The Secret Meaning of Thanksgiving Dinner

The following excerpt is from an article that originally appeared on Hit and Run

Food historian Rachel Laudan explains why we eat what we eat on “turkey day” – and it has nothing to do with the Pilgrims.

rachellaudan.comDid you ever wonder why we eat turkey, of all things, on Thanksgiving? After all, the Pilgrims didn’t. They were more into duck, goose, and shellfish.

Last year, when the Reason Podcast (subscribe!) was just getting started, I interviewed Rachel Laudan, best known for the incredible book Cuisine and Empire, a fascinating history of how food and cooking have not simply shaped world events but been at the very center of them.

Laudan, a visiting scholar at the University of Texas, explained that America’s national meal, which only really became a thing hundreds of years after the Pilgrims suffered through their early winters, has always functioned as a way of rebuking haughty elites from England and Europe. Laudan

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