They Knew They Were Pilgrims

The 17th Century Adventures of Plimoth Plantation's Colonial Interpreters

Speak for yourself, John!

April 19th, 2014 by Alexandra

If there’s anyone who knows how hard it is to stay hip to the newest technology, it’s us Pilgrims.  When we’re in the 1627 English Village or on Mayflower II we try not to keep up with the times, but not everyone at Plimoth Plantation has that luxury.  In fact, our very own Plimoth Cinema needs to upgrade to a digital projector – and fast!  Many of the movies the Cinema would like to show are only available in digital format, meaning that without this new projection system the very future of the Cinema is in doubt.

The other problem? Going digital is expensive! So we’re asking for your help – visit Plimoth Cinema’s Kickstarter page and please make a donation if you’re able. Our goal is to raise at least $25,000 of the $48,000 needed for a new digital projection system, so every little bit helps!  And the Kickstarter campaign only lasts until May 3, 2014, so make haste!

In honor of our friends at Plimoth Cinema we here at They Knew They Were Pilgrims have made a short film loosely (exceptionally loosely!) based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1858 poem The Courtship of  Miles Standish for your viewing pleasure.  For those not down with the latest trends in 19th century literature, The Courtship of Miles Standish tells the love story of Mayflower passengers John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, who fall in love even though John’s friend Miles Standish has asked John to court Priscilla on his behalf (If you want more detail you could read the long narrative poem yourself…or just watch the Wishbone version).  The historical accuracy of the poem is um, debatable – Longfellow was an Alden descendant and claimed the poem was based on a family story – but it sure makes a good tale that many museum visitors still ask about to this day.

We’ll never know if Priscilla really did tell John to “speak for yourself,” but in the meantime help yourself to TKTWP’s own version of Longfellow’s story.  And again, please donate to Plimoth Cinema’s Kickstarter campaign if you can, because as you’ll watch our heroes discover, upgrading from the old to the new really does make everything come up like sunshine, lollipops and rainbows!

A special thanks to everyone who helped make this video, especially Courtney Roy-Branigan for giving us the impetus to make it, our bosses for being accommodating, the Wardrobe Department for lending us the perfect Evil Villain Cape, Erica Morris for letting us borrow the biggest teddy bear she owned, Doug Blake for being a late night film editing champion, and our dear coworkers who didn’t hesitate when we asked them to make fools of themselves on camera. You’re the best!

 

Contentment

April 7th, 2014 by Sally

content

From thirteen of the Adventurers in England to the Settlers at New Plymouth, 1623.

As recorded by William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation.

 

PrattleFeed Quiz: Which Mayflower Passenger Are You?

March 28th, 2014 by Alexandra

Prattlefeed

PrattleFeed

March 25th, 2014 by Sally

If there’s one thing we at They Knew They Were Pilgrims love almost as much as our Plymouth Primary Sources, it’s jumping on the most recently trending bandwagons and relating it to our seventeenth-century existence. We’ve made internet memesPlimoth-Westeros comparisons, commentated on current events and weather events. If you’ve been anywhere near the internet recently, and presumably you have, you cannot possibly have avoided the phenomenon that is The List. You know what I mean. Posts* entitled “13 Ways That Henry Ainsworth Can Change Your Life”, “72 Adorable Pictures Of Native Corn That Will Bring Tears To Your Eyes”, or “265 Reasons Everyone Needs A Fake Husband” are taking over our news-feeds and sucking up our free time.

*These are all fictional titles, but who could not wish they existed for reals?

 

As if you needed any more proof that we are “down with the kids” (and this time, I don’t mean baby goats), here goes.

They Knew They Were Pilgrims presents:

perhaps I have too much time on my hands?

 

1) Retro Fashion

Introducing…The Hipster Pilgrim:

O how he doth looketh down his nostrils at he who weareth ye olde-fashioned slopps. Verily, the Hipster Pilgrim, in his skinny breeches and ironic doublet, bringeth retro to its logical conclusion. All of our clothes are handmade from natural fibres, some of our knitted items are even made with hand-spun wool from an historic breed of sheep. If that’s not seriously swag, I don’t know what is.

