Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. The first winter was very hard for them. But next fall, they got a good harvest of the seeds they planted. They decided to celebrate with a big dinner, including Indians who had helped them survive the first year.
Origins of Thanksgiving Day
The men went hunting to get meat for dinner. It is not known for sure if turkeys were part of the meal, as they used the term “turkey” for any kind of wild bird. Another kind of food we usually have for Thanksgiving Day is the pumpkin pie. There are very few chances that this food was part of the menu of the first Thanksgiving celebration. Flour reserves had been used, so there was no bread or pastries of any kind. There were enough pumpkins, for they grew in the field. There was also no milk, cider, potatoes, or butter. There were no cows to produce milk and newfound potatoes, many still believed were poisonous. For these reasons, dinner included fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, corn, clams, venison and plums.
In the past, Thanksgiving Day was not celebrated every year. Even it was not until June 1676 that another Day of Thanksgiving was held. Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed by President Lincoln in 1863, to be held the last Thursday of November. In 1941 Thanksgiving Day was officially declared by the United States Congress a holiday, to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
What food did people eat on the first celebrations of Thanksgiving Day?
Corn cultivation was very important for the Pilgrims and the indigenous natives. It was the main course and consumed in every single food. There were many varieties of corn – white, blue, yellow and red.
Some amount of corn was dried to preserve it and keep it as food for the winter months. Corn flour could be used to make cornbread, corn pudding, corn syrup, or could be mixed with beans to make succotash (cooking whole grain maize)
The Pilgrims did not know the corn before meeting the Indians. The Indians gave the Pilgrims corn seeds and taught them how to grow corn. Currently they cultivate more hectares of corn than any other grain.
Recipes for Thanksgiving Day using corn
We all eat corn prepared in many different ways, especially for Thanksgiving Day. The following is a recipe using corn flour and corn.
Easy Corn Casserole
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 can of 8 3/4 ounces of corn kernels
- 1 can of corn 8 3/4 ounces cream
- 1 package of 8 1/2 ounces of mix pancitos (muffins) of corn
- 8 ounces of regular sour cream or low-fat
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Empty them into a mold for 8-inch square baking, spray with oil. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until cooked.
Popcorn balls marshmallow (angels)
- 12 cups of popcorn
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 bag (10 ounces) of angels (marshmallows)
- Put popcorn (popcorn) in a bowl or pan and set aside. Heat in the oven at low heat butter and marshmallows in a thick sauce pan.
- Turn the heat to low. Stir constantly until mixture (butter and marshmallows) melts and observe very thin. Now, put the melted marshmallows over popcorn and mix gently until the popcorn are well coated. You can make figures. (Put some butter on your hands so that the mixture does not stick to your hands.)