November 16, 2018

11 Popular Thanksgiving Myths You Should Stop Believing

They ate turkey

The Pilgrims ate deer, not turkey. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow later wrote, ‘For three days we entertained and feasted, and [the Indians] went out and killd five deer, which they brought to the plantation.’ Winslow does mention that four Pilgrims went ‘fowling’ or bird hunting, but neither he nor anyone else recorded which kinds of birds they actually hunted—so even if they did eat turkey, it was just a side dish.

‘The flashy part of the meal for the colonists was the venison, because it was new to them,’ says Carolyn Travers, director of research at Plimoth Plantation, a Pilgrim museum in Massachusetts. ‘Back in England, deer were on estates and people would be arrested for poaching if they killed these deer … The colonists mentioned venison over and over again in their letters back home.’

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