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Arts & Life

Stateside: Thanksgiving spreads your great-grandmother would recognize

Rebecca Williams
Michigan Radio
A male Narragansett in living color. Turkeys are native to North America. They've been transported across the Atlantic Ocean several times, from Mexico to Europe... from Europe to America... as turkeys were domesticated, crossed with wild turkeys, and new

With the exception of a few wild selections, the Thanksgiving spreads of today closely resemble those of the 1800’s.

Bill Loomis, author of “Detroit’s Delectable Past,” claimed our ancestors had a taste for animals of considerable size- such as the bear.

During the 19th century, animals were killed specifically for the Thanksgiving meal.

Cuts of chicken, duck, fish, quail and squirrel were served with mounds of squash and other root vegetables.

Americans at this time also had a taste for oysters.

“Oysters became popular in the middle 19th century. Oyster stuffing was really popular,” said Loomis.

Turkeys were suspended from a chord over a hearth, allowing for a thorough roast to occur.

But according to Loomis, had it not been for Lewis Cass, few turkeys would ever roast in Michigan.

“The French in Detroit didn’t have Thanksgiving. It was Lewis Cass who really pushed it through and made the first proclamation in 1824,” said Loomis.

-Cameron Stewart

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

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