As we gather around our tables this year, the traditional Thanksgiving feast we are used to, includes that of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green been casserole, and the list goes on. (who else is hungry now?) During the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated at the Plymouth Colony in 1621 by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag, the history of the Thanksgiving turkey began. During this time, there were slimmer pickings in terms of what was passed around the table. Traditionally, you would find, corn, grains, wildfowl including an assortment of birds, and shellfish.
Among all the changes throughout the centuries, whether it be adding cranberry or Grandma’s delicious Pecan pie, the one Thanksgiving food that has remained constant is, you guessed it, the turkey! Even though in the 17th century the turkey may not have been the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving feast as it is seen today, it was still enjoyed by many.
Interesting enough, the preparation of the turkey, then, and now, still have a number of similarities. In 1621, the pilgrims would stuff their turkeys with onions and herbs, two ingredients that can still be found today. The method of cooking turkeys was to either boil them first and then roast them, or vice versa. They believed the more you roasted them beforehand, the more caramelization would occur to make them darker. (sound familiar?).
Enjoy those Turkey’s this year, my fellow Frisconians. As you pass the bird around, just think of where it all began. And most of all, lets all remember what this holiday is all about.
Don’t forget to save room for Grandma’s Pecan pie.