Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. It did not become a federal holiday until 1941.
The traditional Thanksgiving menu often features turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Americans may eat these foods on modern day Thanksgiving, but the first feast did not consist of these items.
The Pilgrims’ Menu:
Seafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, Lobster
Wild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, Eagles
Meat: Venison, Seal
Grain: Wheat Flour, Indian Corn
Vegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots
Fruit: Plums, Grapes
Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, Acorns
Herbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, Parsnips
What Was Not on the Menu
Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered a pig by this time, though they had brought pigs with them from England.
Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common.
Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year.
Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar at this time.
Pumpkin Pie: It’s not a recipe that exists at this point, though the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin.
Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it’s unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying.
Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it’s possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese. Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation.
Did you know that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 49 million in 2008? Wow!
Here are a couple videos for Thanksgiving activities to do with children:
Paper Bag Thanksgiving Book Project. This project is for children ages 3 and up. Children enjoy reading books…especially ones they made!
Children love singing songs…’Did You Ever See a Turkey’ is a great song for preschoolers to sing around Thanksgiving time. It features color recognition and number skills, that help in the development of young children.
You can find more crafts at http://familyfun.go.com/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-craft-decorations/
What’s YOUR FAVORITE THANKSGIVING PROJECT IDEA?? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org