The First Thanksgiving Menu
As my turkey sits thawing in the refrigerator and I'm planning my Thanksgiving menu, I decided to do a search of what the very first celebrants of the holiday served at their table. They were, of course, the Pilgrims who invited the Wampanoag Indians to join them.
After reading several great articles, I found out that they feasted upon meat and lots of it. They, most certainly, couldn't take a trip to the local grocery store, so they had to hunt for their main courses of deer, pheasant, and even carrier pigeons. There were, more than likely, wild turkeys, but the "fowling mission" the men went on to acquire the meat for the meal resulted in many different birds.
In addition to the meat, seafood was plentiful. Lobster, clams, and other shellfish, as well as any fish they could smoke was probably laid out for consumption, too. Different nuts were readily available, and many of the sites I read offered evidence that these were used to stuff the meat or as side dishes.
Potatoes, neither white nor sweet, had made it to the area yet, so there was more than likely no potato side dish. It's a sure bet there wasn't any of that delicious green bean casserole we all devour today. Corn was a staple of their diet, but it was mashed and made into a porridge of sorts.
Yes, pumpkin, squash, cranberries and some other fruits and vegetables most certainly were available. However, with the lack of wheat or sugar, there was no bread or pies or desserts. That tidbit of information very nearly broke my heart!
I must say that I'm glad we have evolved. I'm happy our tables offer more variety. I send out a huge "thank you" to the wheat and sugarcane farmers and the producers of such products. I'm most certainly appreciative of the local grocers, as well.