Dec 132013

Traditions have always been an important part of the Thanksgiving celebration. But how did these traditions get started?
thanksgiving nfl lion packer gameFootball games

For our family, this day is a tradition for giving thanks and watching our Packers play football.

The Detroit Lions are credited with starting this Thanksgiving day tradition in 1934.  The team’s owner knew scheduling a game on a holiday could be risky, but when the game was quickly sold out, a tradition was born.  Our son-in-law’s team, the Lions, beat our Packers on Thanksgiving Day.  Oh well, there’s always a next time.

Thanksgiving Turkey WishboneTurkey WishboneTurkey Wishbone Cracking

This is one of the odder traditions that has a very deep history and actually dates back thousands of years.

The custom of snapping these bones or furculas in two after dinner came to us from the English, who got it from the Romans, who got it from the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization.

The Etruscans apparently thought chickens had supernatural powers, so they used the birds in an attempt to predict the future.

Amazingly, they found goose bones were capable of predicting if the winter would be severe or mild.

I wonder if my local television station’s weatherman has a few wishbones next to his prognosticating equipment!

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Sauce

Love it or hate it, they are considered a part of the Thanksgiving tradition.  While cranberries were available, the Pilgrims likely weren’t devouring them as a sauce or relish.  Since sugar was a luxury item, making the jam would have been expensive.

As reported in The New Jersey Star-Ledger, “Cranberries officially became a part of the national Thanksgiving tradition in 1864, when Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered cranberries be served to soldiers as part of their holiday meal.”  Whether it was widely used before that remains a mystery.

This cranberry recipe got five stars from my family and is now part of our traditional turkey dinner.  What’s your favorite (or wacky) holiday tradition memory.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Quince-Pomegranate Cranberry Compote
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 15
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Make it a day ahead, as it allows the fruit to set nicely and the flavors to really come together.
  • 12 ounces fresh (rinsed, stemmed and drained) or frozen cranberries
  • ½ POM pomegranate juice (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 Quince (peeled, cored, seeded and diced)
  • 2 Satsumas or small oranges (juiced and zested)
  • 1 cup super fine sugar
  1. Place the diced quince in a small saucepan with enough water to cover fruit over high heat. Bring to boil, lower heat to medium and simmer until quince is fork tender. Set aside without draining fruit to avoid discoloration.
  2. Place cranberries, Satsuma orange zest and juice, sugar and pomegranate juice in medium-size saucepan over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add drained quince and simmer for about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and quince melds with the cranberries. Crush the quince with back of wooden spoon while stirring if necessary.
  4. Test if thickened. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Refrigerate. Will keep for 3 or 4 weeks in refrigerator.

Enjoy the “Foodie Tuesday” series on Inside Journeys

  13 Responses to “Thanksgiving Traditions, wacky or normal”

  1. I loved finding out about the traditions for the wishbone and cranberry sauce – well I never! We always used to pull the wishbone when we were children in England, and never understood why. Going to have to reinstate that tradition I think. Your compote looks delish – definitely one to try 🙂

  2. I’m loving the hat, I am ashamed to say I never thought to make our own cranberry sauce. Thanks for the recipe, I will give it a go with frozen cranberries if I can get them here in Perth Western Australia. Rae xxx

    • Considering my son-in-law is from “Lion Country” he was able to brag about his team that day! The cranberry sauce is amazing. I never knew there was such a thing as a Quince fruit and how to use it. It is readily available in fall which is good timing and offsets the sweet taste.

  3. Well, I learned a lot through this. I’ve never been much of a football fan, so I’m usually the one hanging out in the kitchen instead of in front of the TV. However, I’ve hosted many a Thanksgiving dinner where we had to start by 11AM so that people could make it to the stadium in time for kickoff later in the day. You have to start the turkey really early if you want to serve it at 11.

    • Wow, now that’s a great hostess to get up that early to cook the turkey. We love our Packers and the rivalry with our son-in-law when they play the Lions.

  4. Any mention of trying to produce homemade cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner, produces howls of protest from my sons and sisters. They insist on canned, jellied cranberry sauce — straight from the can. Period. End of discussion.

    • That’s so funny and yet so right on! My husband felt the same way, but after he tried this sauce – he decided this was better. Proving once again, you CAN teach an old dog about new food.

  5. We have a weird one of our own-my husband, youngest son, and I are always alone on Thanksgiving, so we have a big grilled steak dinner. We Love it!

    • Thanksgiving isn’t what you eat, but who you are having dinner with. You and your family have chosen food that’s special to you, so I guess it’s not weird after all.

  6. Your son-in-law’s a real sport for wearing that hat. I’ve never seen one like it before.
    I used to snap the wishbone that with my mom – chicken bone, that is. And we’d make wishes. Thanks for the memory, Neva, and the recipe.
    Thanks also for linking up this week. Sorry for my late response, I guess I didn’t check the option to get notified by email when someone joined the linkup.

  7. We have all of the same traditions for the holidays 🙂 Love the suggestion of pom juice in the cranberry sauce – will have to try that! ~Renee

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