Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

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



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


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?


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


Filed under Autumn, Thanksgiving

A Top Chef Style Thanksgiving Feast

And where else would Top Chef prep that but in …

sunset over village

Beautiful downtown Plimoth – the 1627 English Village at Plimoth Plantation

click and watch the preview—–

A Top Chef Style Thanksgiving Feast


and when you’re watching Wednesday night, IF you happen to see the Pilgrim Sarah Jenney…..

Sarah Jenney looks a lot like me this year....

Sarah Jenney looks a lot like me this year….






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Filed under Autumn, Thanksgiving

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

fawkes cartoon

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot….GunpowderPlot


That’s Guy, right in the center of things

In 1605, Guy Fawkes (the one who’s name became attached to the event) and others were found with gunpowder in the House of Parliament and seemed to be trying to blow up King and Parliament. This lead to

The Observance of 5th November Act 1605 (3 Ja. I, c. 1,) also known as the “Thanksgiving Act

The Bill was drafted and introduced on 23 January 1605/06 by Edward Montagu. It called for a public, annual thanksgiving for the failure of the Plot.

That ‘s right – November 5th was a Thanksgiving Day in 1606, which is years before 1621…. 1621 isn’t quite as First as it sometimes thinks it is. Just sayin’.

Guy Fawkes got a whole new life in the movies.


and thus begins a new life for the Guy – as the Mask

The Guy Fawkes Mask  - this one as origami

The Guy Fawkes Mask – this one as origami

Since bonfires are the constant celebration of this day of Thanksgiving

Bonfire in England for 5th of November

Bonfire in England for 5th of November

the foods most associated with this holiday are bonfire toffee plot toffeeand jacket potatoes.

Jacket potatoes?

Mr Potato Head as Indiana Jones with a JACKET

Mr Potato Head as Indiana Jones with a JACKET

But really, Jacket Potatoes are baked (the bonfire connection) with the skins still on….

These three lovely meals in a spud were feature in the New York Times recently

These three lovely meals in a spud were feature in the New York Times recently

The link to the story and the recipes are here: Jacket potatoes 

Don’t forget!

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O Canada! Happy First Thanksgiving

CTday columbus

Today is Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.

Not only are they first in our current calendar, what with October being before November, but they are also first in when they trace their holiday roots.

Yes, they harken their first Thanksgiving back to 1576 ( Martin Frobisher at Baffin Island) and/ or 1606 (Samuel Champlain and the Order of Good Cheer). Sorry, Berkeley Plantation – both of these dates are before 1619. Still not the first.

A rendition of the Order of Good Cheer

A rendition of the Order of Good Cheer

And the Canadians also invented American football…

CTday cfootball

The double double is a Tim Horton’s reference. Tim Horton’s who will now be coming to the US.

Double double the coffee, Double Double the book.

Double double the coffee, Double Double the book.


CTday keep calm

and what’s a holiday without a little music?


“Thanksgiving National Anthem (O Thanksgiving),” a parody of “Canadian National Anthem (O Canada)” by National Anthems


Filed under Holiday, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Throwback Thursdays

I’ve been studying Thanksgiving professionally since 1980.

Semi-professionally since the Kennedy administration. My first area of expertise was the relish tray, specifically black olives,

Your Basic Black - olive, that is.

Your Basic Black – olive, that is.

the canned pitted ones that fit over your fingertips so you can wiggle them at your brothers.

This is not me, and yet it was me....olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty

This is not me, and yet it was me….olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty


My brothers were never the least bit squeamish, but they’ve always kept a respectable distance from black olives.

That first year of professional study was a fluke – a 10 week position as a Pilgrim at Plimoth Plantation.

I wasn’t going to make a CAREER out of it, and end up in Food Network Magazine’s Odd Job  or anything

How about a throwback to Thanksgiving? I hereby that Throwback Thurdays will be Thanksgiving themed here at Foodways Pilgrim

Here I am on How2heroes about the history of ‘the first thanksgiving’

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Filed under Perception ways, Thanksgiving