What Is Thanksgiving & How To Prepare?


What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a day we hear about every year and it’s becoming a more worldwide celebration, though there is no disputing its place in the USA. Thanksgiving dates back to the 1600s and is a time where americans feast to give thanks for the previous year’s harvest.

Though every family will have their own traditions, it’s a time for everyone to tuck into good food and be thankful.

Like any time food is mentioned, we’re in! Over the years we’ve asked questions to you guys over The Atlantic and tried & tested a whole bunch of Thanksgiving recipes to really get to know this fantastic celebration.  So we’ll take you through with a little bit o’history, recipes and tradition, so even if you’re not based in the US, you can celebrate too!

A Brief History

The most widely agreed date for its origin is 1621 when it was celebrated by the pilgrims (european settlers) at the Plymouth Plantation after a particularly good year of growing. They invited the local Wampanoag tribe who had taught them how to grow corn, beans and squash and catch seafood, to prevent their people starving like the previous year.

In The States, Thanksgiving is now more actively celebrated than Christmas. It always falls on the fourth Thursday of every November and most offices close for the holiday, so everyone gets a four day weekend. Well… everyone in the US that is (sob, sob).

We’re hungry. What on the menu?

Thanksgiving Strip 1


So what to gobble on Thanksgiving? Turkey mainly. A great big juicy one. Every year there is a turkey presentation at The White House where it is tradition for The President to pardon one lucky turkey. (Seriously lucky… in some cases it’s been sent to Disneyland!)

We have a foolproof guide to cook your Thanksgiving Turkey. The video is set for a 4kg turkey, so set your timings slightly differently depending on the size of yours. Catch it on the link below:

How To Cook A Turkey

Once you have your oozing succulent bird out of the oven, you need to avoid hacking it up and ruining your hard work. We’ve got a handy vid here that will show you how best to carve it:

How To Carve A Turkey


This is where things get really personal. What to go for at your Thanksgiving feast?

One popular tradition is Thanksgiving Yams. Yams are a type of sweet potato and are usually topped with sugar, butter & marshmallows and then baked. Try it at home with this Sweet Potato Casserole by karensbaker.

A Thanksgiving meal could always do with some stuffing. This standalone Cranberry and Orange Pork Stuffing recipe by Sorted can accompany the turkey, or be served as a nibble before. It will also help you get your cranberry fix.

Serve it all up with some seasonal veg with this recipe for Cumin and Honey Roasted Roots by Sorted.

We’ve also heard of people serving bean casseroles, mac ‘n’ cheese and mash potato with their dinners.

Thanksgiving 2Dessert

Grace the table with a spiced and warming Pumpkin and Pecan Pie by Sorted. Easy to make and oh so delicious.

Other ideas from the community have been Snickerdoodles by cecemckinley and Gingerbread Cookies by callyh87.


On Thanksgiving there’s no church and no gifts given. Just time to spend together having fun and going round the table to say what you are thankful for. American football is a major factor for many people, just like over here in the UK on Boxing Day. There are also parades to go and watch, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade which started in 1924 is televised across the nation.

It sounds like alotta fun. Have we got it right? Is there anything major we missed out? Let us know what Thanksgiving means to you. We’re hearing from Beth tomorrow to get an inside look into her family’s Thanksgiving tradition.

  • Marchbanks

    DON’T make the yams!!! (And they wouldn’t be true yams anyway, as those are West African; what Americans call “yams” are really sweet potatoes.) Candied sweet potato casserole is the most cloying, sickeningly sweet, nauseating concoction of the entire holiday and should be immediately condemned to the dustbin before it can ruin any more lives. It has no redeeming social or political importance that I have ever been able to discern. If you’re going to make a side dish for a Thanksgiving dinner, may I recommend savory Garlic Cheese Grits instead?

    Garlic Cheese Grits

    Serves 8

    325 grams Hominy grits, uncooked
    1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
    2 liters Boiling water
    175 grams Mild cheese, grated
    3 Garlic cloves, pressed
    125 grams Butter or margarine
    3 Eggs, lightly beaten
    1/2 liter Milk
    Grated Parmesan cheese, ad lib.

    Cook the grits in boiling salted water until they are tender but still pourable. Remove from the heat; add the grated cheese, garlic and butter, stirring until the cheese has melted.

    When the grits are cool, mix in the eggs and milk; pour into two well-greased two-liter casseroles. Bake in a preheated 160° C. oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; bake for ten minutes longer and serve immediately.

    Per Serving: 1644 kjoules; 23 g Fat (51.6% kj from fat); 13 g Protein; 35 g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 139 mg Cholesterol; 885 mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 3 1/2 Fat.

    NOTES : This may be prepared ahead. Refrigerate until ready to bake.