Nov. 30th, 2013

alfreda89: (Winter_Mette's Glogg)
Although the earliest presidents did declare days of Thanksgiving and gratitude, Thanksgiving as we now it is more recent. At the urging of Sarah Josepha Hale, Abraham Lincoln declared a day of Thanksgiving halfway through the Civil War, and it has reoccurred as a theme ever since, finally being named into law (first the fourth Thursday, then the last Thursday). But what did they eat at those early Thanksgivings?

Some things on the menu don't even exist anymore, like Passenger Pigeon. Venison would have been there, and corn--real corn, not "corn" in the European sense covering all commonly used grains. (Though we probably would not recognize the varies of corn present. They would have been flint corn, multicolored and tasting quite different.) Wildfowl, too. Stuffing was probably diced onions, herbs, and shelled chestnuts. Being close to the shores, the first European settlers undoubtedly ate shellfish.

Beans, squashes, root veggies--the Wampanoag ate well, and taught the colonists a lot. I'm guessing that Allie would have had a mixture of old and new on her family's table, the remnants of those great early foods as well as the precious addition of wheat, sugar, dried berries, and so on. No shellfish in her part of the country, though. Too much travel time even from Lake Michigan, and at the time of Kindred Rites, she didn't know about the advantage practitioners had in this regard.

But the foods we often think of as staples at Thanksgiving are mostly from the mid-nineteenth century. Read on.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
These should exist.

Maggie Stiefvater provides those messages we keep expecting to crop up at crucial points...

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