Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Reading and Research homework for Tuesday, Dec. 2. From Mike Lohre


Sometimes in the consumer culture we can really lose the meaning of events and the past.  Is Thanksgiving about food?  Black Friday? The Michigan game?  Yes, it's become all these things.  But it has an original story.

Do a little research and try to answer at least one of these questions about the historical roots of Thanksgiving:

  • Why did the Pilgrims leave England?  Who were they?
  • How did they travel and what challenges did they face on the journey?
  • Where did they settle and why?
  • What challenges did they face in the first years here?  What was the famous starving time? 
  • How did Native Americans and settlers work together?
  • What conflicts did Native Americans and settlers both face? What conflicts happened between races?
  • What might have been the foods enjoyed in those first Thanksgivings?

Post your discoveries and share what you learned in the Comments section of this post.

My guess it that you won't be able to read this without being really moved.  It's an incredible and true story.   



  1. The pilgrims left England because they were not given the right to religious freedom. England was demanding that all British citizens practice the religion of their church under the Act of Uniformity. The people whom had strong disagreements with the church were called the Puritans. They left to find new religious freedom elsewhere. They originally travelled to Holland where they lived for a little while but they had to learn the Dutch language and they did not like that. So they headed towards America next.

  2. Where did the pilgrims settle, and why?

    I researched this question and I found out that the pilgrims originally wanted to land in what is now Virginia to establish a settlement. However, they did not land in Virginia because a storm blew them off course while sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. They were blown further north in the Cape Cod region. Once here, they settled in this area and named it Plymouth. They settled in this area because of the unfortunate events that took place while sailing across the Atlantic (the terrible storm).

  3. The Pilgrims left England so they could practice their religion freely. The Pilgrims were Puritans and they were hated by the Church of England which thanks to the law of uniformity demanded citizens of England to follow the church of England. the Pilgrims left England in 1609 and traveled to Holland. Since they wanted to speak English they returned back to England in 1620 to set sail to the new world.

  4. What might have been the foods enjoyed in those first Thanksgivings?

    The foods that would have been present at the first Thanksgiving table would have been native fruits (plums, melons, cranberries, etc), vegetables such as leeks, wild onions, beans, and squash, native birds, deer, fish, and shellfish. The region where they settled did have plenty of wild turkeys roaming around, but it is unknown whether or not they used them or not. Pumpkin pie was also said to be apart of the menu, and it was made by hollowing out pumpkins, adding milk, honey, and spices to turn it into a type of custard. The Pilgrims were said to probably roast and boil their food, as they did not have modern appliances like we do today, and many modern dishes like stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, and sweet corn were not on the menu back in that time. Hunting and harvesting had to be done in order to have the foods needed to have a Thanksgiving feast.

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  6. What might have been the foods enjoyed in those first Thanksgivings?
    So, in 1600's there weren't any mashed potatoes or cranberry sauce, nor was there any stuffing! Which is my favorite part of any thanksgiving meal! A lot of our traditions weren't even created in the 1600's but after the 1700's. A lot of what you can find on the first Thanksgiving is a lot of native fruit such as plums, grapes, melons, leeks, and a tradition that has passed over to modern day, cranberries! Just to name a few fruits, there were also many vegetables like, squash, artichokes, carrots, and cabbage. We aren't sure if they had roast turkey at their feast, but there were many wild turkeys in their region. For drink they were likely to just drink water. Their cooking techniques include boiling and roasting and they always used a bunch of herbs to season their dishes.

  7. When I think of Thanksgiving. I think of family, Black Friday, but most of all I think of food. My family usually goes to great lengths to make sure that you will not be going home hungry. If your stomach is empty leaving my house, you have done something wrong and no one is at fault but yourself. Normally, the basic staples are Turkey, Ham and Greens. The rest seems to change depending on what we want to eat that day and of course the TV will be blaring in the background with either the OSU game or if we are lucky a movie.

    Lately, I have been taking up the reins to cook thanksgiving dinner. For me, there is an urge to make have things made from scratch vs. the box variety. Some of the foods that grace my table are Macaroni and cheese, dressing, friend corn, broccoli, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cranberry sauce to name a few. I had always assumed that this must be close to way that the pilgrims ate minus the convenience of modern technology and instead of having everything done in a hours they must have taken days to prepare and make.

    I did some research on what might have been the foods enjoyed in those first Thanksgivings. I found out that the availability of the food that the pilgrims had was drastically different than the dinner table that I have. Mostly because they did not have a refrigerator to put the left overs in. So, when they prepared their food they usually made sure that its food that can be stored in jars that can keep for a long time.

    Most of what they had was made from the resources from the land or the sea. Their dinner consisted of Eels, dried fruit, lobster only if you lived close to the ocean. Hardtack, which is a kind of hard biscuit that dates back to the Civil War. Samp, which is a kind of porridge. Maize aka corn on the cobb and pumpkins. Ducks and geese were actually used instead of turkey as they were easier get a hold of in autumn.

