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The History of Thanksgiving Dinner and Dairy’s Place at The Table

November 16, 2023

The History of Thanksgiving 

In 1621, Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony gathered to feast over their first fall harvest. This ceremonious feast is noted in history as the first ever, “Thanksgiving”. On the menu at this dinner were items such as goose, duck, corn, bread and porridge. Though Thanksgiving is now more of a celebration of togetherness, acknowledging what we’re grateful for, and sometimes a good game of football, we still celebrate these things with a feast of food such as turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, and lots of butter. Though the Pilgrims and Wampanoag celebrated their harvest together, their gatherings didn’t last long. And it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving was recognized as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln to celebrate our “general blessings”. 

Dairy’s Place at The Table

The meal served at Thanksgiving has evolved a lot since 1621, but one thing has always stayed true–dairy’s place at the table. Dairy products have been used by humans for nutritional value since 8000 BCE and are used across the world, especially during the holiday season. This month, we’ve put together a guide on quintessential holiday dishes to make with your family for your Thanksgiving spread.


There are never enough small bites to delight in. If you’re looking for some delicious, easy and fun dairy recipes to bring to the table, see these recipes below: 

Baked Brie with Caramelized Apples – This Baked Brie combines all the flavors of warm and nutty cheese with fresh bites of apple and cozy baking spices. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser, this dish will surely scratch that itch.

Fall Cheese Board – We partnered with our friends at Bottle and Brie to help us curate the perfect charcuterie board for the Fall. This board is balanced with soft, semi-hard and hard cheeses to allow for vibrant and unique delights at each touch point of the platter.

Tzatziki Dip – Tzatziki Dip tastes great with just about anything. We especially love it served with a side of fresh vegetables and crackers. Try your hand at making this zesty, light and fresh dip for your Thanksgiving spread. 

Side Dishes 

Though for some Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, we prefer to reach for everything that comes with it. Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving sides to pair with a roasted turkey. 

Market Sea and Land Signature Mac & Cheese – Executive Chef Nicholas Beesley of Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa gave us his tips and tricks to perfecting a delicious mac & cheese packed with crunch from breadcrumbs, sharpness from white cheddar and creaminess from mascarpone cheese. If you’re looking to give your old school Mac & Cheese a new school twist, check this recipe out!

Roasted Veggie Winter Salad – A cruciferous salad is brought to life with the different add ons like bleu cheese, gouda, candied nuts and dried fruit. This Roasted Veggie Winter Salad is a tasty compliment to the heavier sides we reach for like Potato and Cheese Gratin and Cheddar Biscuits. If you’re tasked with bringing a lighter dish this holiday, try making this salad. 

Homemade Pimento Cheese Grits – Decadent, savory, rich, and utterly delicious, these Homemade Pimento Cheese Grits savor all the flavors of cheddar, parmesan, white cheddar, and butter. We partnered with The Nashville Social Club to get all their tips and tricks on what made their grits taste so good. And the secret? Dairy. In the spirit of feasting, you won’t want to miss out on adding this rich and tasty dish to your Thanksgiving spread. 

Roasted Turkey not your main go-to? Try one of these mains instead!

While some of us wait all year to get a healthy heaping of turkey on our plates at Thanksgiving, it’s not for everyone. We’ve compiled irresistible mains that are easy to make if you or your guests choose to opt out of the traditional turkey. 

Salmon with Mosaic Lentils –  Chef Colin Smith from Roundabout Catering collaborated with the Nevada Dairy Farmers to provide us with a succulent salmon recipe placed on a bed of lentils and fresh vegetables. This recipe is light, fresh and an excellent alternative for those who have dietary restrictions or preferences. 

Mozzarella Salad and Seared Scallops – These seared scallops simmered in a lemon-thyme, cream sauce are an elegant dish to enjoy during the holidays. Served with a side of cherry tomato and mozzarella salad, this dish truly hits the mark on gourmet dining for the holidays. 

Amazing Graze 

The holidays are meant to be filled with great company, gratitude and grazing delicious delights. We’re especially grateful for our amazing dairy farmers in Nevada who work tirelessly to provide us with nutritionally-dense, high-quality and tasty dairy every day. 

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