2) Historic Spellinge

Embracing the true nature of hipness and postmodern thought, in 1627, what is correct spelling to you is not necessarily (that’s one coffee, two sugars) correct spelling to me. The way I see it, it’s a seventeenth-century man’s way of saying YOLO. Who needs to worry about spelling when there’s an ale-house to keep? Therefore, this:

oh Master Bradford, you're so creative.

That is Master Bradford himself, introducing his journal, Of Plymouth Plantation. He says in his own, not so simple, spelling:

And first of ye occatsion, and indusments ther unto; the which that I may truly unfould, I must begine at ye very roote, & rise of the same. The which I shall endevor to manefest in a plaine stile; with singuler regard unto the simple trueth in all things, at least as farr near as my slender judgmente can attaine the same.

Right. Ermm..I mean, Right On!

3) Burning Wood

As it turns out, heating and cooking over a wood fire is where it’s at, yo. Done responsibly, it’s a sustainable fuel source, and cooking like it’s 1627 adds incredible flavour to your food that can’t be simulated. Moreover, every hipster with a back yard homestead wants a wood fired oven. We do our fair share of splitting and storing firewood in the English Village, and our sources tell us that the original settlers did too:

So, being both weary and faint, for we had eaten nothing all that day: we fell to make our rendezvous; and get firewood, which always cost us a great deal of labour.

Our greatest labour will be the fetching of our wood, which is half a quarter of an English mile: but there is enough, so far off.

- Mourt’s Relation

4) Environmental  Friendly Building Methods

Utilising low-impact materials, getting back to basics by using hand tools and living in a structure that is smaller than our society insists you need are bang on trend. As we find in Mourt’s Relation, the colonists quickly realised the value of what they had here in New England, writing “there is much good timber: both oak, walnut tree, fir, beech, and exceeding great chestnut trees.” By December 23rd, 1620, they had already begun working some of that wood:

…so many of us as could, went on shore, felled and carried timber, to provide themselves stuff for building…Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to fell timber, some to saw, some to rive, and some to carry.”

Francis Cooke, his house.

There’s something quite profound about the idea that these houses, one day, could simply biodegrade and become the earth which gives us more trees in order to build more houses. It’s the circle of life. If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, living in a sustainably harvested timber-framed home is the way to go. Furthermore, the stuff our artisans get up to is downright awesome and should be celebrated.

5) Off-Grid Living

1627 Plymouth is lit by candles made from renewable sources (beeswax or tallow). History was the original inventor of composting toilets (aka a dung heap). The water comes from “a very sweet brook [that] runs under the hill side, and many delicate springs of as good water as can be drunk” (Mourt’s, again). What more can you possibly need?

6) Non-GMO Corn

If you’re a follower of the organic food movement, you know what I mean by this. Everyone and their mum wants to eat pesticide-free veggies and drink milk from grass-fed cows. Moreover, these foodies agree that the only food that should contain corn is corn itself, and if at all possible, that corn should not be genetically engineered.

Not only is the native corn untampered with scientifically, it’s grown completely organically. Every year, in the spring time, the herring run up the brook to spawn. And every year, in the spring, the herring was taken from the brook and used as fertiliser.

Isaac de Rasiere, a visitor to Plymouth in 1627 describes the process:

…and they draw out the fish with baskets, each according to the land he cultivates, and carry them to it, depositing in each hill three or four fishes, and in these they plant their maize which grows as luxuriantly therein as though it were the best manure in the world.

We bemesten de grond met haring, Meneer de Rasiere!

7) Hats

It’s hip to be hatted. ‘Nough said.

 hip.

 

 

 

We’d also very much like to wish you a “Happy New Year” from those of us who keep the Old Style calendar!

It’s 1627 again!

 

 

 

Sea Fever.

