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MY THOUGHTS ON THE ANNUAL THANKSGIVING FEAST
By Allen White
Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday during the civil war in an attempt to bring peace and unity to the United States. In today's diverse America Thanksgiving remains wildly celebrated and crosses religious, racial, and ethnic lines (though some Native Americans consider Thanksgiving a day of mourning) with Americans from different regions of the US and different countries around the globe bringing their own traditions to the Thanksgiving table.
Our modern definition of Thanksgiving revolves around eating Turkey, but in past centuries it was more of an occasion of religious observance. The famous 1621 Plymouth festivities live on in our memories, but the pilgrims themselves would have likely considered their sober 1623 day of prayer the first true "Thanksgiving," when Massachusetts governor John Winthrop declared a day of Thanks-Giving to celebrate colonial soldiers who had just slaughtered 700 Pequot Indian men, women, and children in what is now Mystic Connecticut.
Now...that being said, I think I, along with most people, would rather remember the 1621 version of Thanksgiving; gather with family and loved ones, thank the Lord for all of the blessings in our life, and then BRING ON THE FEASTING!
1621 Plymouth Rock
Ok, so I'm going to make this pretty simple so I can quickly get to my main topic-the Thanksgiving feast. (I will have a more detailed and accurate account on the history of Thanksgiving in a full report that I am currently working on, and will publish soon.) Now...the event that we commonly refer to as the first Thanksgiving, was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the new world in October of 1621. This feast lasted three days- and as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow-it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.
According to historical accounts the first Thanksgiving Menu included waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. (Mmmm...sounds pretty good to me) That is a lot of delicious eating, and it's my opinion, (and only my opinion-I did not do any research to gather information. This is simply my opinionated thoughts on what could have happened between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, so don't any of you history scholars or holier than thou hypocrites get your panties in a twist. It's a free country and we are all entitled to our own ideas and thoughts) that the Pilgrims probably participated in a tradition that their new Native friends practiced on a regular basis, and that was the passing of the peace pipe.
Now I don't think I have to go into great detail of what I happen to believe was just one, of the many herbs blended together and smoked out of the traditional peace pipe...and there were many different ones, and like I said, this is just an opinion, but I think we all know that Native Americans can come up with some severe mind altering; natural substances and they take the consumption of these substances very seriously and sacred, so it wouldn't surprise me none if, before this ginormous three day grub fest, the men from both groups, sat down to a peaceful passing of the peace pipe...and it's also my opinion that if it wasn't for the "peace pipe", Thanksgiving would NOT revolve around food as much as it does; just something to think about.
Modern Day Thanksgiving Feasts
The 1621 Thanksgiving feast lasted three days. Our modern day Thanksgiving celebration is only one day long, but the amount of food that we prepare for the main meal is always enough to feast upon until darn near Christmas Eve. Even though the particular menus may vary a little from family to family, one detail remains the same...we pig out!
As I sat here today watching my family prepare for our annual holiday festivities, I started putting together my take on the modern Thanksgiving feast...and this is what I concluded:
There will be baked turkeys, fried turkeys, smoked turkeys, and grilled turkeys; large hams, small hams, canned hams, and honey hams...and don't forget the grilled steaks, fried steaks, chopped steaks, stabbed steaks, hung steaks, and shot steaks. Then on the side we will have potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, garden salad, tossed salad, slapped salad, kicked salad, and anything else we can mix together and call a salad.
We'll have baked beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, green beans, jumping beans, and jelly beans; steamed broccoli, boiled spinach, cauliflower, baby carrots, asparagus, and a mass assortment of leafy greens. Plus green bean casserole, hash brown casserole, enchilada casserole and anything else with the last name casserole. And let's not forget- baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, fried potatoes, and potato chips...with...cheese dip, ranch dip, sour cream & onion dip, bean dip, honey mustard dip, and barbeque dip.
We will also have so many rolls, it'll look like we robbed the local bakery...along with enough stuffing to pack and roast a blue whale. And once we've devoured our as much as we can hold, we will wash it down with iced tea, hot tea, green tea, and flavored tea; eggnog, milk, orange juice, coke, root beer, cream soda, ginger ale, and any other carbonated drink we can think of.
Then for desert there's apple pies, cherry pies, pecan pies, pumpkin pies, meats mint pies, and cow pies...plus fudge, divinity, peanut brittle, assorted chocolates, fine mints, candy canes, rice crispy treats, moist brownies, pumpkin spice cookies, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, m&m cookies, and finally, one fruit cake and a small serving dish of cranberries...that nobody touches.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!