November is here and that means it is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.
I enjoy cooking so I am right in my element. I start planning my shopping list by the first weekend of November. My menu really doesn’t change: turkey, a white and sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce (homemade), and creamed onions (the recipe I use is from Yankee magazine), gravy, stuffing (not baked in the bird), carrots, cheese, and of course pumpkin pie! I start the cooking on Wednesday with the pie, stuffing, potato casserole, and carrots as the last three dishes can be heated in the microwave. Then on Thanksgiving morning the turkey goes in the oven, and next I begin cooking the cranberry sauce and creamed onions. The main meal is eaten in the afternoon leaving time to nibble on leftovers during the many football games on television. Now I have visions of turkey, cranberries, and pilgrims dancing in my head — do you?
Here are some fun facts I thought I would share about Thanksgiving:
In 1789 George Washington announced that we should set aside a few days to be thankful that the War of Independence was won and the Declaration of Independence was accepted. It wasn’t until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln set a specific date for Thanksgiving in November. *
In 1621 the Pilgrims celebrated a thanksgiving with the Wampanoag Indians after a successful harvest. Turkey was probably on the menu, but not cranberry sauce. Historians say that the sugar brought to the new world was nearly gone by 1621. Plus people didn’t start boiling the tart red berry until nearly half a century later. Celebrants did not enjoy a piece of pie after dinner. It seems that no one had the ingredients to make a pie crust, and cooks did not have an oven to bake in! **
The traditional black and white clothes that we think pilgrims wore all the time were worn for special occasions. Pilgrims women dressed in colors of red, green, blue, violet, and gray, while men’s color choices included white, beige, black, green and brown.***
Lastly the tradition of pardoning a turkey was thought to have originated with President Lincoln. It seems the president pardoned his son Tad’s turkey.****
Now that you know some fun facts you are welcome to share them at your Thanksgiving gathering.
Don’t forget to stop by the library for inspiration for planning your own Thanksgiving meal. You can browse books and magazines with recipe, craft, and decorating ideas for adults and children or check out some of the following Thanksgiving themed cookbooks:
Autumn Gatherings: Casual Food to Enjoy with Family and Friends by Rick Rodgers
The Best of Thanksgiving Recipes and Inspiration for a Festive Holiday Meal by Williams Sonoma
Thanksgiving by Michael McLaughlin
Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton
You’re So Invited by Cheryl Najafi that has a chapter on planning an elegant Thanksgiving potluck