Random Facts About Thanksgiving Trimmings

The turkey (or ham) is usually the star of the show, but we think that the other foods that make up the traditional Thanksgiving dinner are all something to give thanks for.

Stuffing

Sure, you could make your own stuffing, or you could buy a box, add it some butter and hot water and be done. One of the first (and still bestselling) stuffing brands is Stove Top. The secret to their success: the near-uniform size of the breadcrumbs is the perfect size. If the crumbs are any bigger, the mixture was too coarse and wouldn’t cook up correctly; any smaller, and things got wet and soggy.

Cranberries

Cranberries and cranberry juice are frequently used for their homeopathic medical qualities. For example, it’s a well-known treatment for a urinary tract infection. Nearly 80 studies over the years have demonstrated that compounds in cranberries really do help reduce and shorten a UTI, both instead of or in addition to antibiotics.

Brussels Sprouts

You’ve got to put something healthy on the table, right? Millions of families choose to serve a dish of these tiny cabbage clones, roasted or boiled. It’s a good choice — they’re loaded with fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C. In fact, a single serving packs four times as much vitamin C as an orange. A hybrid vegetable of Brussels sprouts and kale called the Flowersprout has eight times as much vitamin C as an orange.

Green Bean Casserole

People seem to either really love or really hate this baked dish that combines canned or frozen green beans, canned mushroom soup, and those crispy fried onion things. It originated as one of those recipes you see on the side of a package and never make…but this one caught on in a big way. In 1955, an employee in the Campbell’s Soup test kitchen named Dorcas Reilly perfected the recipe. She needed to find a use for her employer’s Cream of Mushroom soup, and she took inspiration from its most common use: as a filler and binder in Midwestern casseroles, also called “hot dish.” (The onions were to add texture and color to a dish that’s otherwise grey and gloopy.”

Pumpkin Pie

The most widely used recipes for the Thanksgiving finisher don’t differ too much from the first one, published in 1796. “Pumpkin Pudding” (as “pudding” is a British umbrella term for any dessert) was an entry in Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery. It was the first cookbook ever published that focused exclusively on native North American foods — such as pumpkin.