March 13th, 2014 by Alexandra

These troubles being blown over, and now all being compact together in one ship, they put to sea again with a prosperous wind, which continued for divers days together…

- William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation

It takes a lot to get me out of bed before the sun rises (the promise of coffee helps), but a few days ago I had the privilege of witnessing a sight that made it worth it: Mayflower II out for a morning sail in Plymouth Harbor. She first set out under tow with the morning tide, before going under full sail in the deeper parts of the harbor (Our modern harbor has been dredged, which allows Mayflower II to come up directly to Plymouth’s State Pier, but Mourt’s Relation tells us that in 1620 Mayflower “drew so much water, that she lay a mile and almost a half off” in the harbor).  While the sail was short, it did provide the valuable opportunity for a crew to undergo some sail training, and as luck would have it, the weather cooperated better than could possibly be expected for the beginning of March.  The sail itself went smoothly, and when it was over Mayflower II‘s crew arrived, in the words of William Bradford, “in a good harbor, and brought safe to land…again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth.”

There isn’t a much better backdrop nature could provide than a beautiful sunrise, so enjoy some images of Mayflower II in her natural habitat – out to sea!

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky

“Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven, who had brought them over the vast, and furious ocean…” – William Bradford

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

“Wednesday. the sixth of September, the wind coming east-north-east, a fine small gale, we loosed from Plymouth…” – Mourt’s Relation

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking

“And I have learned by this voyage that God hath made the seas more for use than pleasure…” – Emmanuel Altham

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking

“…the wind came fair and we put to sea again, and came safely into a safe harbor…” – Mourt’s Relation

If you want more news about the continued restoration and upkeep of Mayflower II, be sure to check out her Captain’s Blog. And if you want to visit her in person, Plimoth Plantation – which also includes the 1627 English Village, Wampanoag Indigenous Program, and Plimoth Grist Mill – opens for its 68th season on Saturday March 15. See you there!

April, Come She Will

March 10th, 2014 by Sally

April, come she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

June, she’ll change her tune,
In restless walks she’ll prowl the night;
July, she will fly,
And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September I’ll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.

- Paul Simon

Last winter, I wrote a little (and made a video) about taking the high road. It’s not the easiest road to take, but it is guaranteed to be the most beautiful. This year’s high road video, as a reflection on what has passed and in preparation of what is to come, is a collection of photographs from one point of view. Yes, technically it’s three minutes of the same scene, but in reality, that same scene is ever-changing with the seasons of the year, the events of our work day and that particular morning’s mood. Almost all of these photos were taken around 9am. The first of them was taken in March 2013, the last in February 2014 –  that’s an entire year of pictures. Taking in this singular prospect as often as I do, I try to pause and take it in, appreciate it for all that it is, and recognise how incredibly fortunate I am to consider this my “office”.

This video also features some of my all-time favourite musicians (and that’s saying a lot); early music heroes The Hilliard Ensemble who are about as good at rocking the plainchant as it can ever possibly get, and Norway’s finest Jan Garbarek himself, a jazz saxophonist who has played with the greats (check out Belonging with pianist Keith Jarrett for a start). I saw him live once, but that’s another story for another place…

So make yourself a cup of tea, turn up the volume on whatever device you might be listening on, sit back, relax and enjoy the extraordinary beauty of our English Village through the seasons.

The 2014 Winter Work Olympic Games

February 13th, 2014 by Sally

While we at They Knew They Were Pilgrims take some respite from perpetual 1620/27, we try to keep up with current events in “real” life. So, with the 2014 Winter Olympics underway, I got to thinking about how December-February at the Museum are sort of like an international sporting event of our very own, except without the extensive media coverage, sponsorship and medal ceremony. No, we don’t staff the Village, Homesite, Mayflower II or Plimoth Grist Mill. But that doesn’t mean that we all stop working. I’d even go so far as to say that working in the winter is tougher. It’s certainly less rewarding. There are no children to delight with pig guts, no British tourists to impress with your knowledge of the town they are from, no escaping from technology. The things that need to be done in the winter are that of necessity. Investing in the program so that when we do open our doors to visitors again (March 15th – be there.) they won’t even know we weren’t there all along. So we’re basically working our collective bottoms off for not much in the way of glory or recognition.

