Fascinating Women and Intriguing Topics
Then she went on to say that they ate Italian dishes—antipasti, homemade lasagna and ravioli, and bread bought from the Italian bakery.”
“We eat traditional Greek dishes--pastitsio and spanakopita—along with traditional Thanksgiving foods,” another student chimed in.
“Whoa!” I thought, what else is there to learn about Thanksgiving? And with that I was off and running to find out.
Here is what I did for my research:
- · Sent out a questionnaire and interviewed more than two hundred friends and strangers about their Thanksgiving celebrations
- · Read a towering stack of source material ,including online resources at Pilgrim Hall Museum: www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org
- · Took road trips to photograph historic markers devoted to Thanksgiving.
I discovered an abundance of fascinating things. For example, the origin of the “first” Thanksgiving is more complicated than the “Pilgrim and Indian” story that I learned. In fact, there are many competing claims from Texas to Virginia for the “first” Thanksgiving twelve of which I present with their evidence in my book Thanksgiving: The True Story.
- Contrary to popular belief President Abraham Lincoln did not issue the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation. George Washington did.
- Thanksgiving has a godmother—Sarah Josepha Hale—who singlehandedly conducted a forty-year campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
- The first Thanksgiving Day parade was held by a department store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to jump-start the Christmas shopping Christmas shopping season.
As for turkey with all the fixings, many people still do eat that. But many also add their own ethnic foods to the menu from arroz e gandules (rice and pigeon peas) to kimchi (fermented vegetables) to macaroni and cheese to whale blubber salad.
If you would like to delve even deeper into the rich past of Thanksgiving read Penny Colman's enlightening book that uncovers the whole story. Click here to find out more about the book.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. We will post again on Saturday with the Minute for Monday December 1. The Minute will feature Vicki Cobb being herself -- the very very inquisitive author who needs to know everything about everything that interests her.