The menu of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 was much different than that of the traditional meal today.
Squash and corn are common to both, but you may not find venison, geese, ducks and seafood on today’s menu.
Now, turkey and potatoes are usually the centerpiece of the meal, and the sweet desserts, not found at the celebration almost 400 years ago, complete the meal.
We asked our readers to share the recipes they’ll likely place on the table Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
Jolene Simshauser of Narragansett, R.I., whose parents live in Worcester, offered two recipes to start the meal.
BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 10-ounce can chunk white chicken, drained
½ cup buffalo wing sauce
½ cup ranch dressing
2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby-Monterey jack cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the cream cheese into an ungreased shallow 1-quart baking dish. Layer with the chicken, wing sauce and ranch dressing, and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted. If desired, serve with celery, pita chips or baguette slices.
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 15-ounce can pizza sauce, divided
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
6 to 8 strips fully cooked bacon, chopped
½ cup mini pepperoni
2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in bacon, pepperoni, ½ cup pizza sauce and 1 cup of cheese.
Unroll crescent dough and separate into triangles. On an ungreased 14-inch pizza pan, arrange the triangles in a ring with points toward the outside and wide ends overlapping at the center leaving a 4-inch opening. Press the overlapping dough to seal.
Spoon the filling onto the wide ends of the triangles. Fold the pointed ends of the triangles over the filling, tucking the points under to form a ring. The filling will be visible.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 3 minutes longer or until the cheese in melted. Serve with remaining pizza sauce.
Jane M. Knapp of Oneonta said the following “is a must at our Thanksgiving family gatherings.”
2 small packages orange-colored gelatin
2 11-ounce cans Mandarin oranges, juice reserved
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 pint orange sherbet
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the gelatin to dissolve.
Pour 1 cup of the juice from the oranges and stir it in.
Add orange sherbet and stir. Put in the refrigerator for a minute or two.
Add oranges and crushed pineapple. Chill overnight until set.
Elizabeth J. Eckert of Oneonta let us know about her “nice holiday pie.”
MOCK CHERRY PIE
1½ cup fresh or whole canned cranberries
1½ cups raisins
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup of the water
1 teaspoon butter
1½ teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe for double pie crust
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cook cranberries, raisins, sugar and ¾ cup of water until cranberries crack open.
Add water and cornstarch mixture and continue cooking until it thickens.
Make the pie crust, divide into bottom and top crust. Put bottom crust into a pie pan.
Pour the fruit into prepared crust, and cover with top crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake another 35 minutes or until crust is done.
Annie Myers of Laurens offered another sweet treat.
NANTUCKET CRANBERRY CAKE
2 cups cranberries
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
Do not use a springform pan — the juice will leak out. Use a pie plate or quiche pan, about 10 inches diameter.
Use either whole or cut in half cranberries. Spread evenly on bottom of pan. Sprinkle with walnuts and sugar.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and somewhat fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, almond extract and beat until very smooth and light and fluffy.
Mix the flour, baking power and salt together. Sprinkle the flour mixture into the batter and beat a few seconds. Add the milk and stir until just incorporated. Spoon the batter onto the cranberry mixture and smooth to evenly cover the berries.
Bake 45 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center with your finger. The cake will be golden brown. Let it cool in pan for about five minutes. Turn out into a cake plate and let it thoroughly cool. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and cut into wedges.
Simshauser also offered a dessert.
12/3 cups of sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cup apples, peeled, sliced and diced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-by-13-inch baking pan.
Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin together well with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Stir together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture into the apples. Mix well and set aside.
Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix on low until the batter is smooth and well blended.
Add the apples and mix well to blend them in.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let the bars cool before frosting.
Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar and mix well. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Frost the bars then cut into 16 bars.
Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired.
Wondering what to do with the leftover turkey? Nancy Murphy of Murphy House Bed-and-Breakfast in Oneonta offered an idea.
“On Thanksgiving weekend in 1997, I first made this recipe as a way to use up turkey from a very large bird that I had roasted the day before. My family loved it so much that now I make it many times a year. It’s still a great way to use up leftovers but it’s also easy to make with one of those (oh-so-convenient) rotisserie chickens that can be purchased already cooked from a grocery store,” she said.
TURKEY POT PIE
2 refrigerated pie crusts
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup onions, chopped
1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cups chicken broth
1/3 cup milk
3 cups turkey (or chicken), chopped
2 cups mixed vegetables
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9-inch pie plate with the bottom pie crust, according to the package directions.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add the broth and milk; cook and stir until it is thick. Mix in the turkey and vegetables. Remove from the stove.
Spoon the mixture into the bottom pie crust. Top with the second crust. Seal and flute the edges and make a few slits through the top.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling hot.
No matter what’s on the table, one thing hasn’t changed since the the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors gathered for a three-day celebration — it is time spend time with friends and family to give thanks for everything we have.