Today is one of America’s favorite days, Thanksgiving. We eat all kinds of food, watch football games and whatever feature movie is on television in the evening. We look forward to it every year, always say we will eat less and get along with all those relatives we don’t get along with the rest of the year.
We do, tend to forget that is was a celebration for Europeans that came to America and were starving before the Native Americans came to their rescue. It was 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sat down at the same table and shared their food, culture and concerns.
Of course it didn’t last very long. Soon the Europeans would keep coming and driving the Native Americans further and further west until there was no place left to go. Part of the problem with allowing history to move forward is that we tend to forget why it moved forward. We find fault with each other instead of trying to understand something that we cannot go back and change anyway.
Maybe things happen because they were supposed to happen. Blaming anyone and trying to make them pay for something they could not change is pointless, and dangerous. We are not the same people that lived back in the days when we were thankful, truly thankful, so we have to come up with our own reason for being thankful. Maybe we should be thankful that we have moved forward, that people have changed and recognize their errors and move on from there.
However… did you know the first Thanksgiving mashed potatoes were not served? That didn’t happen until the Irish came to America and brought potatoes with them! And what is Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes!?! There’s something to be thankful for!
How to celebrate – Do your best to have a Happy Thanksgiving. Give to the food banks to make sure others have a Happy Thanksgiving. Make a list of everything you have to be thankful for.
Today we are thankful for all the blessings we have received in life. For our families, our friends, and our homes. And we should be since there are so many that do not have any of those things. They should never be taken for granted or accepted on face value. It is a time to celebrate those most important to us, and remember those less fortunate.
There is much ado about the Pilgrims and Indians in Plymouth in 1621 when the first Thanksgiving is generally believed to have taken place. That may, or may not be true, but that is not the point. It was two warring people who finally decided to become friends. It didn’t last for long though, but it started people thinking differently about their enemies.
That continued when Lincoln proclaimed the day in 1863 or 64. We were in the middle of a Civil War and yet we still had a lot to be thankful for. Now, the idea of celebrating Thanksgiving was not new, but setting it on a date when everyone would take part on the same day, was a new idea. It had been celebrated in late September or October in different states. Lincoln proclaimed the 4th Thursday of November as the date for Thanksgiving. It did not catch on everywhere for a while but it was a start.
Finally in 1941, Congress made Thanksgiving, the 4th Thursday in November, a national holiday (all that Lincoln had already proclaimed but now official). Stop and look around at some point today and look at all the things, and people, you have to be thankful for. You won’t regret it.
How to celebrate – Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends. Stop reading this blog and go eat!
Indian Pudding was very popular in early America, falling out of favor in the 1900’s due to the time required to cook it. It had been, and still is, a cold weather treat normally served in the New England states.
The original colonists brought the idea of pudding with them from Europe but the recipes there called for wheat which was not easily found in the new colonies. Learning how to grow, and use corn, the colonists used cornmeal instead of wheat and created a new dessert which they called Indian Pudding in honor of their new friends.
It is generally made with cornmeal and molasses or maple syrup, ginger, butter, eggs, raisins, and nuts. Recipes were readily available in most cook books until the 19th century. For a more traditional taste, here’s a recipe for you to try.
Or you can buy it in a can, but I’ll bet the home made version is better. Though it has become a lesser known dessert, those who did try and improve it made it creamier in the 20th century. Pending on how you make it, or buy it, you may want to add vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream to the pudding. Most recipes call for a thicker version which is a little more cake like than like a normal pudding.
Of course you can add anything you like to it. Cherries, apples, and any berries add a kick to the already sweet dessert.
How to celebrate – Try making your own Indian Pudding for the holidays, it would go great with a more traditional Thanksgiving meal! Go to New England where the dessert is making a little bit of a comeback and sample what they make. Serve it at Thanksgiving but don’t tell anybody what it is, see if they can guess.