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What Goes Best With Turkey?

The sides on your Thanksgiving table depend on where you live

Michael Becker/FOX. © 2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.

After winning MasterChef Junior in May, 13-year-old Jasmine Stewart decided to rethink her Thanksgiving table. The Georgia native tested out recipes for pesto turkey, balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, and apple rose tarts. Her new dishes were a hit. “They’re all going to be on the menu from now on,” says Jasmine.

What people serve at Thanksgiving is as diverse as America itself. The dishes you eat on the holiday depend on where you live as well as your family’s heritage. If you live in the Southeast, for instance, you probably load your plate with pecan pie and corn bread dressing (aka stuffing). If you hail from the Midwest, you’re more likely to pile on green bean casserole and persimmon pudding. If you have German roots, you might serve sauerkraut and apple cake.

“There is no one definition of the Thanksgiving meal,” says Susan Evans, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s food history programs. “In some ways there never was.”

The first Thanksgiving, in 1621, was a weeklong festival to celebrate the fall harvest. English colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans came together to share food. But the food served wasn’t what you might expect.

“The only thing we know for certain was on the menu was deer meat,” says Sandy Oliver, a food historian based in Maine. This comes from a colonist’s letter that said the Wampanoag guests brought five deer to the feast. The partygoers likely also ate fish and wild fowl, like duck or goose, and autumn crops like cabbage, corn, and squash. “We know pumpkins did exist, but there was no flour, so they wouldn’t have had pie,” says Evans.

Today’s traditional Thanksgiving menu comes from 19th-century writer Sarah Josepha Hale. “She wanted to create an American tradition that brought people together,” says Evans. In her novel Northwood, Hale described a feast of “roasted turkey” with “savory stuffing,” and of course pumpkin pie. She wrote to President Abraham Lincoln, who made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863.

As the country changed, so did its national dinner. Families coming to the U.S. brought new recipes. Food companies have also brought their ideas to the table: Green bean casserole came from a Campbell’s soup can! “To me, Thanksgiving is about creativity,” says Evans. “Putting new twists on old experiences—that’s very American.”

Georgia native Jasmine Stewart is in charge of Thanksgiving food at her house. The 13-year-old won MasterChef Junior in May. She tested out some new recipes for this year. Her turkey is covered in pesto. She made cranberry sauce from scratch. And for dessert, she created apple tarts that look like roses. “They’re all going to be on the menu from now on,” says Jasmine.

Thanksgiving food is as diverse as America itself. What you eat for the holiday depends on where you live. It also depends on your family’s background. People in the Southeast usually eat pecan pie and corn bread dressing. (Dressing is called stuffing in other parts of the country.) Midwesterners prefer green bean casserole and persimmon pudding. And people with German roots might eat apple cake and sauerkraut.

So what’s the definition of the Thanksgiving meal? According to Susan Evans, the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s food history programs, there isn’t one!

The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621. It was a weeklong festival to celebrate the fall harvest. English colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans came together to share food. But the food served wasn’t what you might expect.

“The only thing we know for certain was on the menu was deer meat,” says Sandy Oliver. She’s a food historian based in Maine. A colonist’s letter said the Wampanoag guests brought five deer to the feast. They likely also ate fish and wild fowl, like duck or goose. Autumn crops like cabbage, corn, and squash finished off the meal. There were pumpkins, but no pumpkin pie. The colonists didn’t have flour!

The modern Thanksgiving menu comes from Sarah Josepha Hale. She was a novelist in the 1800s. Hale “wanted to create an American tradition that brought people together,” says Evans. In her novel Northwood, Hale wrote about a feast of turkey with savory stuffing and pumpkin pie. She wrote to President Abraham Lincoln asking him to create a national fall holiday. He made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863.

As the country changed, so did its national dinner. Families coming to the U.S. brought new recipes. Food companies have also brought their ideas to the table: Green bean casserole came from a Campbell’s soup can! “To me, Thanksgiving is about creativity,” says Evans. “Putting new twists on old experiences, that’s very American.”    

Use the ingredient list for Jasmine’s apple rose tarts to see how much of each ingredient you would need for the different-sized batches. Write answers as mixed numbers in simplest form. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Use the ingredient list for Jasmine’s apple rose tarts to see how much of each ingredient you would need for the different-sized batches. Write answers as mixed numbers in simplest form. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Greg Gayne/FOX. ©2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.

How many lemons do you need to make 4 tarts?

How many lemons do you need to make 4 tarts?

How much cinnamon do you need to make 6 tarts?

How much cinnamon do you need to make 6 tarts?

How much brown sugar is needed to make 20 tarts?

How much brown sugar is needed to make 20 tarts?

Jasmine uses muffin pans that can make 8 tarts at a time. If you wanted to make a batch that would fill 2 muffin pans, how much butter would you need?

Jasmine uses muffin pans that can make 8 tarts at a time. If you wanted to make a batch that would fill 2 muffin pans, how much butter would you need?

You have 2 cups of white sugar in your pantry. What’s the maximum number of apple rose tarts you can make? Explain your answer.

You have 2 cups of white sugar in your pantry. What’s the maximum number of apple rose tarts you can make? Explain your answer.

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