Because that’s what the Pilgrims had in 1621 at the first Thanksgiving, right? Not necessarily. The evidence about the first Thanksgiving dinner is inconclusive, and the holiday remained regional for more than 200 years. In 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol helped popularize the idea of turkey for holidays when Scrooge sent the Cratchit family a turkey for Christmas. Twenty years later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Turkey has been on the menu ever since.
Mental Floss takes on the subject of turkey, cranberry sauce, venison, and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. (OP 11/26/2013)