The Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving expressed gratitude for abundance. The colonists arrived in December and barely survived. Wampanoagans Samoset and Squanto taught them how to grow crops using fish as a fertilizer, how to get sap from maple trees and how to dig for clams. They invited Chief Massasoit, Squanto, Samoset and eighty AmerIndians to join them for the 1621 feast.
Pagan Thanksgiving Celebration
Fragrant aromas of toasting turkey, pumpkins and apples waft through the house, whetting appetites. Rooms are decorated with potted, dried or silk fall flowers, baskets of fruit, gourds, acorns, cornucopias and oat, wheat and barley sheaves.
Altar and table cloths, candles and serving dishes are yellow, orange, gold, brown russet and rust. Fruit baskets are passed around. Each person chooses a piece of fruit, eats it, savors the sweetness and gives thanks for the bountiful harvest. Celebrants talk of their blessings.
Pagan Thanksgiving Feast
The first banquet, according to two contemporary accounts, featured fowl, venison, fish and wheat bread. It’s possible that wild rice, rabbit, goose, shellfish, barley, beans, squash, cranberries, carrots, pumpkin and Indian puddings, popcorn, nuts and corn were on the table for the first Thanksgiving because they were widely available in 1621.
- Vegetable Appetizer: Combine 1 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 chopped parsley sprig, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf and 1 teaspoon of crumbled dried thyme. Boil for 5 minutes. Add 15 halved baby carrots, 6 quartered celery stalks, 15 halved scallions and 30 pearl onions. Simmer until tender. Chill overnight. Drain before serving.
- Cranberry Juice Punch: Combine 2 quarts cranberry juice, 1 cup of vodka and 1 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour over ice in individual glasses.
- Roasted Barbequed Turkey: Mix 1/4 cup of bourbon, 2 cup of catsup, 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of apple cider, 1 cup of brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Boil. Simmer until sauce thickens. Remove innards from turkey. Put unstuffed turkey in roasting pan. Baste with barbeque sauce. Roast at 325 degrees at approximately 15 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. Turkey is done when temperature is 180 degrees on meat thermometer placed in thigh or when juices run clear when thigh’s pierced.
- Chestnut/Wheat Bread Stuffing: Cook 1 cup of each diced onions and celery in 2 cups of chicken bouillon over medium heat until done. Add 8 cups of wheat bread cubes, 1 cup of chopped roasted chestnuts, 2 tablespoons of each dried sage parsley. Mix thoroughly. Put in casserole and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
- Four Bean Salad: Mix together 1 (16 oz) can each wax, green, rinsed lima and kidney beans, drained and 1 medium chopped onion. Blend together a 3/4 cup of salad oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 cloves minced garlic cloves. Pour over vegetables. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight.
- Baked Mini Pumpkins: Cut the tops off of 8 mini pumpkins. Scoop out insides and discard stringy parts and seeds. Combine pulp with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, margarine, 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup maple syrup and put in pumpkins’ shells. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until shells are tender and still retain their shape.
- Apple/Rhubarb/Sour Cream Pie: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add 2 cups chopped rhubarb and apples in 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust. Combine 1 egg, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of flour, whisking until smooth. Pour over fruit. Mix together 1/2 cup of flour and brown sugar. Stir in 1/4 cup of melted margarine. Sprinkle over pie filling. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes or until topping is golden. Cool before serving.