Thanksgiving is the designated day of the year where we take the time to reflect and think about all of the things we are grateful for. It is great to be able to share a meal with friends and family and catch up. For some it may be the only time they get to come home and see their loved ones. People may have relatives they only see once a year, on Thanksgiving; family members travel hundreds of miles to share the holiday with the people they love. If you can’t be there on the day, let your family members know that you’re thinking about them. Send the gift of an apple pie or pumpkin pie they can put on their dessert table.
The first Thanksgiving was in 1621. The first religious Thanksgiving Day was two years after that. In this year they praised God that they received rain after a two-month drought. Over the years the holiday shifted away from the religious overtones and became more about spending time with family and giving thanks.
At the first Thanksgiving, the meal looked very different than what we enjoy today. Turkey wasn’t even on the menu back in 1621. Instead, the pilgrims had delicacies such as deer and shellfish. They didn’t even enjoy pumpkin pie for dessert. They did have corn, thanks to Squanto, a man from the Wampanoag tribe. He taught them how to plant corn crops so they wouldn’t starve. The pilgrims then feasted with the Native Americans to celebrate the harvest. This was the start of what eventually became an annual, nationwide tradition.
A magazine editor by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale was referred to as “the godmother of Thanksgiving”. She was a strong supporter of the idea of Thanksgiving and wrote to presidents and other influential members of society in an effort to make it a national holiday. Eventually President Abraham Lincoln decreed that it should be celebrated nationally. At one point there were actually two Thanksgivings, with an extra one celebrated in August to mark when the Battle of Gettysburg was. This eventually was eliminated in favor of the November date. The holiday was viewed as a way to unite the country – something that still resonates today.
What would Thanksgiving be without apple pie and pumpkin pie? These classics are staples of the holiday. This was not always the case. In medieval England, fruit pies were reserved for the upper class, as the ingredients were expensive and not easily accessible. It wasn’t until the 17th century that these pies were enjoyed by people of every status. The first American cookbook had a recipe for pumpkin pie in it, which probably helped with its popularity. Sarah Josepha Hale also published a recipe for it. Pies were then served on holidays and special occasions, much like today. People have strong opinions about which pie is better, so serving both on Thanksgiving is a safe bet. Dessert is such an important part of the day, and a great ending to a delicious meal.
Every family has their Thanksgiving traditions, from cheering for football to watching the parades on TV. They may have recipes that are passed down from generation to generation, recipes that the meal would be incomplete without. Going around the table and saying what you are thankful for is a practice that many families like to do. It’s what the holiday is all about. It is nice to share the meal with loved ones and give thanks for all that you have. It is a great opportunity to spend quality time with people you don’t always get to see. If you can’t be there to participate in the festivities, send a pie. Show how grateful you are to have them in your life with a dessert sent right to their door.