Thanksgiving started in the fall of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. There have been some misconceptions on what they served on that first Thanksgiving, so I decided to check it out.
These are the foods that may have been on the menu: Seafood, wild turkey, goose, duck, venison, wheat flour, Indian corn, pumpkin, peas, beans, plums and grapes.
These are the foods that were not on the menu: Ham (no evidence that they butchered their pigs), sweet potatoes/potatoes (they were uncommon), corn on the cob (corn was kept dried), cranberry sauce (no sugar), pumpkin pie (again, no sugar), milk (no cows were onboard the Mayflower).
I personally have had several failures cooking on Thanksgiving. My biggest failure was my first Thanksgiving after we married. We were stationed in New Mexico. My in-laws, plus an aunt and uncle decided to visit.
I wanted this to be a picture perfect meal. I laid everything out on the beautifully decorated table. We sat down, said grace and we were ready. After passing all the food around someone asked, where is the giblet gravy? Giblet gravy, hmm? How do you prepare that? Someone answered, “The ingredients are usually in the cavity of the turkey in a bag.”
I scooped up the turkey, ran to the kitchen, wrestled this bird down and there it was the charred bag. I promptly threw the turkey out the door with a quarterback move. I regained my composure went into the dining room and said, “Let’s go out to eat.”
I cried all night.
My second failure was last year, when we decided to buy everything already pre-cooked from a local restaurant. Sounded good to me. It serves 12 so I invited 10 guests. I unwrapped the food to reheat and lo and behold, the turkey was the size of a small pigeon.
They should have advertized dressing and vegetables to serve 12, turkey for one. I quickly ran to the local grocery store deli and augmented my pigeon with three pounds of sliced deli turkey. I didn’t cry all night this time. I guess I have gotten as tough as some of the other turkeys I have cooked.
This year I am listening to my Grandmother’s words of wisdom: “Keep it simple for Thanksgiving. Just be thankful for what you have.”
A Happy Thanksgiving to all and please remember to share.
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