Humbling, don’t you think?

If you feel a sense of déjà vu while reading this post, that’s because we’ve all been here before. Much like being stuck in 1627 each season in the Village, the off-season doesn’t feature much variation, either. Thanks for following us so closely! So here follows a small sampling of the 2014 Winter Work Olympic Events we’ve been competing recently.

Figure Scheduling

Not to be confused with it’s much faster and slantier cousin, Speed Scheduling, Figure Scheduling features the incredibly dangerous triple Excel file. That’s an ice skating joke, for those who weren’t sure. Sorry. It wasn’t my best. Our supervisors have been working on the incredibly complex task of casting us all as residents of New Plimoth, passengers and crew of the Mayflower and part-time molinologists. That might sound like a lot of fun, but from my perspective, it’s totally unenviable. Knowing who enjoys what, balancing experience with the need for a mentor, arranging Interpreters to avoid conundrums like all the houses at the bottom of the hill being empty on a Tuesday, making fake families that look convincing, taking into account our eclectic personalities, etc.; all of this requires wisdom, patience and careful consideration. I’ve seen the cast list, so I can officially confirm that this year is going to be a great one! I can also tell you that the Alden house will be the place to be…bet you can’t guess why ;-) !

Freestyle Pot Scrubbing

Kelley, working with various and sundry other people throughout the winter, has been cleaning up and restoring our reproduction artifacts. We think she deserves a gold medal for this. Every winter, the houses are emptied out and the artifacts literally piled up to sort through. Anyone who spends even the smallest amount of time working in Curatorial over the winter is exposed to insane amounts of grubbiness. Nine months worth of dust, smoke, grease and grime has to be removed to make those kettles so shiny that even a Dutch housewife would be proud.

thanks to Alex for this picture of insane amounts of grubbiness

 

Darning Moguls

The lovely ladies in the Historic Clothing and Textiles Department have done mountains of laundry, repaired our authentically dirty and worked-in clothing and darned hundreds of tiny holes, moth- or otherwise.

untitled

Sadly, we said goodbye to the amazingly talented Johanna Tower who is off to invest time in her education. We miss you already, JT. She did leave us with a parting gift – a whole host of new hats, so expect to see them exhibited in all their fabulous hatty glory this season!

JT

 

Wood Hucking

Yes, I said hucking. That’s a technical term. There’s a lot of wood hucking going on right now. Specifically, there’s firewood processing for the 2015 season’s cooking fires. After the wood for burning is split using a hydraulic splitter, it’s HUCKED into a truck and the truck HUCKS the wood into a pile:

output_GxthR9

Please accept my sincerest apologies if this .gif made you a tad motion sick…

Once the truck has done its hucking, the wood is hand-hucked into a rick of wood:

wood rick, dusted with snow

“Hydraulic splitter? Chainsaw?” I hear you say. “I thought you guys were into hand tools, traditional methods and all that jazz?” This is what we consider one of our thoughtful compromises that saves time and money. Some of the twistiest, gnarliest, knotted wood (that we can’t use for much else) can be thrown through the splitter to make it small enough to burn. Just watch out for The Dreaded Chainsaw Marks:

this is enough to make our historically accurate stomachs churn..

I’ll put this one face down in the fire – it’s a dead giveaway to those in the know.

Artisan Biathlon*

Timber Framing

Our Interpretive Artisans have been working hard on the next steps towards completion of the Francis Cooke house in the English Village. So far, this has involved some serious joint cutting. Here’s Steve, Jason and a special guest cutting the mortises and tenons that join the rafters at the peak of the roof (tenons go IN to mortises, like tenants go IN to apartments…).

image

image

image

Next on the list was to cut the collar ties that will hold the rafters at the appropriate angle. If you imagine the roof as an “A” shape, the collar tie is the cross piece that, once raised, will be parallel to the ground. There’s one collar tie cut like this for each gable end.

image

Then came another Olympic event, that is to prepare the purlins.

