How did it come about that Americans are compelled to cook a turkey on the final Thursday of the month of November? One of the first history lessons in school is the story of the three-day feast of Thanks in 1621 shared by the Plymouth settlers and the Wampanoag Indian tribes, a loose tradition followed every autumn until enacted into law in 1863 by Abe Lincoln. But let’s get back to the turkey.
The early settlers were British, and English meals of significance always have a star dish, usually a large roast. The largest bird of the new America was the turkey, and presented a very impressive centerpiece for a real feast of Thanks. Thus, by default the turkey became the star, 45 million of them each Thanksgiving.