Saturday, December 03, 2005

An Authentic Thanksgiving

Jessica as Mary Brewster in the children's 1st Thanksgiving skit.

Alex and Ethan out by the fire at Indian Camp.

Ron and Chandler - our two Indians.

Sue teaching our younger Pilgrims how to make butter from cream - it really works!

Our Thanksgiving table with a shell of salt and a shell with five kernels of corn.

And some of the pilgrims.

We had a truly authentic Thanksgiving out at my friend Brenda's house. It was really awesome. We started out at the Indian Camp outside, which Stacey had set up with a teepee, cooking fire, bow and arrows, duck and squirrel cooking on a spit over the fire - after skinning the squirrel first. Everyone was to come either as a Pilgrim or an Indian. I spent lots of hours making our costumes and they turned out alright. Ron's Indian costume was only a 30 minute job - can you tell? He and Chandler were our only Indians though. It was a beautiful day - not too hot, not too cold. It was pretty nifty watching Stacey skin the squirrel. Some thought it was really disgusting and others thought it was pretty cool. Brenda commented that had she lived back then, she would have probably died of starvation! As for me, it was really no big deal, as my Dad gave me my 1st squirrel gun when I was only 10. (I still remember going hunting with him and being totally overwhelmed by the kick of that 410 shotgun. I never actually hit anything. But growing up in rural Mississippi, I experienced lots of hunting, fishing and eating "game". My Uncle Jack was a prolific hunter and fisherman, bringing home lots of dove, quail, deer, and lots of trout. Daddy never really got a lot of chances to go hunting. But he did pass his hunting and fishing bug on to my little brother, Michael.)
After our time out at the Indian camp, we went inside to an authentic Thanksgiving meal using authentic recipes - at least as close as we could come. We researched the recipes and each family prepared some of the dishes. Our menu was as follows:
Roast turkey (of course), venison stew, roast duck and squirrel.
Smoked oysters, pickled eel and baked mussels.
Stewed pumpkin, sweet potato pudding, hominy, boiled onions, and succotash.
Cornbread - but not like what we eat today. You boil the cornmeal first, then mix in whole
wheat flour, then dip out onto a cooking sheet like biscuits and then bake.
Regular yeast bread - homemade by Sue - ymmm.
Butter, made by shaking cream in a jar.
Surprisingly, most everything was pretty good. No one went hungry. I liked everything except the hominy. Nothing was really sweet. Back in those days, sweetener of any sort was scarce. Before we ate, we each took our 5 kernels of corn and shared what we were thankful for. In the end, the little pile of kernels represented our blessings.
After the meal, we sang some scripture songs, and then the TT's put on a play about the original Pilgrims and the signing of the Mayflower Compact. It was quite good. It was a little comical to see "Bogey", the pet dog, wandering in and out of the play. I guess they had pets back then! All in all, it was a really good time with good friends, good food and lots of laughter. It really causes you to stop and thank God for your blessings. My bowl of kernels runneth over.

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