Thanks to Give
Cranberries play a large role in Thanksgiving feasts across Canada and the United States. In fact, 20% of the total annual harvest of the berries goes towards cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. This tradition may date back to Algonquian tribes sharing the berries with English settlers who were desperately hungry after their voyage to the ‘New World’. Thus, the earliest Thanksgiving meals incorporated the fruit. Here are some other Thanksgiving facts:
TV dinners came into existence thanks to a colossal mistake by the Swanson food company. With 26 tons of extra turkey meat, following Thanksgiving 1953, it was decided to cut up the birds, add some sides and sell a miniaturized version of the traditional turkey dinner.
The busiest day of the year for plumbing services in the U.S. is Black Friday – otherwise known as the day after Thanksgiving. This is due to many systems being overwhelmed the night before. I don’t know what they’re serving across the border, but I can confirm that none of my Turkey Day feasts have resulted in a destroyed toilet or pipes.
There are a number of locations throughout the United States that owe their namesake to Thanksgiving. This includes Turkey Creek in Louisiana; Turkey Creek in Arizona; Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Upper and Lower Turkeyfoot in Pennsylvania.
The same woman responsible for the nursery rhyme ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ can also be credited with Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday in the U.S. Sarah Josepha Hale worked tirelessly for 40 years to have Thanksgiving put on a similar pedestal as the Fourth of July. Finally, in 1863, president Abraham Lincoln declared that the final Thursday of November would be a day of giving thanks, while the U.S. Congress made it all official in 1941.
The Canadian version of the event dates back to 1578, when English explorer, Sir Martin Frobisher, celebrated his successful journey to discover the Northwest Passage. Thanksgiving was used again 1872, occurring on April 15 to commemorate the Prince of Wales recovery from illness. The national holiday came into existence in 1879, originally held on November 6, before being moved to the second Monday of October, each year.
Often served as part of Thanksgiving dessert, the largest pumpkin pie ever weighed 2,020 pounds and was more than 12 feet long. The creation used 900 pounds of pumpkin and 250 pounds of crust (the best part of the pie!). That sounds like a mass genocide of Jack-O-Lanterns!
Other highlights of the American Thanksgiving period include the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which originated in 1924 and the annual Detroit Lions NFL matchup. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day every year (except during World War II) since 1934. That tradition beginner produced the first nationally broadcast football contest and 20 years later, in 1956, the first TV broadcast of the Thanksgiving game took place.
Flavour Revolution: Cranberry Crusher
- 1 oz Cranberry Liqueur
- 1 oz Vodka
- Top with Grapefruit Soda
- Garnish with Cranberries
Some of you little sippers reading this article might be thinking that its posting date is peculiar. Well, while our neighbours to the south celebrate Thanksgiving in late November, us Canadians party much earlier (and harder!) in mid-October. That said, I do envy the American’s four-day weekend version!