Thanksgiving Trivia They Didn’t Teach You in Grade School
Fill the awkward silences with these factoids
Sure, we’ve got a vague, fuzzy understanding of the history of Thanksgiving. Pilgrims, turkey, Plymouth Rock....That’s the gist of it, right? Oh, but there’s so much more. Here, five of our favorite Thanksgiving trivia bits to pull out when you want to keep the conversation light and fun.
The First Thanksgiving Was a Surf and Turf Affair
While modern-day Thanksgiving menus tend to stick to turkey and endless interpretations of casserole, the pilgrims did things up right with a spread that included lobster, clams and mussels. But hey, some New Englanders, including celebrity chef Todd English, are keeping the tradition alive and surfing up their holiday feasts.
The first TV dinners were all about the turkey
You have Thanksgiving 1953 to thank for that Lean Cuisine you keep in the back of your office freezer. When Swanson & Sons was left with more than 520,000 pounds of turkey after the big day, they came up with the TV dinners we now know and love. The originals sold for 98 cents apiece and were marketed as meals to be eaten specifically in front of the TV.
You have FDR to thank for your state-sanctioned vacation days.
Though Thanksgiving has been celebrated since the 17th century, it wasn’t until 1939 that Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill declaring Thanksgiving a legal national holiday.
Pardon turkeys go to an, um, interestingly named farm
Did you know that you can see the presidential pardoned turkey at a public farm with the only slightly frightening name of Frying Pan Park?
Black Friday refers to stock market crashes of the 1800s
No, Black Friday is not named as such to reflect the ruthlessness of bargain hunters (though it does work well). The moniker actually stems from the stock market crashes that took place in the 1800s. Yep, Black Friday is truly an American tradition.