    Pilgrims would catch wild turkey throughout the year but was be considered a delicacy due to the amount of work that was involved. Pilgrims did not start calling the meal thanksgiving, until Abraham Lincoln in 1863 declared it a national holiday. Even then turkey on the table was an occasional occurrence that happened to catch on and spread throughout the community. So, we have been having turkey at the table for the past 150 years give or take.

  8. When I think about Thanksgiving foods I think about how we feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and a variety of pies; especially pumpkin pie. It seems to me that most people eat along these lines every year for Thanksgiving. This is not what people used to eat when Thanksgiving first started though. In fact, Thanksgiving used to be more of a "three-day festival" than a "one night feast". They would hunt, eat, and entertain, celebrating the first successful harvest.

    Turkey wasn't even eaten in the first thanksgivings. Venison and deer were probably what was prepared to eat instead. I read that for the first Thanksgiving the Indians killed deer to give to the colonists as a gift. Weird that turkey wasn't even there because it seems to be the most important food on this day every year.

    I mentioned mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie earlier, when these foods were not even known yet, so they were also not included in the first Thanksgivings. Cranberry sauce is a popular Thanksgiving tradition as well. Cranberries were included in the first Thanksgivings, just not as a sauce.

    Corn is a very popular tradition still to this day. There was an abundance of corn available in the first Thanksgivings, so there was a variety of ways to eat it. The corn was removed from the cob to be made into cornmeal, and to be boiled. Other veggies appear on our tables for Thanksgiving still, but in my family at least, not very many others. Since people were celebrating the first successful harvest there were other vegetables including: cabbage, carrots, lettuce, onions, and spinach. It is not common for any of these to be at my family's Thanksgivings today. So much has changed since the first Thanksgivings have been celebrated. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? I think that it's a good thing for the fact that we have many more delicious foods to enjoy, but aren't we supposed to keep their traditions from hundreds of years ago?

  9. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of all of the great food that will be served and all of the delicious pies. Most people relate Thanksgiving to food. In many homes the turkey is the main dish. People are preparing turkeys all different ways from the classic roast turkey to frying the turkey. Another common food tradition during Thanksgiving is Pumpkin Pie. My favorite thing to eat at Thanksgiving is the Pumpkin Pie; I sometimes will eat it before I eat the main meal. But as you were eating, have you ever thought what they ate and enjoyed in the first Thanksgiving meal? The first thanksgiving dates all the way back to November 1621. While it is not exact if they enjoyed turkey, they certainly enjoyed some kind of bird. The meat was probably some type of bird like a duck, goose or even swan. Nowadays we had stuffing for extra flavor while back then they would have added herbs, nuts or onions. The pilgrims also most likely had a fair share of vegetables on the table such as onions, beans, carrots, or cabbage. They also had corn but the corn would have been off the cob and made into a cornmeal. Any kind of potato is said to not have been at the first thanksgiving meal. Potatoes were not introduced to the meal until the 1500’s. Every Thanksgiving, my family has at least 3 different sides of potatoes whether it is mashed, cheesy or something else. We love our potatoes. Although the Thanksgiving meal has changed since the first ever meal, we still have some of the same traditions. I wonder what meals will be eaten at thanksgiving in a couple of years?

  10. When Thanksgiving comes to my mind I think of food and family, but mostly food. Thanksgiving has been celebrated in places everywhere for many years. I watched a short video on the meaning of Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims that left England to come to the USA.
    The Pilgrims left England because they wanted a fresh start. Nearly 100 of them set sail from England on the Mayflower in September 1620. All of them knew that the United States would be a clean slate for them. Their goal was to create a country where you can live a happy and pure life under Gods rules. The Pilgrims were on their own when they came to the United States, not having much knowledge and then many dying of diseases and starvation. Pilgrims then became friends with Native Americans who then helped them with many things including farming tips. If it wasn't for the Native Americans, none of the Pilgrims probably wouldn't of survived.

  11. Around 100 people, many of them seeking religious freedom in the New World, set sail from England on the Mayflower in September 1620. That November, the ship landed on the shores of Cape Cod, in present-day Massachusetts. A scouting party was sent out, and in late December the group landed at Plymouth Harbor, where they would form the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. These original settlers of Plymouth Colony are known as the Pilgrim Fathers, or simply as the Pilgrims. Some of the most notable passengers on the Mayflower included Myles Standish, a professional soldier who would become the military leader of the new colony; and William Bradford, a leader of the Separatist congregation who wrote the still-classic account of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. It was said that rough seas and storms had prevented the Mayflower from reaching their original destination.

