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Potatoes: A Nutritious Thanksgiving Staple with History
Shake Up your Celebration with New Recipes and Trivia to Wow any Guest
November 21, 2022
Everyone knows it’s not Thanksgiving without potatoes, but most people don’t know how America’s favorite vegetable ended up on our plate for this uniquely American holiday. And if you’re looking to put a modern twist on your classic Thanksgiving potatoes, we’ve got some fun new recipes courtesy of Potatoes USA to mix things up at your holiday table.
Did you know that potatoes were not on the first Thanksgiving menu in 1621? The Native Americans and Plymouth settlers likely feasted on food like venison, dried fish, eels and a native variety of corn in the form of porridge. We know children across the country are grateful they don’t have to say, “Please pass the eels!”
While the pilgrims may not have had potatoes on their table, researchers from Utah have discovered that Native Americans in the western U.S. ate wild potatoes nearly 11,000 years ago! But it wasn’t until we were a fledgling nation that potatoes (which had come to Europe via Spanish Conquistadors in South America) started growing toward the popularity they enjoy today.
By the time Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November a “day of Thanksgiving,” potatoes were much loved around the country…and the rest is history!
“It’s no wonder potatoes have become a Thanksgiving staple. They’re easy, affordable and guaranteed to please everybody at your table!” says Chef and Registered Dietician R.J. Harvey, director of culinary at Potatoes USA.
Potatoes also are a nutritional powerhouse. Per serving, they pack more vitamin C than pumpkin, more iron than green beans, and more potassium than sweet potatoes! “Potatoes don’t have to be your guilty pleasure. They are naturally fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free, and they’re the type of quality carbohydrate that fuels performance for your family flag football game!” Harvey adds.