The answer to the headline is because it’s delicious with gravy, but the full truth is more complicated than you might think.
The facts and fictional tales around the origins of Thanksgiving’s many traditions are blurred into myths. Notably, the Pilgrims probably didn’t hold the first celebration of a successful harvest with their Native American neighbors. It might have been Texans or Virginians.
The big feasts of the 1600s likely didn’t feature turkey, either. Popular 19th-century writer Sarah Josepha Hale and a guy named Charles Dickens possibly influenced the choice of the main dish. Either way, pass the gravy, please.
– Dan Stefano, The Pittsburgh 100