In early autumn of 1621, the 53 surviving Pilgrims celebrated their successful harvest, as was the English custom. During this time,
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, Many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
From this we know that the feast went on for three days, included ninety Indians, and food was plentiful. In addition, to the venison provided by the Indians, there was enough wild fowl to supply the village for a week. The fowl would have included ducks, geese, turkeys and even swans.
Some Fun Facts About Thanksgiving:
- President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795.
- The State of New York officially made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817.
- Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with a magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827 and it was result of her efforts that in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.
- Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Whereas earlier the presidents used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving was to be held.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping longer and thus stimulate the economy of the state.
- Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that now onwards Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
This is supposedly an ancient (1600's) recipe you might enjoy. It is a wheat pudding on the order of an Indian Pudding [just sounds like a lot of work to me]:
Ingredients1 cup cracked wheat
1/8 tsp. ground mace
1 quart milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt additional brown sugar
Directions:In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the wheat. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and continue to cook for 1/2 hour, or until, soft. Drain off all the water and add the milk, cream, salt, mace, cinnamon and sugar. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed (20 to 30 minutes). In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and slowly stir 1/2 cup of the wheat mixture into the yolks. Then stir the yolk mixture into the pot, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve sprinkled with brown sugar.