A little bit of research of the history of Thanksgiving tells us that that turkey was not the main entrée and in fact, it may not even have been on the menu! They probably had fowl but most likely would have been goose, along with venison supplied by the Native Americans and even, seafood. Yes… seafood for Thanksgiving? Veggies were plentiful but the Indian corn would have been crushed into cornmeal for corn cakes or pounded into a thick corn porridge or hominy. Fruits and berries likely would have been part of the feast although the cranberries would be eaten whole rather than made into a sauce. One of the biggest surprises missing from the table would be potatoes; neither white nor sweet would have been part of the Thanksgiving Day feast. Instead of the pumpkin being made into a pie, it would have been hollowed out, then filled with milk, honey and spices to make custard, and then roasted whole in hot ashes. Thanksgiving wasn’t just a day but a three day long event and the chances of Native Americans and Pilgrims sitting around a table were slim as the homes were not large enough, so likely the first harvest celebration was more in a “cook out style” outdoors. While white man attributes Thanksgiving as a happy occasion between Native Americans and their ancestors, many Native Americans don’t share the same sentiment because of the broken treaty between the two which led to the injustices and deaths of many of their people.
Actually, Thanksgiving like so many other traditional holidays has become a shadow of the original event. It has become another holiday for man to dress up in costume for game day, paint their faces, eat and be merry. It comes with its own set of controversies and those who oppose its celebration. Over the years, much of the original meaning as well as the original foods have been replaced with what we now consider our traditional Thanksgiving Day celebration. The pilgrims didn’t partake in a parade and the Native Americans didn’t play football, all of which are very much a part of our celebration today. In reality, our traditional Thanksgiving is a far cry from the first Thanksgiving Day yet despite it all, I pray we gather together spending precious time with our families, bringing in a friend or two enjoying one another’s company, sharing a good hearty meal and most importantly, never forgetting to give thanks to God for our blessings.
©By S. A.Tower, 2013