Halloween and Thanksgiving: These two holidays always seem to be in the top three alongside Christmas. We don’t want to play favorites, but since two of those holidays fall within Autumn, one could make a case that it’s the best season of them all…
Well, we’ll leave that argument for someone else to have! Here in the Piedmont-Triad, every season has a wonderful reason to celebrate, and we celebrate each one to its fullest. What follows are some interesting, little-known facts about this iconic holiday and North Carolina itself.
Did you know that there is no clear evidence that turkey was enjoyed at the first Thanksgiving meal? It’s true: it appears this North American fowl was off the menu way back in 1621, in favor of venison and seafood. Considering it was an east-coast meal, can anyone be surprised? But that said, some 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving. That’s double the amount eaten on both Easter and Christmas! Speaking of the bird, where did the name ‘turkey’ come from anyway? Honestly, from marketing: Turkish importers brought Guineafowl from Africa to Europe; Europeans loved the animal and called them by the slang term ‘turkeys’; Spanish importers, bringing the native North American birds in from across the Atlantic, called them turkeys to capitalize on an already delicious bird for sale on the continent. Another Thanksgiving staple, cranberries, also didn’t figure into the original meal, considering that the sugar needed to make the sour berry palatable was in short supply back then.
There is nothing more iconic of North Carolina than its red clay and the pottery made from it, and Seagrove pottery is legendary across the world. The town of Seagrove—located in the middle of the state, so don’t let the name fool you—is the handmade pottery capital of the US. Over a hundred potteries are located in this town, and normally there are two annual celebrations around this time of year to experience the history, tradition, and craftsmanship of one of America’s oldest art forms. They’re cancelled this year, but if you don’t have at least a few pieces of Seagrove Pottery for your Thanksgiving spread, take the time to find and purchase some from these local artisans.
Since 1971, North Carolina has produced the most sweet potatoes out of any state in America. It’s no surprise that the rust-colored soil of this state yields the most rust-colored vegetables of all, and sweet potatoes have always featured strongly in any Thanksgiving feast. From the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission itself are tons of recipes featuring this vital and variable vegetable.