.

And the week after that -- the best of the batch I've seen -- David makes an enemy when he declines to pick up a man's errant golf ball at a driving range, then locks horns with his hostess at a dinner party from hell.

It's not that David seeks out these confrontations, exactly. It's just that we rats in the urban maze are one chance remark or one perceived slight away from venting our built- up aggressions.

David presents himself as equal parts schlemiel and catalyst. He -- could have picked up the guy's golf ball, but he didn't like the man's hat. He could have taken his shoes off to appease his dinner-party hostess, but he was afraid of a chill.

In effect, he's an amalgam of the characters he helped create for "Seinfeld." He's Jerry, the fussy but generally sane observer Kramer, the klutz and George and Elaine, forever worming their way into deepening disasters.

We used to watch "Seinfeld" and blame it on New York. But David, as himself, lives in a not-so-laid-back Los Angeles. The madness is everywhere, or at least everyplace where there are too many people.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" isn't all comedically channeled anger. The first scene on Sunday, which also smacks heavily of "Seinfeld," is a more piquant exercise in observational humor.

It's David, parked on his couch at home, wondering why his new pants have formed a mound of fabric right at his crotch.

"This is like a five-inch bunch-up I've got here," he complains to his wife, and you can nearly hear the high-pitched Jerry Seinfeld whine.

In "Seinfeld," Jerry and George might have mulled over the bunch- up phenomenon over coffee at the corner restaurant.

But in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," David won't put it to harmless rest. When he takes his wife's friend to a movie, the woman assumes the crotch tent is something else.

In time, a hot quarrel ensues. The language at that point is all pay cable, but David gives the episode a Seinfeldian name: "The Pants Tent."

Thanksgiving History

Thanksgiving is a particularly American holiday. The word evokes images of football, family reunions, roasted turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie and, of course, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag, the acknowledged founders of the feast. But was it always so? Read on to find out.

This article explores the development of our modern holiday. For information on food at the First Thanksgiving, go to Partakers of our Plenty. For additional children's resources on Thanksgiving, you might want to view Scholastic's Virtual Field Trip to Plimoth Plantation, explore our Online Learning Center, or visit our Homework Help page. If you'd like to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, please visit our Thanksgiving Dining and Special Events page.

Giving thanks for the Creator&rsquos gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life. From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.

As with Native traditions in America, celebrations - complete with merrymaking and feasting - in England and throughout Europe after a successful crop are as ancient as the harvest-time itself. In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport (recreation). To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude.

The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene. Today&rsquos national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on ancient English harvest festivals and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.

Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia each declare itself the site of the First Thanksgiving and historical documents support the various claims. Spanish explorers and other English Colonists celebrated religious services of thanksgiving years before Mayflower arrived. However, few people knew about these events until the 20th century. They were isolated celebrations, forgotten long before the establishment of the American holiday, and they played no role in the evolution of Thanksgiving. But as James W. Baker states in his book, Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday, "despite disagreements over the details" the 3-day event in Plymouth in the fall of 1621 was "the historical birth of the American Thanksgiving holiday."

So how did the Pilgrims and Wampanoag come to be identified with the First Thanksgiving?


In a letter from &ldquoE.W.&rdquo (Edward Winslow) to a friend in England, he says: &ldquoAnd God be praised, we had a good increase&hellip. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling that so we might after a special manner rejoice together&hellip.&rdquo Winslow continues, &ldquoThese things I thought good to let you understand&hellip that you might on our behalf give God thanks who hath dealt so favourably with us.&rdquo

In 1622, without his approval, Winslow&rsquos letter was printed in a pamphlet that historians commonly call Mourt&rsquos Relation. This published description of the First Thanksgiving was lost during the Colonial period. It was rediscovered in Philadelphia around 1820. Antiquarian Alexander Young included the entire text in his Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers (1841). Reverend Young saw a similarity between his contemporary American Thanksgiving and the 1621 Harvest Feast. In the footnotes that accompanied Winslow&rsquos letter, Young writes, &ldquoThis was the first Thanksgiving, the harvest festival of New England. On this occasion they no doubt feasted on the wild turkey as well as venison.&rdquo


The American Thanksgiving also has its origin in the faith practices of Puritan New England, where strict Calvinist doctrine sanctioned only the Sabbath, fast days and thanksgivings as religious holidays or &ldquoholy days.&rdquo To the Puritans, a true &ldquothanksgiving&rdquo was a day of prayer and pious humiliation, thanking God for His special Providence. Auspicious events, such as the sudden ending of war, drought or pestilence, might inspire a thanksgiving proclamation. It was like having an extra Sabbath during the week. Fasts and thanksgivings never fell on a Sunday. In the early 1600s, they were not annual events. Simultaneously instituted in Plymouth, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Thanksgiving became a regular event by the middle of the 17th century and it was proclaimed each autumn by the individual Colonies.

The holiday changed as the dogmatic Puritans of the 17th century evolved into the 18th century&rsquos more cosmopolitan Yankees. By the 1700s, the emotional significance of the New England family united around a dinner table overshadowed the civil and religious importance of Thanksgiving. Carried by Yankee emigrants moving westward and the popular press, New England&rsquos holiday traditions would spread to the rest of the nation.


The Continental Congress proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1777. A somber event, it specifically recommended &ldquothat servile labor and such recreations (although at other times innocent) may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment [and should] be omitted on so solemn an occasion.&rdquo

Presidents Washington, Adams and Monroe proclaimed national Thanksgivings, but the custom fell out of use by 1815, after which the celebration of the holiday was limited to individual state observances. By the 1850s, almost every state and territory celebrated Thanksgiving.

Many people felt that this family holiday should be a national celebration, especially Sarah Josepha Hale, the influential editor of the popular women&rsquos magazine Godey&rsquos Lady&rsquos Book. In 1827, she began a campaign to reinstate the holiday after the model of the first Presidents. She publicly petitioned several Presidents to make it an annual event. Sarah Josepha Hale&rsquos efforts finally succeeded in 1863, when she was able to convince President Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving might serve to unite a war-torn country. The President declared two national Thanksgivings that year, one for August 6 celebrating the victory at Gettysburg and a second for the last Thursday in November.

Neither Lincoln nor his successors, however, made the holiday a fixed annual event. A President still had to proclaim Thanksgiving each year, and the last Thursday in November became the customary date. In a controversial move, Franklin Delano Roosevelt lengthened the Christmas shopping season by declaring Thanksgiving for the next-to-the-last Thursday in November. Two years later, in 1941, Congress responded by permanently establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday in the month.


The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag were not particularly identified with Thanksgiving until about 1900, though interest in the Pilgrims as historic figures began shortly before the American Revolution.

With the publication of Longfellow&rsquos best-selling poem The Courtship of Miles Standish (1848) and the recovery of Governor Bradford&rsquos lost manuscript Of Plimoth Plantation (1855), public interest in the Pilgrims and Wampanoag grew just as Thanksgiving became nationally important. Until the third quarter of the 19th century, music, literature and popular art concentrated on the Pilgrims&rsquo landing at Plymouth Rock and their first encounters with Native People on Cape Cod.

After 1890, representations of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag began to reflect a shift of interest to the 1621 harvest celebration. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Pilgrims and the Thanksgiving holiday were used to teach children about American freedom and how to be good citizens. Each November, in classrooms across the country, students participated in Thanksgiving pageants, sang songs about Thanksgiving, and built log cabins to represent the homes of the Pilgrims. Immigrant children also learned that all Americans ate turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The last lesson was especially effective with the recollections of most immigrant children in the 20th century including stories of rushing home after school in November to beg their parents to buy and roast a turkey for a holiday dinner.


The classic Thanksgiving menu of turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and root vegetables is based on New England fall harvests. In the 19th century, as the holiday spread across the country, local cooks modified the menu both by choice (&ldquothis is what we like to eat&rdquo) and by necessity (&ldquothis is what we have to eat&rdquo). Today, many Americans delight in giving regional produce, recipes and seasonings a place on the Thanksgiving table. In New Mexico, chiles and other southwestern flavors are used in stuffing, while on the Chesapeake Bay, the local favorite, crab, often shows up as a holiday appetizer or as an ingredient in dressing. In Minnesota, the turkey might be stuffed with wild rice, and in Washington State, locally grown hazelnuts are featured in stuffing and desserts. In Indiana, persimmon puddings are a favorite Thanksgiving dessert, and in Key West, key lime pie joins pumpkin pie on the holiday table. Some specialties have even become ubiquitous regional additions to local Thanksgiving menus in Baltimore, for instance, it is common to find sauerkraut alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Most of these regional variations have remained largely a local phenomenon, a means of connecting with local harvests and specialty foods. However this is not true of influential southern Thanksgiving trends that had a tremendous impact on the 20th-century Thanksgiving menu.

Corn, sweet potatoes, and pork form the backbone of traditional southern home cooking, and these staple foods provided the main ingredients in southern Thanksgiving additions like ham, sweet potato casseroles, pies and puddings, and corn bread dressing. Other popular southern contributions include ambrosia (a layered fruit salad traditionally made with citrus fruits and coconut some more recent recipes use mini-marshmallows and canned fruits), biscuits, a host of vegetable casseroles, and even macaroni and cheese. Unlike the traditional New England menu, with its mince, apple and pumpkin pie dessert course, southerners added a range and selection of desserts unknown in northern dining rooms, including regional cakes, pies, puddings, and numerous cobblers. Many of these Thanksgiving menu additions spread across the country with relocating southerners. Southern cookbooks (of which there are hundreds) and magazines also helped popularize many of these dishes in places far beyond their southern roots. Some, like sweet potato casserole, pecan pie, and corn bread dressing, have become as expected on the Thanksgiving table as turkey and cranberry sauce.


If there is one day each year when food and family take center stage, it is Thanksgiving. It is a holiday about &ldquogoing home&rdquo with all the emotional content those two words imply. The Sunday following Thanksgiving is always the busiest travel day of the year in the United States. Each day of the long Thanksgiving weekend, more than 10 million people take to the skies. Another 40 million Americans drive 100 miles or more to have Thanksgiving dinner. And the nation&rsquos railways teem with travelers going home for the holiday.

Despite modern-age turmoil&mdashand perhaps, even more so, because of it&mdashgathering together in grateful appreciation for a Thanksgiving celebration with friends and family is a deeply meaningful and comforting annual ritual to most Americans. The need to connect with loved ones and to express our gratitude is at the heart of all this feasting, prayerful thanks, recreation, and nostalgia for a simpler time. And somewhere in the bustling activity of every November's Thanksgiving is the abiding National memory of a moment in Plymouth, nearly 400 years ago, when two distinct cultures, on the brink of profound and irrevocable change, shared an autumn feast.


Very little is known about the 1621 event in Plymouth that is the model for our Thanksgiving. The only references to the event are reprinted below:

&ldquoAnd God be praised we had a good increase&hellip Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.&rdquo

Edward Winslow, Mourt&rsquos Relation: D.B. Heath, ed. Applewood Books. Cambridge, 1986. p 82

&ldquoThey began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which is place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

Thanksgiving in the time of COVID: How we’re safely celebrating and showing gratitude

The United States is in the grips of the worst spike in the COVID-19 pandemic to date, imbuing every decision around the holiday with new concerns — especially as public health experts have warned that Thanksgiving gatherings will only lead to an even more dramatic uptick in cases.

It’s human nature to turn to ritual in times of strife, and with the ordinary traditions — warm family gatherings, get-togethers with old friends — out of reach, our staff, like the rest of the country, has had to get creative. From ordering dim sum to turning a too-large turkey into tacos, here’s how we’re making the most out of these painful circumstances.

Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief

I have never been a big fan of turkey — when we were kids, we did restaurant Thanksgivings a few times and I always got prime rib. So I’m taking this pandemic as an excuse to avoid the traditional menu entirely. We’re going to get takeout dim sum because it’s about the farthest thing I can think of from the typical holiday smorgasbord.

Normally, we’d be at my sister’s in Chicago, and my dad would be bringing out a new delicious nosh every half-hour or so throughout the afternoon. So in homage to him, I’m going to also make what we’ve come to call “meat bombs” — mini hot dogs wrapped in pastrami. That’s deli dim sum in my book.

Oh, and we’re doing a pie exchange with family friends. They’re making pumpkin and pecan, we’ll do chocolate pie and apple pie, and we’ll all get together for a tasting around our firepit in the afternoon. Yum.

Ari Feldman, staff writer

For the past several years, the plus-sized bourbon pecan pie I make each Thanksgiving has had two great benefits. One: It is perfect. It is my dessert muse. When I take the first bite, my eyesight goes blurry. Two: There are few better methods besides bringing this pie to quickly ingratiate myself with whoever my hosts are — for example, my girlfriend’s extended family. This year, the pie will serve a third purpose: security blanket. It’s going to be a weird Thanksgiving, and what better way to sublimate my existential dread than by inlaying perfect concentric circles of pecan halves on the top layer of the pie? What better way to experience temporary oblivion, in a good way, than by eating a heaving slice of said paradisical pie? Anyways, here’s the recipe.

Chana Pollack, archivist

For the first time ever, I’ll be making one of those marshmallow covered sweet-potato mains that are really desserts. I’m using Chef Milly Peartree’s recipe, that’s so traditional and heymish that my American-by-choice self might finally feel really American. We’ll see. I keep on making “Grandma Geri’s” stuffing, courtesy of an ex-lover, because it wouldn’t be a Lesbian celebration without something ex in it. Perhaps you know that banner we marched under for years: “An army of ex-lovers cannot fail?” Well, for sure not when they’ve had that matzo meal-based stuffing.

For my wife Myra and me, as for so many of us, it’s a holiday of yortsayt, memorials. There’s Uncle Aaron last Friday, Myra’s sister Elizabeth this past Monday and my father today. It’s a veritable candle factory on our kitchen table, as the formica (vintage!) reflects the candle flame evoking them and a sense of mishpokhe, family, that remains despite the loss of their physical presence. Chef Peartree survived the loss of her much beloved restaurant, regrouped and has been feeding essential workers and the hungry. That’s gratitude. And that’s mishpokhe.

Rukhl Schaechter, Yiddish Forverts editor

Due to COVID, I won’t be inviting the standard 18-20 members of my extended family, but it will still be fun because my three sons, daughters-in-law and three grandchildren (all under four years old) will be here.

To keep our young guests from getting cranky, we’re moving dinner from our traditional 5 p.m. evening slot to 2 p.m., meaning we’ll have our Thanksgiving Day feast in broad daylight, something I’ve never experienced before.

I’ll prepare what I do every year: fresh semi-sourdough bread hot from the oven (the legendary New York Times no-knead recipe) and roast turkey with my late mother’s Passover-style mushroom stuffing recipe, using canned mushrooms. (Sorry, purists!)

I’m grateful that I can spend the holiday with my children and grandchildren, when so many of my friends can’t be with their grandchildren at this time.

PJ Grisar, staff writer

The Grisar clan is very thankful this year for the recent addition of an entirely unproblematic family member. She is 11 months old, has no political opinions to speak of, and while she regularly violates social distancing protocol, she is too young to wear a mask anyway. She has yet to complain about a meal or make passive aggressive remarks of any kind. But perhaps her greatest blessing is that we are all so busy cooing over her that any subject that might lead to intrafamilial sniping never even gets going. Come future Thanksgivings, we hope she will have mastered the fine art of getting more food inside of her than on her person.

Rob Eshman, national editor

Our Thanksgiving guest list evaporated faster than drippings in a hot oven. First there were 16 guests, then 10, now it looks like six. Meanwhile I pre-ordered a turkey to feed the original pre-lockdown list, a 17-pounder that will look cartoonishly enormous when it comes to the table. There will be leftovers.

So I’m looking forward to Friday’s Turkey Street Tacos: Heat some oil in a skillet, add finely chopped turkey and skin, sprinkle on some cumin, chile powder, a squeeze of citrus and enough beer, tequila and/or water to moisten. Heat through. Spoon onto warm corn tortillas, top with slices of radish, avocado, chopped onion, cilantro and some hot sauce — maybe even a dab of cranberry sauce. Because that will be leftover too.

Talya Zax, deputy culture editor

I’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Brooklyn with my roommate, Tashween, who is family in all but name. We’ll be cooking much more food than two people could ever reasonably eat — including my favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert, this bittersweet chocolate and pear cake from Smitten Kitchen — doing puzzles at night, cozily reading on our couch in the morning and spending lots of time video chatting with her baby nephew, who has the best little cackle on earth. Over the long weekend, I’ll also have a Zoom meal or two with my family in Denver, including my soon-to-be sister-in-law, a 2020 addition for whom we’re all deeply grateful. So, it’s a year for new family traditions with new family members — whether I’m technically related to them, or not.

Molly Boigon, investigative reporter

It’s just me, my mom and my dad this year, but we are participating in a food share with some members of our extended family. Each house is responsible for part of the meal, and we are going to drive around and pick up the food from their houses to eat at ours. My sister, Melissa, who lives in New Orleans, is not making the trip this year, but we reminisced earlier this week about messily dry-brining our family turkey the night before Thanksgiving a couple of years ago after coming home late from a night out. A night and a Thanksgiving with my far-flung sister both feel like relics from the distant past.

Helen Chernikoff, senior news editor

I’m excited to cook Thanksgiving because I’ve never done it before. I can make it a project, a test of skill — which distracts me from my sadness at not being able to join my extended family in Maryland, as I have every year of my life until this one.

Comparing the two meals on a strictly culinary basis, I think I’m making one improvement, but I’ve also got a disadvantage. Dark meat is better — that’s just a fact — and so I’m doing mostly drumsticks and legs. On the other hand, my Aunt Jane’s “Big Fat Jewish Turkey,” as it’s called in the family cookbook, requires many hours of basting with butter. I can’t help but think I will taste the difference in my kosher version, and not for the better. The butter, of course, being symbolic of the bigger problem of not being there.

Arno Rosenfeld, news reporter

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I think a lot of that has to do with my being Jewish. Unlike the “holiday cheer” that follows, Thanksgiving is thoroughly secular, but still includes the ritual of gathering with intention that America’s other civic holidays, like the Fourth of July, lack. I also love sweet potato, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. This is all to say that I’m Thanksgiving’s number one fan, save for its genocidal origins.

And yet, I’m fine not being able to travel from Washington, D.C. to see my family in San Francisco this year to celebrate it. I missed the holiday while attending college in Canada and South Africa — South Africa because the flight was too long, and Canada because they celebrate their off-brand Thanksgiving on a random day in October. I’m quite content with my new November tradition of tucking into Wawa’s Gobbler bowls and hoagies. As far as I’m concerned, these gas station mashups of all my favorite Thanksgiving foods can go toe-to-toe with any five-course Turkey Day dinner.

Sarah Brown, reporting and writing intern

With every year that passes, I am grateful for my grandfather’s health. But this year — his 96th! — I’m particularly relieved that he will be able to join my family for an outside, socially-distanced Thanksgiving dinner. He’s spent the majority of 2020 confined to his small room in an independent living home, anxiously waiting for the pandemic to end so he can go back to seeing his family and friends, and return to his weekly pool workouts at the YMCA. Although we’re not there yet, I’m looking forward to seeing him enjoy a homemade chocolate dessert (his favorite), served with extra whipped cream (not optional).

David Ian Klein, digital writing and reporting intern

Thanksgiving is a really big holiday in my family: it and the Passover Seders are equals as the two times when my whole extended family, including cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, all get together. On Thanksgiving Day two years ago, It became an even bigger day for us, when our family was extended by another generation with the birth of my grandmother’s first great-grandchild.

It’s an understatement to say I’m bummed about missing it this year, even though we have a Zoom call planned between all of our households. I’m currently living in Turkey, and while it’s not my first Thanksgiving experience as a stranger in a strange land, every time I’ve been in this situation I try to do — or at least eat — something special to mark the occasion.

I love Thanksgiving food, but it may surprise many to hear that turkey is not so accessible in Turkey… or at least not from Istanbul’s impressive number of kosher butchers. Let’s be real though, Thanksgiving is all about the sides, so I’ll be making stuffing. Nonetheless, I thought I should still have some American cuisine for the main course, so I’m planning to make burnt ends glazed in a homemade cola brown sugar barbecue sauce.

I’m not hosting anyone, so I would tell you that there will be leftovers to feed me through the weekend — but who am I trying to lie to?

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Separation Anxiety in Pets Can Lead to:

Chewing, Digging and Destruction

What Causes Separation Anxiety:

A number of things can cause separation anxiety in pets. A clear reason right now is due to covid-19 requiring individuals to stay home for extended periods of time. Then these individuals were able to return to their daily lives leaving pets along for extended periods of time. Another reason is some adoptable dogs may have separation anxiety when first adopted because they fear their guardian may leave. Another cause is if a pet experiences a sudden change in its normal routine for example covid-19 it can in return cause separation anxiety in them. Be aware that also moving can cause separation anxiety so if your dog and you move around a lot it can trigger separation anxiety in your pet.

How to Maintain Separation Anxiety:

If your pet has a mild case of separation anxiety try turning when you leave into something exciting for your pet. This can mean offering them treats before you leave so they start to associate you leaving with getting a treat. It can also be helpful to leave them puzzle like toys like the brand KONG offers toys that you can put treats into or put food like peanut butter, or cheese in. This toy will distract your pet for a while, and they get a reward when they play with the toy. These toys try to offer only to your pet when you leave the house. This will train your pet to start to enjoy the time when you leave because they know they will be given a reward.

If you pet has a moderate case of separation anxiety it can take more time to get them accustomed to you leaving. This means taking the process of leaving them way slower. Start only leaving your pet for short periods at a time and continue to reward them. As they begin to get used to it increase the period of which you are gone. Over time your pet will start to recognize that it is oaky you are gone because they receive rewards. For dogs who have severe anxiety especially when they notice you put on shoes or grab your keys. For these pets try to associate these items with you not always leaving. Try to use these items but not leave to show your pet they are not to be feared of these items. If you have a pet who typically follows you around try to do things like telling your dog to sit and stay outside a bathroom door while you enter that room. Gradually increase the time you leave your pet on the other side of the door. This trains a pet that they can be by themselves and will be okay. This process will take a while so remain calm and patient with your pet. This process should start out in a room but should overtime get up to you being able to leave your house and go outside without your pet following. Continue to watch for signs of stress in your pet like pacing, trembling, panting etc. If any of these signs and others appear take a step back and move slower. During this overall process it is important you take it slowly so try to not really leave your pet at all which can be very difficult. Try to arrange if you do need to leave that someone like a friend can stop by and be with your pet or try using a doggy daycare service just so your pet is not totally alone.

Some Other Tips:

When greeting your pet after being gone say hello in a calm manner and then ignore them until they begin to remain calm. Same thing with saying goodbye remain calm and do not give into them being wild and crazy. To calm them try having them perform a task they know like sit or down. Another tip is to possible crate train your pet. If your pet associates their crate with being a safe place this can ease their anxiety when you do go to leave. It can also be helpful if you do not crate your pet to provide a safe room that your pet typically fees the most comfortable in. Another tip is to provide plenty of mental stimulation for your pet like treats and toys. Also try giving your dog some sort of exercise before you leave every day. Leaving hidden treats and food for your pet to find throughout the day will also keep them busy and entertained. If none of the above tips help, try seeking help from a professional in pet behaviors. They will be able to determine a regimen to help you and your pet get better. Medication may also be necessary for severe cases so to speak to a veterinarian about the different options for your pet.

Separation anxiety can be common in pets especially after the year everyone has had. Look for signs of separation anxiety in your pets and notice the different ways you can assist your pet in getting better. Also remember to never punish your pet for any anxious behaviors. Do your best to not discipline and instead use these tips to avoid future behaviors. Separation anxiety can be maintained with patience.

Watch the video: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee: Small Talk In Longform (December 2021).