Wednesday, November 26, 2003

the first thanksgiving?

**The folklore taught in schools has it that the Pilgrims originated the Thanksgiving festival and that they provided the Native Americans with a feast they had never seen. In fact, the opposite is true. In November 1621, one year after the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, the Pilgrims celebrated harvest festival jointly with the Native Americans-a harvest festival that the native inhabitants had been celebrating for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Most of the food at this festival was supplied by Native Americans. It was a meal that the Pilgrims had never witnessed, consisting of native American foodstuffs. The main meal was a sort of corn meal mush along with nuts and fruits such as gooseberries, strawberries, plums, cherries, cranberries and a groundnut known as the bogg bean. Popcorn and popcorn balls made by the Indians with maple syrup were served as a sweet. There was a variety of breadstuffs such as cornpone, ashcakes, and hoe cakes, made by Native Americans from their own recipes. It is also possible that other native foods such as pumpkin and squash were served. In his Food Encyclopedia, James Trager tells us that there is a live possibility that turkey wasn't even served. It's true that the Indians provided some deer meat, and game birds, but they were side dishes and not the focus of the meal. So the 1620 Thanksgiving dinner proper in 1620 was probably a totally vegetarian one, because the Pilgrims were unable to find animal flesh. The second Thanksgiving in 1621 was also catered by the Native Americans. Not only was it probably turkeyless, but it was mainly vegetarian. Doesn't it make more sense, therefore, that instead of celebrating Thanksgiving as an orgy of Turkey slaughter, Americans should celebrate a vegetarian harvest festival? **
(from this great page)

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