Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

Bishop Stone asked about how Thanksgiving is celebrated here in America so I'll try to explain it a little bit. Thanksgiving means many different things to the 300 million people in America, but here is a brief history:
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Fall of 1621 at Plymouth Plantation. The year before had been devastating because the Pilgrims had a poor harvest and many of them died over the winter. But the friendly Indians had shown them better planting techniques which resulted in a good harvest. To show their gratitude they hosted a three day feast, invited the Indians (who brought venison) and gave thanks for their bounty. They had lots of meats and some vegetables, but no breads or pastries because they had no flour and no ovens. Below you see a picture of what the first Thanksgiving might have looked like.

Thanksgiving was celebrated sporadically over the next two hundred years, but was not an official holiday. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first official Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November and it has been celebrated in America ever since.
Below is the average American Thanksgiving dinner in the 1950s. My earliest memories resemble this photo quite closely. They were held at my Granny's house. There was always turkey with bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, some kind of jello salad, and pumpkin pie for dessert. It was all homemade from scratch by my stay-at-home Mom and Grandmother.

Now days families still get together to reconnect, relax, and feast on turkey, but the menu and preparations are much more flexible. Some families go out to eat, some order it all precooked from a local grocer or restaurant, some purchase premade things at Cosco while some still make it all from scratch. Some families don't feast at all, but volunteer at a local charity to serve food to the less fortunate. However we celebrate Thanksgiving, the important part is to give thanks for our blessings, and celebrate the bounty of the season.
There are also other traditional activities on Thanksgiving like watching football on TV, taking a nap after dinner, and planning your Black Friday Christmas shopping spree, but I don't do any of those things so I'll let others tell those tales.

(lifted from the Internet, not my family)

So how will your family celebrate Thanksgiving this year? I'm sure we'd all love to hear, so please share it on the comments. And Thanks for visiting Amongst The Oaks.


Amongst The Oaks said...

We have the biggest dining room and are centrally located for my family so Thanksgiving is at our house. So my Dad, two sisters and their families, and brother will be here. My MIL and FIL will also be here, but the brothers-in-law will be elsewhere. LOM also has a cousin that is sometimes here, but not this year. In past years we have hosted over twenty, but this year it will be only fourteen. They all bring a dish or two so we only make the turkey, potatoes, gravy and pies. The party starts early with drinks and snacks and socializing, then the main meal is finally is and we sit at the table for quite a while eating and talking and desserting.
I like Thanksgiving because it's simply a day to get together, socialize, and be thankful - no gifts, no costumes, minimal decorations, good food, family.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

This year my oldest daughter's children will be with their dad (one of the sad things due to a split family), but my new son-in-law will fry (yes, fry) a turkey out on the deck and I'll bring a side dish and pie. His parents and other guests will bring food also. So this will be a new way of celebrating the holiday. When my grandchildren return home on Sat. I will roast a turkey in the oven just like my grandmother did, covering the bird with a piece of cheesecloth drenched in a melted stick of butter! Yummm-Every turkey was the "best one ever" just like the Christmas trees! I'll make homemade cranberry sauce (so easy and so much better than canned), and we will watch the new version of "Miracle on 34th St." with both daughters & grandchildren. Hopefully son and his new bride will be there! V.

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Our Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October and my mother's birthday was the 13th, so we always gather and share a meal in her honor. We're just thankful we had her!

Pippajo said...

I usually have Thanksgiving at my house for the same reasons you do! We celebrate with my family each year, but every other year my two married sisters go to their in-laws' so this year it's the smaller group: my parents, my unmarried sister and my grandmother for a total of 8. When we're all together we total 15, including wee ones! I always make the turkey, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and two pies from scratch. Mom usually brings rolls and a pumpkin pie or two and if other sisters are coming, they will bring other sides such as mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. For us, it isn't Thanksgiving without homemade pies and traditionally, the women gather together a day or two before the feast for a baking day. It used to be my mother, my aunt, me and my sisters, but the next generation has taken over and now it's me, my sisters and Redheaded Snippet. This year it will just be three of us, but the tradition will continue.