What’s LeftNov 25th, 2009 | By admin | Category: Opinion
Thanksgiving. It’s the holiday that you might not have cared much about when you were a kid - no presents, no fireworks, just a poor turkey that had to give up it’s life for a meal with people that you probably don’t see but once or twice a year. But, as you get older, Thanksgiving becomes one of those holidays that you like more each year. First, you now enjoy seeing those people (relatives and friends) that you don’t get to see more than once or twice a year. Second, you don’t have to go out and buy fireworks and worry about anyone getting hurt. Third, you don’t have to go out and shop for presents - you just show up and eat. OK - maybe you bring some food. But it is a holiday totally dedicated to eating and being thankful for your blessings. According to the web site History.com, “Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621. More than 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941.”
“Sarah Josepha Hale, the enormously influential magazine editor and author who waged a tireless campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in the mid-19th century, was also the author of the classic nursery rhyme ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’”
“In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Thanksgiving stamp. Designed by the artist Margaret Cusack in a style resembling traditional folk-art needlework, it depicted a cornucopia overflowing with fruits and vegetables, under the phrase ‘We Give Thanks.’”
The History.com web site also proposed what the first Thanksgiving menu might have been. Here it is:
The Pilgrims’ Menu
Foods 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.
This information comes from Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation, Kathleen Curtin.
Wonder when the first Macy’s Parade was held? It was originally known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade - to mark the launch of the Christmas shopping season. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York in 1924. It was put together by Macy’s employees and had animals from the Central Park Zoo.
Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television, according to the History.com web site.
So, armed with some information about Thanksgiving, I hope you have your best one yet!
Go to your Happy Place!
See you next week!