Tag Archives: Jane G Austin

Popcorn, Pilgrims….

Myth and Magic

Once upon a time, a long time ago…

John Howland pondering popcorn at the first Thanksgiving - from a scene from a 19th century novel

John Howland pondering popcorn at the first Thanksgiving …MYTH

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY OF NEW ENGLAND.

The meal was a rude one looked upon with the dainty eyes and languid

appetites of to-day, but to those sturdy and heroic men and women it was

a veritable feast, and at its close Quadequina with an amiable smile

nodded to one of his attendants, who produced and poured upon the table

something like a bushel of popped corn,–a dainty hitherto unseen and

unknown by most of the Pilgrims.

All tasted, and John Howland hastily gathering up a portion upon a

wooden plate carried it to the Common house for the delectation of the

women, that is to say, for Elizabeth Tilley, whose firm young teeth

craunched it with much gusto.

Breakfast over, with a grace after meat that amounted to another

service,…..

STANDISH OF STANDISH : A Story of the Pilgrims By JANE G. AUSTIN Author of “A Nameless Nobleman,” “The Desmond Hundred,” “Mrs. BeauchampBrown,” “Nantucket Scraps,” “Moon Folk,” Etc., Etc.Boston and New York Houghton, Mifflin and Company The Riverside Press,Cambridge 1892 Copyright, 1889,by Jane G. Austin.All rights reserved

But the problem with myth, is that it GROWS….

… and then other myths grow from there.

Popcorn is American. Nobody but the Indians ever had popcorn, til after the Pilgrim Fathers came to America. On the first Thanksgiving Day, the Indians were invited to dinner, and they came, and they poured out on the table a big bagful of popcorn. The Pilgrim Fathers didn’t know what it was. The Pilgrim Mothers didn’t know, either. The Indians had popped it, but it probably wasn’t very good. Probably they didn’t butter it or salt it, and it would be cold and tough after they had carried it around in a bag of skins.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls WIlder, p. 32.

Farmer Boy coverAnd who doesn’t want to believe Half-Pint?

laura6

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls in the TV show ‘Little House on the Prairie’

So although popcorn is a variety of corn that was not grown in New England before the nineteenth century, and therefore popcorn could NOT have been part of the first Thanksgiving, popcorn has a whole lotta cool in its past….even in the Little House in the Prairie series….like this:

You can fill a glass full to the brim with milk, and fill another glass of the same size brim full of popcorn, and then you can put all the popcorn kernel by kernel into the milk, and the milk will not run over. You cannot do this with bread. Popcorn and milk are the only two things that will go into the same place.

Farmer Boy, Chapter 3

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Filed under Autumn, Thanksgiving

Craft Corn

I admit, when I saw the headline in the Dining Section of last Wednesday’s New York Times, I thought it was about playing with your food….christmas-crafts-garland_612

but not quite. Sometimes, you have to read the whole headline.

The actual headline: The Rise of Craft Popcorn. And it’s a very interesting story, about small farmers bringing back specialty popcorns, which now must be craft, no doubt because the term artisan has been so overused as to be meaningless.

For one thing, I learned that popcorn

Popcorn kernels

Popcorn kernels -Zea mays everta

is more closely related to flint corn then I thought before…

flint corn

Flint corn or Zea mays indurata – popcorn may actually be a variety of flint corn

 

Which is just in time for Pilgrim and popcorn stories. And Thanksgiving and Turkey stories.

They’re just not true – whether or not flint corn can beget popcorn or not – because no one in the 17th (or 18th) century mentions them. Most of them began in the 19th century which is 200 years too late to be timely, but they’re interesting.

John Howland pondering popcorn at the first Thanksgiving - from a scene from a 19th century novel

John Howland pondering popcorn at the first Thanksgiving – from a scene from a 19th century novel Standish of Standish

Jane Goodwin Austin’s Standish of Standish has this scenes – in 1889.

Jane Goodwin Austin, not to be confused with Jane Austen, the Pride and Prejudice author. Please.

Jane Goodwin Austin, not to be confused with Jane Austen, the Pride and Prejudice author. Please.

Turkey, popcorn and Thanksgiving. They way it never happened.

PaperBagTurkey3

Paperbag turkey with popcorn

directions to paperbag turkey here

The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven 

by Jack Prelutsky

The turkey shot out of the oven

and rocketed into the air,

it knocked every plate off the table

and partly demolished a chair.

It ricocheted into a corner

and burst with a deafening boom,

then splattered all over the kitchen,

completely obscuring the room.

It stuck to the walls and the windows,

it totally coated the floor,

there was turkey attached to the ceiling,

where there’d never been turkey before.

It blanketed every appliance,

it smeared every saucer and bowl,

there wasn’t a way i could stop it,

that turkey was out of control.

I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,

and though with chagrin as I mopped,

that I’d never again stuff a turkey

with popcorn that hadn’t been popped.

 

Something BIG Has Been Here written by Jack Prelutsky and illus. by James Stevenson, 1990.

You can’t pop popcorn inside a turkey. Use a covered pan for the best results.

and that doesn’t even begin to cover johnnycakes…..

Johnnycakes from the Kenyon Mills Facebook page - they way they like 'em in Rhode Island

Johnnycakes from the Kenyon Mills Facebook page – they way they like ’em in Rhode Island

and then there’s Indian Pudding, and Brown Bread and sampe and corn bread and …….it’s all grist for the mill…2014_SampeFest_Flyer

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Filed under Autumn, Perception ways, Thanksgiving, The 17th century