The first Thanksgiving meal was not as it is today. There was neither turkey, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes nor pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving dinner has evolved!
The date of the event questionable. By a year. Some say 1621, the first year the Pilgrims were on Plymouth soil. Others say 1622, one year later.
The Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians joined together for the party. Not one meal. Actually, a three day feast.
Turkeys were plentiful in the area. Not generally eaten by the Pilgrims. A “fowling party” was sent out to capture the birds to be consumed. Birds regularly eaten by the Pilgrims. Ducks, geese and swans.
Bread stuffing. No way. Herbs, onions or nuts added to the bird for extra flavor purposes.
There was meat. The Indians contributed five deer.
Cranberries were plentiful. Still fifty years away from being used for eating purposes. Sauces or relishes with the meal consisted of sugar which remained from the long Mayflower voyage. The sugar in minimal supply, however.
Fifty years later people started boiling cranberries with sugar. The cranberry sauce first being used as an accompaniment to meats.
Mussels part of the meal. Mussels plentiful in the area. Clung to rocks along the sea shore.
No potatoes. Neither white nor sweet.
Potatoes originally from South America. The Spaniards brought them to Spain. Potatoes were still foreign to England at the time the Mayflower left.
No pumpkin pie. Pumpkins plentiful. Butter and wheat flour required for the crust not available. Nor were there any ovens for baking.
It is possible some pumpkins were hollowed out. Then filled with milk, honey and spices. Following which the gourds were roasted whole in hot ashes.
So much for the first Thanksgiving dinner. Habit of course, but I prefer turkey, cranberries, potatoes, and stuffing buried in gravy. Dessert, pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving, not a day to diet!
More from my blog/Facebook friend Jim Brown who lives on the island of Crete in Greece. Following is a further part of his detailed e-mail response to my inquiry as to why Obama was protested during his recent visit.
Some history required.
The U.S. and Greece were allies during World War II. The Greeks fought shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. in Korea. Greece was a part of NATO.
A military dictatorship took control of Greece in 1967. Unpopular. Remained in power, however. The junta was still in power in November 1973.
Athens Polytechnic is an Athens based university. On November 14, the students went on strike against the military dictatorship. By the next day, November 15, the strike had turned into a revolt.
The students occupied the Polytechnic campus during those days. The demonstrations increased in intensity from the 15th to the 17th.
The military government finally had it. They sent the tanks in on November 17. It was the end of the revolution. Many students died.
The Greeks take the events of those November days seriously. The 17th is a national holiday. There is a memorial stone on the campus. It contains the names of Polytechnic students who fought and were killed during the Greek resistance to Germany during World War II. The monument also contains the names of the students killed on November 17.
A commemoration event takes place each year on campus. The day the students decided to revolt. Two days after the commemoration event, demonstrators march the streets to the United States Embassy.
Why the U.S. Embassy?
Greeks have memories like elephants. They never forget. To this day, the Greeks are upset the U.S. did not support them in the November 1973 uprising. We were allies and friends at the time.
The U.S. and Russia were engaged in the Cold War. The U.S. thought it advantageous to support the military junta against the students. The U.S. felt it was the right move for them re the Cold War.
Once the U.S. broke faith with the Greeks, other reasons developed.
The U.S. was a significant part of NATO. NATO ended the Yugoslavia War in 1999 by bombing Serbia. Serbia was Greece’s orthodox ally.
The U.S. supports the European Union. The Union has been killing Greece with austerity programs. Another reason to be anti-U.S.
The U.S. supports the International Monetary Fund. The Greeks consider the Fund anti-Greece.
The annual parade on November 17 is to pay tribute to the students who died and secondarily, to express Greece’s continued displeasure with the U.S.’s position.
The last President to visit Greece prior to Obama’s visit was Bill Clinton. He formally apologized to the Greeks. He openly admitted the U.S. allowed its interests in prosecuting the Cold War to prevail over its obligation to support democracy.
Now comes Obama’s visit. On November 15. Not the 17th when the parade/demonstration was scheduled. Why waste a parade/demonstration? The event was moved up two days to coincide with Obama’s arrival.
Eight thousand protested. Anarchists and leftists.
The Greeks consider the U.S. a friend. In spite of the reasons given why not. Obama should not have been included in the demonstration. However, Greeks are Greeks. Such is their nature.
Recognize also that those protesting are only a portion of the Greek population.
Again, I must skip a day of Key West history based on a Rotary history. The blog today, though interesting,
already too long. Tomorrow, the Key West Rotary World War II and the immediate years following.
There will be more from Jim Brown, also.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving! Be grateful for whatever you have. Bountiful or limited.