An Authentic Thanksgiving Feast

An Authentic Thanksgiving Feast

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  1. Every year, Americans and immigrants awaiting citizenship go out of their way to create an “authentic” Thanksgiving Day feast. We put money aside, we shop for weeks to find just the right ingredients and side dishes, and spend the big Thursday from morning until mid-afternoon slaving in the kitchen, fretting over every detail, hoping everything will turn out perfectly and, in many cases, screaming at our kids who get in the way when they only want to help because—let’s face it—preparing the “perfect” feast is a stressful pain in the gluteus.


    Did the pilgrims stress out over the first Thanksgiving feast? I think they were so grateful to be alive still (thanks to plenty of help from the local Indians) that they were as mellow as stereotypical surfers or hippies.


     As for what the pilgrims ate, that’s open to interpretation. Different accounts list widely different foods, including a few that if you were to include them in your Thanksgiving menu, you would have to first do a considerable amount of hunting, and then evade fish and game wardens, for some of these (such as eagles, cranes and swans) are protected species; and good luck finding a recipe for crane, swan or eagle in the Joy of Cooking.

     The pilgrims ate wild turkeys; this we know for a fact, though we don’t know that they ate them on Thanksgiving Day. Besides, wild turkeys are nothing like those we buy in the supermarket. You would be hard pressed to feed even a family of three with a single wild turkey. We know they did not eat cranberry sauce, stuffing, much in the way of vegetables, mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie. The only food item actually documented from the feast was venison. So if you want to have a truly authentic Thanksgiving feast, buy a rifle, get yourself a hunting license, drive hundreds of miles to an approved deer hunting area and blow away Bambi.


     The trick to an excellent Thanksgiving feast is not a prefabricated menu. All that is required is one hell of a lot of food—enough to leave everyone logy for days, and it doesn’t matter what kind of food as long as it’s tasty and plentiful—good company (preferably family, but dear friends are the next best thing) and gratitude to God, Fate, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, the universe, Mother Nature, Chance or whatever higher power you believe in, for gratitude is what it’s all about, not what we eat.

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