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225 Years of Presidential Thanksgiving meals

Since George Washington proclaimed the first public day of Thanksgiving, 44 presidents have eaten their way through the holiday. In our NewsHour shares of the day, a look at some especially memorable menus and incidents.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And finally tonight, our NEWSHOUR shares — something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

    The White House has been celebrating Thanksgiving since 1789, when President George Washington proclaimed the first public day of Thanksgiving. That means 44 presidents have eaten their way through Turkey Day, and with plenty of stories on the menu.

    In 1897, William McKinley`s table saw mince meat, Idaho potatoes — a gift from a friend — and the kicker: a 26-pound turkey stuffed with oysters.

    In the 1947, to help with the European food crisis, Harry Truman encouraged Americans to make a "poultry-free Thursday" pledge, but Thanksgiving fell on a Thursday that year. What`s the president to do? Truman moved his Thanksgiving feast to Wednesday, complete with all the fixin`s: giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, and, yes, roast stuffed turkey.

    And in 1977, the proposed menu for Jimmy Carter`s Thanksgiving called for green peas with mushrooms. But check it out — that item was crossed off, and returned with a hand-written note from a staffer: "Jimmy doesn`t especially like green peas," it read. The meal included green beans, instead.

    This year, the Obama Thanksgiving menu includes thyme-roasted turkey, honey-baked ham, cornbread stuffing with chorizo; mac and cheese, two kinds of potatoes, and six different types of pie.

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