As we sit down to enjoy the quintessential American holiday dinner, let’s stop for a minute and contemplate what we are actually celebrating.
What started off as a harvest festival in colonial times, became an annual tradition during the civil war, and was formally observed as a federal holiday for the first time during World War 2. (Coincidence, or did people needed an extra something to celebrate during wartime?)
So what did people eat here 350 years ago?
It was all local food. Sourced from 100 miles or less. Probably much less.
The main elements of today’s meal are based on fresh local food that was available back then in the new land – the wild turkey (and other fowl), the cranberries growing in coastal bogs, the pumpkins, squash, yams, and corn.
It was also about community. The tradition of a large shared meal with family, friends, and other community members began with the first harvest festivals when the pilgrims and Native Americans sat together to celebrate together the bounty of the land.
Thanksgiving has changed form and been commercialized by big financial interests over the years, but at its core, this beautiful tradition is an ode to all that is good in this world.
– The miracle of food coming forth from the land.
– The harmony of different peoples forming a community of help and trust.
– And a minute to pause and count our blessings.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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