The first Thanksgiving menu probably contained turkey. Wild turkeys are smaller than the versions that grace the freezers of grocery stores. They have a smaller amount of white meat in proportion to the dark meat and the meat is a little less tender. The Pilgrims got the better deal when it comes to flavor, though!They had no trouble getting water fowl, and the celebration also included venison and fish. The meat was probably roasted on spits over an open fire, taking a long time to cook through.The vegetables were pretty much limited to squash, beans and corn, thanks to the infamous Squanto who showed them how to grow them. Pumpkins, yes. Pumpkin pie, no. Pumpkins are native to North American and had been in long use by the Native Americans for food and other purposes. The first Thanksgiving could have been the scene of pumpkins baked in the coals of a fire without much added to them. The menu looked something like this:
Roasted whole turkey
Fish covered with leaves and baked in coals
Whole pumpkin, baked in coals.
Two or three other kinds of winter squash, possibly cut in pieces and cooked in large kettles. Beans, boiled with venison
Small kettles of peas
Dried corn, boiled in water.
Corn meal, mixed with other meals and leavened with eggs, baked in the coals - a type of corn bread.
Baskets of walnuts, hickory nuts and ground nuts
Dried fruit such as small, wild strawberries, raspberries, grapes, cherries and plums
Pumpkin seasoned with honey
Boiled corn meal, possibly served with honey
That was quite a Thanksgiving feast, wasn't it? Considering how easily food is obtained today, our Thanksgiving feasts are no doubt much less appreciated. Maybe if we'd try just one Thanksgiving limited to the food we produced ourselves, either by growing or hunting, we'd come to understand better the great celebration of Thanksgiving the Pilgrims had.