Thanksgiving – Foods

Thanksgiving – Foods

Music; Ambience: Early American music

JM: In 1621, some of the first European settlers in America sat down to give thanks for a successful harvest and for their survival in an unfamiliar land. With them were the Native Americans whose knowledge of local foods had made this new life possible. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

BK: “These were people in a land unknown to them, so that they simply didn’t know how to use many of the resources that were already here. What was going to be safe, would it be digestible? And they relied very heavily on American Indian largess and it was through these charities that many native people enabled the earliest colonists to persist in what was to them a new world, to native peoples a very old world.”

JM: Barrie Kavasch is an research associate at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Connecticut. We asked her what those first feasts of thanksgiving were like.

BK: “Well, specifics for the thanksgiving meals are what are so purely native American. So, not surprising, wild turkey, venison, salmon, lobster, oysters and clams and mussels and certainly cranberries were celebrated in the early eastern Thanksgivings. There weren’t early condiments as such. Long before sugar and conventional salt and pepper, the seasonings that were available were many fewer and very different from the ones we know today. So long slow cooking, along with damp hickory bark to give a hickory smoked essence would have made the meat very palatable, sweet and tender.”

JM: Additional funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.

Thanksgiving - Foods

The first Thanksgiving probably bore the markings of a traditional American Indian meal.
Air Date:11/27/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Thanksgiving - Foods

Music; Ambience: Early American music

JM: In 1621, some of the first European settlers in America sat down to give thanks for a successful harvest and for their survival in an unfamiliar land. With them were the Native Americans whose knowledge of local foods had made this new life possible. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

BK: "These were people in a land unknown to them, so that they simply didn't know how to use many of the resources that were already here. What was going to be safe, would it be digestible? And they relied very heavily on American Indian largess and it was through these charities that many native people enabled the earliest colonists to persist in what was to them a new world, to native peoples a very old world."

JM: Barrie Kavasch is an research associate at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Connecticut. We asked her what those first feasts of thanksgiving were like.

BK: "Well, specifics for the thanksgiving meals are what are so purely native American. So, not surprising, wild turkey, venison, salmon, lobster, oysters and clams and mussels and certainly cranberries were celebrated in the early eastern Thanksgivings. There weren't early condiments as such. Long before sugar and conventional salt and pepper, the seasonings that were available were many fewer and very different from the ones we know today. So long slow cooking, along with damp hickory bark to give a hickory smoked essence would have made the meat very palatable, sweet and tender."

JM: Additional funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.