Whole Foods Wants to Sell You Shrimp for Thanksgiving
My wife, Carrie, and her lil' sis, Molly, were recently in New York City , where they saw this placard hanging in a Whole Foods window on the Lower East Side. They shared a good laugh over Whole Paycheck's marketing ploy to pair Pilgrims with peel-and-eat shrimp.
I had a really hard time believing Whole Foods was that stupid, so I checked its Web site, where I found this bit of brilliant marketing-speak: "Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) today announces the arrival of “Shrimpsgiving” in its seafood departments nationwide."
Here's the pertinent paragraph from the press release:
Shrimpsgiving celebrates the little-known fact that the Pilgrims and Native Americans enjoyed seafood along with their turkey at the first Thanksgiving meal. To honor those early traditions and to kick off the holiday season, Whole Foods Market stores will feature special prices on the nation’s perennial seafood favorite during the month of November and a larger array of shrimp than previous years during this holiday season.
Whole Foods is apparently justifying its whole promotion based on this page from History.com, which carries this sub-headline: "Foods That May Have Been on the Menu." I repeat, foods that may have been on the menu. A quick flip through my trusty Penguin Companion to Food unearths this nugget about the first Thanksgiving:
"It is certain that the feast was held, and that both the settlers and the Native Indians of the area took part; a contemporary source states that the latter included Chief Massasoit and ninety men, and that the dishes served included fowl and deer. Beyond that, little is known for sure, and the event was not repeated until 1623."
I guess this wouldn't be the first time a marketing ploy has been based on fiction and conjecture.
Photo by Molly Allan.