Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Want a Traditional Thanksgiving Feast?

  from Wired.com

This Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will sit down to a traditional meal in celebration of all that the New World has given us.

In memory of our ancestors — or the ancestors of the people who bought our ancestors, or the ancestors of the people who decided our ancestors didn't really deserve land if they weren't going to properly exploit it, or the ancestors of the people who resented our ancestors for coming over here and taking all the jobs they didn't want — we'll sit down to a table loaded with the same traditional foods they had at the first Thanksgiving.


First, Mother will bring out the eels and cod. Who doesn't have fond memories of seeing a huge plate of
grilled eels and cod set down on the dinner table? Make sure Grandpa gets the eyes! Of course, nobody would expect to eat just one type of seafood on Thanksgiving. Mussels and clams are in abundance, although some poor families make do with lobster.

Naturally, the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving meal is the birds. Turkey is a popular choice, but to many people Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without at least a couple roasted ducks and a swan or two.


The kids would just as soon eat nothing but birds and shellfish, and maybe a few wild berries, but the grown-ups are there to make sure they eat their vegetables. No dessert until you eat your dried corn,
beetroot and beans.

Yeah, OK, swan and eel are pretty much off the Thanksgiving menu these days. Instead we eat various traditional foods that weren't at what's widely considered the ur-Thanksgiving, at least in the United States.

Candied yams — actually sweet potatoes, but "yam" is a fun word — wouldn't be invented for almost 200 years. If anyone thought to mash potatoes with butter and milk before the 1700s, they kept it to themselves. And as for green beans with fried onions and condensed cream of mushroom soup … I'll let you
ponder that one.


from Wikipedia:
The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 13 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans   The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison, berries and fruit, vegetables  (peas, pumpkin, beetroot  and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sisters: beans, dried Indian maize  or corn, and squash.

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