An Extra Touch for Thanksgiving

An Extra Touch for Thanksgiving

By Arleen M. Kaptur

The turkey is baking in the oven and the pies are all lined up on your countertop. Colorful vegetables and fruits are simmering slowly or just adding their special flavors and delightful aromas to your kitchen. Food-a way of celebrating, showing love and affection, and bringing family, friends, and loved ones together.

An extra special touch would be to present a "pilgrim" dish to your holiday table - something that will remind everyone of the food that was served at that first Thanksgiving feast when Pilgrims and Indians joined hands and shared what they had with each other. They were grateful for food, their families, the new land, even their endurance during the hard times. They learned much, experienced even more, and found ways to overcome and achieve.

Just take a step back in time and allow your guests to taste a bit of history - a touch of the past - a nostalgic glimpse into the origin of our Thanksgiving celebration:


2 beaten eggs, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup milk, 2 tbs. lard, melted, 1 tsp.salt, 2 cups yellow cornmeal, butter, maple syrup

In bowl, mix eggs, water, milk, lard, and salt. Stir in cornmeal. Stir well before making each johnnycake. For each cake, place a scant 1/4 cup batter on a hot, well-greased griddle, spreading to 1/4 inch thick. Cook till golden, 2-3 mins. per side. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

Rice Pudding

In heavy pan bring 3 cups milk to boiling, gradually stir in 1/2 cup rice, 1/3 cup raisins, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover, cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, till most of the milk is absorbed, and the rice is creamy, 30-45 mins. Spoon into dessert dishes. Dot with butter; sprinkle with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon.

Indian Pudding

3 cups milk, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tbs. butter

In a pan, mix milk and molasses; stir in cornmeal, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Cook and stir till thick, about 10 mins. Stir in butter. Turn into a 1-quart casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 300 about 1 hour.

A truly traditional - wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving celebration is a Wassail Bowl:

1 orange, halved, 10 whole cloves, 2-4/5 quart bottles claret, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 inches stick cinnamon

Stud orange halves with cloves. In a pan mix orange halves, claret, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, simmer about 15 mins. Remove cinnamon and orange halves. Serve punch hot in small mugs.

A touch of "pilgrim" and your Thanksgiving Holiday will be very special indeed. ENJOY!

©Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 October

About the author

Arleen Kaptur has written numerous books and articles on simple, rustic living and enjoying each and every day. You may visit her at her website Arleen's Site and sign up for her free newsletters.


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