Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving To ALL

The First ThanksgivingIn 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. This harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans. Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.

The Pilgrims' MenuFoods That May Have Been on the MenuSeafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, LobsterWild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, EaglesMeat: Venison, SealGrain: Wheat Flour, Indian CornVegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, CarrotsFruit: Plums, GrapesNuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, AcornsHerbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, ParsnipsWhat Was Not on the MenuSurprisingly, the following foods, all considered staples of the modern Thanksgiving meal, didn't appear on the pilgrims's first feast table:Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered a pig by this time, though they had brought pigs with them from England.Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common.Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year.Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar at this time.Pumpkin Pie: It's not a recipe that exists at this point, though the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin.Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it's unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying.Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it's possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese.Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation

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