Alpine Lumberjacking

Purlins run horizontally along the length of the house in order to fix the distance of the principal rafters from one another. This way, Goodman Cooke’s roof won’t fall simultaneously into the street and into his Goodwife’s garden leaving the poor Cooke children stuck under a big pile of thatch. They will be joined onto the inside of the roof frame with that weird looking joint on the collar tie:

collar ta

Usually, when a timber of this size is needed, that is to say 20-foot long, and large enough in diameter to hew out a 6×8 inch log, we buy it. But thanks to the generosity of Gloriana Davenport at Tidmarsh Farms, the guys went to a snowy island in the middle of a marsh and found two trees that would fit the bill, and felled them themselves. That’s all well and good, actually, it’s really a pretty thrilling process for those involved…BUT…once a tree has been dislocated from its roots, it has to be relocated for its use. And those are some HEAVY trees.

So we all trekked off to the marsh on a fairly cold, but not too wet day last week to fetch those trees out of the woods. Here’s Steve (AKA The Lone Woodsman) getting rid of any awkward branches before we started the moving:

just one man and his broad axe

With a bit of cunning and ingenuity, the first purlin came down this hill, over a sheet of ice, round a corner and back up a hill into the truck.

image

The second timber was almost a straight shot down hill. For this, we tried using a dreg which may not have been designed exactly for this use. As you can see, it was a big help most of the way:

image

Long story short, we picked up all the rest of the wood that is needed to frame the roof that day. The other timbers in the truck are mostly destined to become common rafters; the rafters that belong in the mid-section of the roof between the more structurally significant, shape-holding principal rafters (the ones whose joints were being cut above).

image

And Steve and Jason got to hewing in the parking lot, just like old times

tandem hewing - another olympic event?

Tandem Hewing – another Olympic event.

Jason’s professional photographer and wife, Amanda MacDonald, kindly sent me a these shots of parking lot hewing last week. They are so stunningly beautiful that I couldn’t just share one with you all. She’s really good, check out her website!

I'd say that's pretty plumb

 Thanks Amanda!

There’s even some proof that I’ve done some work this winter!

artisan chic

 

*You’d think that a biathlon would always refer to just two events, you know, like a triathlon is three, but apparently the Winter Olympics Biathlon is as many cross-country skiing and rifle shooting events as the IOC thinks we might enjoy.  This year, “across the 11 events, biathletes cover distances of between six and 20km, stopping at a shooting range either two or four times to fire at five targets – sometimes as small as golf balls – from 50m.” Likewise, the Artisans carry pieces of wood of between three and 20-foot long, covering distances of between ten feet and five miles, stopping at a riving brake/chopping block/hydraulic splitter/parking lot to make that wood somehow smaller and a different shape. New job description, guys?

Ice Ice Baby

December 16th, 2013 by Sally

- Vanilla Ice

It’s off-season here, and with that comes a change of pace. Now, we have time to reflect on the season that has passed, and invest in the season that is to come. It’s not all easy, and it’s certainly not all fun and games, but it’s necessary and sometimes humbling work.

…this cold messenger will blow afresh, commanding every man to his house, forbidding any to outface him without prejudice to their noses.
-William Wood

slip n' slide, anyone? literally...

slip n’ slide, anyone? literally…

Here’s to the grimy-pot-scrubbers, the splintery-wood-splitters and the frostbitten-snow-shovelers, the sudsy-laundry-doers and the harried-hay-haulers.

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
-William Blake

what's that you say? oh right, MOO!

what’s that you say? oh right, MOO!

So much of this work is intended to go unnoticed by our guests; village maintenance, preserving artifacts and making them anew, patching and mending our clothes. When we open in March, it’ll all be lived in, used, and worn, just like we always have.

It blowed and did snow all that day and night, and froze withal.
-Mourt’s Relation

hold it together kids, stiff upper drip and all that...

hold it together kids, stiff upper drip and all that…

How quickly we forget the winter, once spring is here!

 In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow

And keep eternal springtime on thy face.

-William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus III.i.20-21

ooooh...you're looking for Hansel and Gretel? