Make like the Pilgrims


Countdown to Turkey Day: <24 hours.


When most of us think of Thanksgiving, a traditional cornucopia of foods come to mind. Turkey of course, and for the vegetarians, the gelatinous “Tofurkey” alternative; mashed potatoes and stuffing smothered in gravy from the bird’s belly, sweet potatoes, corn, an assortment of vegetables including squash, pumpkin, and zucchini; cranberry sauce, apple pie, etc.

These Thanksgiving staples largely reflect the local fare that would have been available to the pilgrims in Plimoth, Massachusetts, and their Native American friends four centuries ago for an autumn harvest feast–whatever your notions of the contentious history behind the real “First Thanksgiving.”

In fact, according to, many of the foods commonly consumed at modern Thanksgiving celebrations would NOT have been eaten by early settlers in the 1600s. Among the Thanksgiving “impostors” are potatoes and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (sweet foods were uncommon, as sugar supplies were limited).

And of course, harvest feasts in other regions of the country would have looked quite different from those in New England, as variations in climate, soil, and precipitation conditions yielded production of distinct crops.


So this Thanksgiving, why not try something new and “make like the pilgrims” by eating local!

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July 2008 Newsletter

Read the July 2008 Newsletter: “Gas Prices and Tomatoes and Bees, Oh My!”

Learn How–and Why–to Eat Local
GeoFeature: Foodie Dictionary
Geography in the News: Why are Food Prices so High?
Blog: “No Geography Left Behind?” (by MWW Director Chris Shearer)

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Continue reading “July 2008 Newsletter”