Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621. The location was somewhere in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The first Thanksgiving was held sometime between September and November. The exact date is unknown. It was a harvest celebration. It was not repeated every year, and there were other thanksgiving feasts in some parts of other colonies. But the one by the Plymouth Colony is the one we think of. Some British settlers near Virginia are said to have given thanks for a successful voyage in 1619. Another one in 1623 was also celebrated after some hard times. They did not just last one afternoon. They normally lasted about three days!
Food at the First Thanksgiving
What did the Pilgrims eat?
For meat, poultry and fish, they may have had eel, clams, turkey, duck, goose, and partridge. Nobody really knows exactly what they served. Some even think they had lobster and swan! For fruits and vegetables, probably on the tables were corn, acorns, carrots, pumpkins, beans, peas, and grapes. The first Thanksgiving may have also had a few walnuts and chestnuts. Perhaps an onion tossed in for flavor. Again, we are only guessing.
Who was at the First Thanksgiving?
William Bradford, the governor, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The Plymouth colonists shared an autumn celebration with the local Wampanoag Indians. It was traditional for the settlers to have celebrated some sort of harvest each autumn. Because it is generally believed that the local Indians helped the Pilgrims out, they were naturally involved and invited to such a feast. That and the native Americans probably contributed quite a bit to the menu. Or at least the success of the Pilgrims harvest.
How to eat like the First Thanksgiving
The following are foods you can choose from that the Pilgrims ate.
The foods listed below are pretty much known due to writings that have survived about the first settlers that came on the Mayflower. Corn to them probably was what we would call Indian corn. There is also a debate as to whether they had goats on the Mayflower. This would have made cheese and milk products a possibility. But since this is unsure, it is not listed.
They did not use forks and probably ate mostly with their hands. They did not dress up in those campy black and white outfits. Their clothes were probably in earth tones like brown and beige.Forget the fancy hats, belt buckles, and shoe buckles.
Thanksgiving Food Tid Bits
There were no pies of any kind. Even pumpkin. The Pilgrims did not have everything needed to bake pies. The meats may have been dried, as that was the way of keeping meat. There was no big, fat turkey served. Wild turkeys, duck, and other fowl would have been scrawny to todays standards. In fact, meat made up most of their meals. Fruits and vegetables were not that common and plentiful. No big plates of steaming mashed potatoes and buttered sweet potatoes. Thay had no potatoes. As for sweets, if they had sweets it was sweetened and spiced meat, not pies.
Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other state.
Cranberries are only native to North America.
Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving in November?
The history of the holiday in the United States.
Many times during the Revolutionary War, there were suggestions of a day of thanksgiving. General George Washington had even observed it. When George Washington became president, he declared that November 26, 1789 was to a day of thanksgiving and prayer.
New York in 1821 was the first state to adopt such a custom as thanksgiving. Many other states followed. Abraham Lincoln in 1863 designated the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving. It is now tradition for every president every November to make an official proclamation of thanksgiving.
It was President Franklin Roosevelt who officially offered it as the 4th Thursday in November. This measure was approved by Congress in 1941. The rest, as they say, is history.