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Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincolnproclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., or Thanksgiving Day, is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.

Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation.

In 1621, native indians, the Wampanoag Indian and the Plymouth colonists  shared an autumn harvest feast which is considered today as one of the first Thanksgiving. This harvest  and shared meal has become a symbol of cooperation, respect, interaction and collaboration between English colonists and Native Americans.

ods That May Have Been on the Menu

Seafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, Lobster

Wild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, Eagles

Meat: Venison, Seal

Grain: Wheat Flour, Indian Corn

Vegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots

Fruit: Plums, Grapes

Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, Acorns

Herbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, Parsnips

What Was Not on the Menu

Surprisingly, 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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