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Thanksgiving celebrations will look different for many Americans this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Gatherings are likely to be fewer and farther between, with social distancing and perhaps even remote family get-togethers. One tradition that continues this year is the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual cost survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau's informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.This year's national average cost was calculated using more than 230 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers were encouraged to check prices online using grocery store apps and websites due to the pandemic. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau's classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Ashley Rose Young, a historian with the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, told CNBC that Hamilton was known to be a proponent of turkey. "This was all part of a larger idea of bringing a national sensibility to the United States through consuming the same kinds of foods," she said, in an interview with "The News with Shepard Smith". "So turkey, being a bird indigenous and native to North America really set the American table apart, for example, from the British table.".

Young explained that historians do not believe that turkey was eaten during the "First Thanksgiving" in 1621 and that the likely meats at the table were venison, geese and duck. She said that it became a powerful myth promoted by literature and author Sarah Hale, who more than 240 years later pushed the idea of making Thanksgiving a national holiday for decades. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it holiday in 1863.

″ [Hale] thought that the pilgrims and the Wampanoag likely consumed turkey, although we know now that's not historically accurate. But her vision was powerful, and it really spread the word about turkey to people living outside of New England, and into those other parts of the United States," she said.

The true answer to why we eat turkey, among other popular Thanksgiving foods like pumpkin and cranberry, was largely due to migration from New England, according to Young. "Turkey became the national dish that we eat on Thanksgiving through a decades and century-long process of the regional foods of New England consumed during traditional harvest festivals, making their way through the United States as Americans living on the east coast and in the U.S. south moved westward over time.".

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