During September 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England to set sail to the New World. When they arrived after a long, uncomfortable voyage, the Pilgrims established Plymouth Colony. During their first winter, most of the Pilgrim’s remained on board the ship where they suffered from the cold and disease. Only half of the 102 passengers lived to see the first spring in New England. In March, the Native Americans greeted the Pilgrims by showing them how to hunt, gather food, and cultivate the land. In November of 1621, Plymouth Colony held the first Thanksgiving in celebration of the successful corn harvest. Although it is unknown what they ate exactly, it is believed that the ‘Traditional’ meal of turkey, cranberries, mash potatoes and pumpkin pie were more than likely not on the menu. At this time, vegetables (including corn) were the highest in supply because they would have been freshly harvested. Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim, wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a fowling mission making it likely that the pilgrims had wild goose, duck, and turkey. The Native Americans of the Wampanoag Tribe, arrived to the celebration with five deer. Therefore, we can conclude the feast consisted of wild goose, duck, and/or possibly turkey, deer, and many vegetables (including pumpkin). Does this sound like your Thanksgiving meal today?
Most American households celebrate Thanksgiving by feasting on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Americans are saying “thanks” for the family and friends and the food here on the table. It IS also becoming more common to be “giving” towards others on Thanksgiving as communities hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
In rural America, we can give thanks for our bountiful harvest and give back to our fellow Americans by providing them with safe, reliable food. Together, let’s find the way to give!
Handwerk, Brian. (2010, Nov 4) The National Geographic Online. “Thanksgiving 2010 Myths and Facts”. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/11/101124-thanksgiving-2010-dinner-recipes-pilgrims-day-parade-history-facts/
A&E Television Networks, LLC. HISTORY.com. “Thanksgiving”. http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving
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