As we get ready to prepare for the big feast this Thursday (by the way, LACMA is closed on Thanksgiving Day but open normal hours on Friday) it’s interesting to note what foods were served at the original feast in 1621 between the Plymouth colony and the Wampanoag tribe.
Using images from the departments of LACMA’s permanent collection, here’s a pictorial look at what would (and would not) have been eaten in Plymouth almost four hundred years ago:
Wild turkeys were abundant in the area, but they may not have been the focus of the meal. Other types of poultry were also caught and served . . .
In addition to poultry, venison was also served as one of the main courses.
Living off the East Coast, seafood was definitely a main food staple! Fish, lobster, shellfish, and other bounty caught from the ocean were also a part of the main meal.
These are just a sampling of the vegetables and nuts that would have been included at the Thanksgiving table.
These are just a sampling of the vegetables and nuts that would have been included at the Thanksgiving table. But take a look what wouldn’t have been served because potatoes didn’t become popular in North America until the 1700s after colonists had brought them over from Europe, which explorers had brought back from South America.
Cranberries may have been present in the North America around 1621, but there was no written records found to prove that they were served at the meal.
All of us at LACMA wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!
Devi Noor, Curatorial Administrator, American Art