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Pilgrims and Indians

I have always had my suspicions about the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. There is no record of what was on the menu, only a few words by Governor William Bradford about the preparations for the feast:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week.

Were potatoes served at the first Thanksgiving? Not likely, as potatoes were a South American tuber originating either in Peru or Chiloe Island in Chile. And it is highly unlikely that the Spanish conquistadores made any contribution to the Pilgrims’ harvest feast. Were green beans available to the colonists in Massachusetts during November? I doubt it.

Cranberries and pumpkins might very well have been at the feast, along with various types of squash and beans.

Turkey may well have been among the fowl served, though there probably were a number of other types, not only of fowl but other types of meat as well, including, perhaps, venison.

Whatever you choose to have at your family’s gathering tomorrow, I hope you all have a good time. Just remember one thing: Do not, under any circumstances, discuss politics, even if everyone is likely to be more or less in agreement. As with religion, everyone has his own bête noire where governing is concerned.

Politics in America is one thing for which we have scant reason to be thankful.

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