Make Your Thanksgiving More Authentic
November 16, 2010
We tend to think that a Thanksgiving feast is all about turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. In reality, the first Thanksgiving meal in 1621 celebrated by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians didn’t feature any of those items.
In order for my students to learn what the original Thanksgiving may have been like, last year we decided to start a kindergarten tradition at my school: compare a modern Thanksgiving feast to the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621.
You may be thinking that sounds like a lot of work, but believe me I wouldn't be sharing this idea with you if I didn't think you could incorporate at least one thing from the first Thanksgiving back in 1621. I know this is the time of year when the stress starts to build, so have no fear--this will be fun and hardly any extra work!
Here are a few fun ideas to make your feast more authentic:
Have children dress up like pilgrims and indians.
• Boy pilgrim: wear a top hat and a large white collar made from paper
• Girl pilgrim: wear a white bonnet with a plain dress and apron
• Boy indian: wear a head band, feathers, shell jewelry and face paint
• Girl indian: braid hair and wear shell jewelry, feathers and face paint
Use original utensils.
Instead of using cups, plates, napkins, forks and spoons, the original diners at the 1621 feast used shells as spoons. And of course, they used their hands to eat!
Eat like a pilgrim.
To imagine the 1621 feast, think plain, plain, plain!
• Wild fowl: plain non-seasoned turkey
• Seafood: plain fish, lobster or codfish
• Vegetables: pumpkin, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes and carrots
• Fruit: plums, grapes
• Dried fruit trail mix: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper and dried fruit was the original mix
• Corn: Indian corn or popped corn
• Drinks: water, apple cider or apple juice
(For more information about the first Thanksgiving go to: History.com)
Compare and contrast the first Thanksgiving with the meal you eat on Thanksgiving. The modern-day Thanksgiving, established in 1777, typically features:
• Seasoned turkey
• Cranberry sauce
• Mashed potatoes
• Sweet potatoes
• Green bean casserole
• Pumpkin pie
Do you think your children will enjoy eating from a shell and using their hands? Being a little messy can be so much fun! What else is the kids' table for?
Good luck with your preparations!
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