  12. Since I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, the only things I know about it are from the T.V and some of the things I learned in school. Traditionally, the picture that’s associated with Thanksgiving is with the turkey in the center, and everything surrounding it. The original pilgrims ate a meal similar to what’s eaten today. Since there is no accurate to know, it is believed that the pilgrims either ate wild turkey- which was plentiful at the time- or ducks, geese, or swan. They also ate large consumptions of vegetables like corn, spinach, lettuce, cabbage and carrots. They ate lots of fruits including raspberries and blackberries and cranberries. Many Americans today celebrate Thanksgiving with mashed potatoes, but during the pilgrims time there was no such thing as mashed potatoes or any form of potatoes on their table. Since they had no ovens they also didn't have pumpkin pie, which seems to be a staple of today's Thanksgiving. For dessert they hollowed out pumpkins and filled them with honey and milk and cooked it.

  13. How did the Native Americans and settlers work together?

    When the pilgrims settled, shortly after they came in contact with a Native American tribe by the name of Squanto. Unsure of each other at first, they began to work together, Squanto showed the pilgrims how to plant corn, cook meals with what was provided to them. Squanto, showed them the lay of the land where to hunt beaver, and fish, and what not to eat because it could be harmful... all this especially with a language barrier. The Native Americans basically taught the pilgrims how to survive. The pilgrims may not have survived without the help of Squanto.

  14. Why did the Pilgrims leave England?

    the pilgrims left England to learn their religion for freedom and got better life. before they moved there they were struggle their life. they did not have good place to practice their religion. they decided to travel England to have better opportunity. At first the pilgrims and Puritans moved to Holland. to enjoyed their freedom religion. although they had to learn the Dutch language and their children began observing Dutch traditions. they did not stay so long and they decided to move the country speaking English language.

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  16. The first Thanksgiving feast date's back to November of 1621.
    Turkey was plentiful and a common source of food. While hunting for the turkey's, settlers would come across other birds that also ended up on the dinner table such as ducks, geese and swans. Today some of us stuff our turkey's with dressing also known as stuffing, but the English and Native Americans, to add a little more flavor used herbs, onions or nuts. Deer was one of the main meats too.

    Veggies were apart of the first Thanksgiving's. Onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, peas...all locally grown. The only vegetables at my Thanksgiving are usually green bean casserole and corn pudding (if you even count those dishes as vegetables). In the 1600's settlers prepared their corn by removing it from the cob, boiling it and then pounding it into a thick much.

    Fruits were also big. Blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and cranberries. It wasn't until about 50 years later that cooks prepared cranberry sauce for their meats, which was done by boiling cranberries and sugar. The sugar sacks that were aboard the Mayflower were depleted by 1621.

    In the earlier Thanksgiving's seafood was a main dish also.

    Potatoes were not apart of the first Thanksgiving's.

    The older colonies unfortunately didn't have the necessity's to bake a pumpkin pie but many settlers improvised by hallowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then would roast the gourds while in hot ashes.

    I'd say Thanksgiving has changed a little bit over the centuries.


  17. The First Thanksgiving Feast:

    The menu for Thanksgiving today is certainly a lot different than how it originally started a few centuries ago. Today we are used to such meals consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry yams, stuffing and pumpkin pie. However, back then only a few of these items were on the list. Turkey was not the centerpiece of the meal, in fact goose or duck was more of a favorable choice. Swans and passenger pigeons would have been available as well. It is possible that they stuffed the birds with onions and herbs, and bread made from maize was also part of the meal. In addition to small birds and deer, the colonists and the indians also probably ate eels and shellfish, such as crab, lobster, clams, and mussels.

  18. The First Thanksgiving Meal

    Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621. This was shared between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. The three main foods that may or may not have been enjoyed were turkey, Fruits and vegetables, and potatoes.

    Turkey, in fact, may have not even been enjoyed on the first Thanksgiving. The colony's governor, William Bradford, sent four men on a fowling mission for the upcoming feast. Wild turkey was plentiful in the area, but it is very likely that these men also returned with duck, geese, and swan. Deer is also speculated to have been eaten.

    Fruits and vegetables were plentiful at the first thanksgiving. Local vegetables eaten likely included onions, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, and peas. The fruits eaten included blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, and cranberries.

    Potatoes, my personal favorite Thanksgiving food, were in fact not even enjoyed at the first Thanksgiving! Potatoes were brought back to England in 1570 but were not popular by the time of the first thanksgiving. Native roots that were likely enjoyed were Indian turnips and groundnuts. Even these may not have been eaten!

  19. Why did the Pilgrims leave England? Who were they?

    The Pilgrims were a group of people from Babworth, East Retford, and Nottinghamshire, England who came together around 1600. Lead by a man named Parson Richard Clyfton, the Pilgroms thought the Church of England had lost its way, so much so that they believed the Church was beyond repair. The Pilgrims strongly believed that the Church of England, and the Catholic Church, had strayed beyond Christ's teachings, and established religious rituals, and church hierarchies, that went against the teachings of the Bible.

    The pilgrims left England in 1609 so that they could practice the religion they chose. The Act of Uniformity demanded that all British citizens attend services and follow the traditions of the Church of England. This is when the Pilgrims fled.


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