The First Thanksgiving Meal – How to Eat Like a Pilgrim

When you think of November, you think of Thanksgiving and, of course, turkey. This Thanksgiving, Americans will consume some 46 million birds! While turkey is the staple for Thanksgiving today, it may not have been on the menu during what is considered the First Thanksgiving. The First Thanksgiving meal eaten by pilgrims in November 1621 included lobster. They also ate fruits and vegetables brought by Native Americans, mussels, bass, clams, and oysters. 


Back in 1621, lobsters were so plentiful that you could grab them by the hand straight out of the ocean at low tide. Today, lobster might not be a food associated with a traditional Thanksgiving menu, but it should be! This year, bring back the New England tradition of lobster and fresh seafood on your table for a truly authentic Thanksgiving meal.

Lobster for the First New England Thanksgiving

Today’s modern Thanksgiving menu is very different. Historians tell us that turkey was not confirmed to have been on the menu. Rather, it was wildfowl, venison, and seafood. Fresh seafood consisted of lobster, clams, oysters, and mussels harvested from rocks off the shores. 

Those poor pilgrims. Cold and starving in a brave new world. Facing all kinds of peril in a foreign land. Thank goodness for their charitable new friends, the Wampanoag Indians, who saw fit to share their bounty with these newcomers. There was, indeed, much to be thankful for.

Alas, how fortunate that, a few miles away, just below the water’s surface, lay scores upon scores of noble lobster ready to provide a veritable feast!

Edward Winslow, a three time governor of Plymouth Bay Colonies, details the bounty of what would become Massachusetts:

Our bay is full of lobsters all the summer and affordeth variety of other fish; in September we can take a hogshead of eels in a night with small labor, and can dig them out of their beds all the winter. We have mussels… at our doors. Oysters we have none near, but we can have them brought by the Indians…

Bring Back a New England Seafood Tradition in 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 was never going to be conventional. So, why not celebrate with an unconventional meal? This year, gatherings will be much smaller. A perfect time to test out the new (yet, old) pilgrim tradition of eating lobster on Thanksgiving. 

Did you know…?

Turkey isn’t even the most popular Thanksgiving food. Most people favor the casseroles and other side dishes that accompany it. 

Did you know…?

Tryptophan in turkey (you know, that thing that makes you tired after a big meal) is triggered by the carb-loaded sides that you eat along with it. Imagine enjoying those heavy sides while still feeling fully awake after the meal. With lobster instead of turkey, you can have more energy to spend time with your loved ones. That’s truly what this holiday is all about!

The season wouldn’t be the same without Friendsgiving – whether you’re hanging out with your bubble or sharing treats via videochat, we’ve got you. Order for yourself or share a big bundle of treats – orders $85+ ship free*!

Lobster On Thanksgiving

2020 Reflects the Long First Thanksgiving

If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or have guests traveling to you, chances are that you will have plenty of time to test out some seafood and lobster appetizers before the big meal. This year, out-of-state travelers on Thanksgiving are advised to quarantine for 14 days. Consider it an extended holiday for you and your family to spend more time together.

The first Thanksgiving feast, according to a letter published in England by Winslow, lasted five days. Throughout the Thanksgiving celebration, they feasted on seafood and lobsters, while enjoying the company of the entire pilgrim colony, as well as King Massasoit and Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe that likely outnumbered the colonists 2:1.

We are not saying that you have to serve giant lobsters for five days straight, but it is plenty of time to try out variations of lobster Thanksgiving meals to impress your guests. Imagine the day after Thanksgiving having a lobster panini instead of a turkey sandwich. You’ll forget about the cold weather outside immediately once you bite into buttery seafood!

How to Cook a Stress-Free Lobster Thanksgiving

Bring together family and friends and crack into lobsters. Make the meal memorable and delicious. Forget seven hours in the oven. The main course could be cooked in about the time it takes the casseroles to cool down after coming out of the oven.

Later, everyone would gather around the table and dig into a platter heavy with lobster. Kids would fight over the claws instead of the drumsticks. A helping of coral, not cranberry sauce, would grace every plate. Oyster stuffing, and a nice warm mug of New England clam chowder. And, of course, we’d be eating lobster roll made with the leftovers for the next week, instead of turkey sandwiches.

Here’s What You’ll Need in Your Thanksgiving Shopping List

Get Stuffed with our super fresh seafood this Thanksgiving! Skip the turkey and pass the lobster!

Order appetizers, side dishes, and more – direct from the Smokehouse. Thanksgiving will look different this year, and we can help you celebrate, no matter what size gathering you have.

  1. 5-6 lb. “turkey” size live lobster for the centerpiece.
  2. Maine Lobster Stew is a hearty starter for your feast.
  3. Crab Claws: You won’t be crabby with these extra large claws.
  4. Colossal Shrimp: Make shrimp cocktail with the biggest and best shrimp online.
  5. NE Soup Sampler: Some “chowdah” and some lobster bisque for family coming home!
  6. New Bedford Sea Scallops: Served raw as a crudo, seared on a salad, or just placed in the center of the plate, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy this local delicacy that rarely leaves the island.
  7. Wine: From a casual meal for two to a small gathering, we’ve curated bundles of wine to fit every Thanksgiving celebration. Make Thanksgiving your own – with the case that’s just right for your day.

Don’t restrict lobster to the main meal. Impress your guests and try out some seafood and lobster appetizers to serve before the big meal. 

Thanksgiving Ordering FAQS

  1. When is the last day I can order lobster for Thanksgiving?

    To ensure that your requested product is in stock, we recommend ordering your Thanksgiving orders ASAP. However, we do offer 24 hour turnaround for lobster deliveries, as well as two-day shipping.

  2. When will the “turkey” lobsters be back in stock?

    Check the order page to see if “turkey” lobsters are in stock. We offer a wide selection of live lobsters of varying weights to suit all of your needs.

  3. How much does shipping cost?

    It all depends on what you order. For live lobsters you can get a free shipping quote by simply adding to your cart. We also offer a bunch of packages with free shipping.

  4. How long does it take to ship for Thanksgiving?

    Order by 1 EST for next day delivery, within 24 hours, or schedule a future delivery at online checkout. Note live lobsters have an earlier cut-off time. Although we cannot have live lobsters delivered on Thanksgiving Day you can have them arrive the day before and refrigerate.

  5. How do I cook live lobster?

    For more information on how to boil live lobsters, see our full article here.


  1. I’m an American but I always celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October like the people in Canada do. I never celebrate Thanksgiving in November. But I always celebrate all of the American holidays exactly the same. I strongly agree that Lobster is the dish to be served on Thanksgiving. I think Turkey should be served as a Christmas dinner.

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