What is your favorite Thanksgiving dinner food?
Do you think green bean casserole would have become so popular if the recipe had been written now, when so much fast food is available, rather than in the 1950s? Why or why not?
If you were told to come up with a recipe based on ingredients that any home cook would have on hand, including Campbell's mushroom soup and green beans, what would you make?
The article cited several reasons why green bean casserole was the perfect recipe for post-War America. It also said that the recipe really took off when Campbell's began printing it on its mushroom soup cans. Which of those reasons-timing or marketing-do you think is most responsible for the recipe's success? Why?
- Poll the class to see how many students have ever eaten green bean casserole as part of their Thanksgiving meal. Invite any volunteers who have helped prepare the dish to compare the ingredients they used with the patented recipe mentioned in the article.
- Then have students brainstorm a list of other foods served during the Thanksgiving meal. Instruct students to select one dish and investigate its origins. Who invented the dish? Where and why was it first created? Have any recipes for this dish been patented? If so, challenge students to find a copy of the patented recipe. If not, encourage them to find a popular recipe for the dish.
- Instruct students to compile the information they collected to create an informational page about this Thanksgiving food. Encourage them to include a photo and brief history explaining how the dish was invented. And remind them not to forget to include the recipe!
- Combine students' work to create a Thanksgiving recipe book for the class.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Watch this Smithsonian Insider video to hear an interview with National Museum of the American Indian curator Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche) about the origins, myth and reality of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Have you ever thought about the inventions that have gone into the making of the traditional pumpkin pie? Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn all about them.
This teaching poster, designed for educators and students in grades 4-8, examines the deeper meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday for American Indians through the themes of environment, community, encounters and innovations. Created by the National Museum of the American Indian, it includes information that is essential to understanding and teaching about American Indians along with compelling images and ideas for classroom activities.
In this inquiry from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer, students investigate one of the best -known stories in American history—the interaction between the Pilgrims and Wampanoags that included the first Thanksgiving.
Read this blog from the National Museum of American History to learn about four ingredients that make up what is now the traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, corn, squash and cranberries.
Read this Smithsonian Insider article to learn about research by a team of archaeologists that has revealed a curious connection between our traditional Thanksgiving dinner and the taste buds of prehistoric mammoths and mastodons.
Use this resource from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer to examine the art, industry and history of holiday displays across the United States. The exhibition showcases numerous photographs, postcards and rendering illustrations of parade floats and window displays—including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the Marshall Field & Company Christmas windows—as well as objects relating to the early creation of these displays.