- The traditional Thanksgiving meal -- turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie -- has less to do with what the Pilgrims ate than with America's anti-artistocratic leanings, according to historian Rachel Laudan.
- In an essay called "Thanksgiving, or how to eat American politics," Laudan lays out a fascinating description of how the Thanksgiving feast is a sort of in-your-face, egalitarian approach to food that was formed out American's distaste for the formality and class-consciousness of European feasts.
- Among the items of note in the Thanksgiving feast, Laudan says, are turkey (inexpensive enough to allow for anyone to have a generous helping) and the presence of children at the table (a practice that the ruling classes of Europe would never countenance.)
We adored Laudan's essay, and will be sending it to everyone we know today. And no doubt on Thanksgiving we will raise a toast to Sarah Josepha Hale -- our fellow journalist, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, and the woman who published recipes for roast turkey and pumpkin pie and popularized Thanksgiving as a holiday for family homecoming and an American-style meal.