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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Paul

Thanks for Giving - Who's Sarah Hale?

This is the time of year that is the busiest for a chef. I call it food season. After all the Halloween candy is about gone, it’s time to think about Thanksgiving. The American eating annual festival. Or at least that is what I call it. Thanksgiving originated in the 1600’s (1621 to be specific) and was a feast that was celebrated between the Pilgrams and the Wampanoag tribe. It is believed that the Pilgrams offered fowl (possibly turkey) and the tribe offered Venison at the meal. It didn’t turn into a national holiday until 1863 when Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for it to be a day of “unity” and earned the support of Abraham Lincoln who officially proclaimed it a national holiday. It was designated the last Thursday in November 1939 by FDR.

The first meal is very different from what is served at today’s Thanksgiving table. The original Thanksgiving menu consisted of Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy Potatoes, Vegetable and Pumpkin Pie. Over time, menus have changed, and things have been added. Like cranberry sauce which is now part of the “traditional” menu. But there are always the people who substitute, so some families celebrate with stuffed turkey, goose, glazed ham, and even the all-natural turduckin (Thanks to John Madden) which is a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey!

An average Thanksgiving meal will consist of 3 – 4000 calories if you do it right *smile*. It’s the day to let go, give thanks and just enjoy the food. Stuffing has always been on the menu, and other common side dishes are not only mashed Russet potatoes, but sweet potatoes/yams with butter and marshmallows.

Green bean casserole – with mushroom soup, beans, dried onions, macaroni & cheese (it’s a southern thing), corn on the cob, Brussell sprouts, peas, bread rolls, and cranberry sauce (gelled from the can and chunky). I’m sure your family had a dish that was there every year as well.

Then we have the pie. Pumpkin pie. Right after Halloween, and amid the gourd season.

How could that not be on the menu. But as I have always compared

the yes or no things in life to pumpkin pie, you like it or you don’t. There is NO in between. Also making a presence on the menu are pecan pie, apple pie, and sweet potato pie. But remember it’s Thanksgiving – so you must add whipped cream or ice cream.

If you have not fell into your food coma yet – just wait for the tryptophan from the turkey to affect you. Well, hate to break your bubble, but the amount of tryptophan in a couple slices of turkey is not enough to make your sleepy after a LARGE Thanksgiving meal. Thus, the answer – it’s the thousands of carbs that you just ate. It is finally catching up to your system as it is processing the food and you view that dirty pile of dishes making you yawn!

So, give THANKS. Make sure you thank the ones you love. Thank the cook no matter where/when you get your food. Thank the dishwasher (the most underpaid and under rated job in food service). Thank your neighbors. Thank your friends. Be thankful for the day. And enjoy the football games that dominate the TV that day!

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ray farnsworth
ray farnsworth
Nov 20, 2023
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Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed reading about the Thanksgiving origins, and just reading your blog made me quite hungry. Maybe I should have waited until Thanksgiving Day. 😀

Anyway, thanks for the excellent blog. Happy Thanksgiving to you guys!

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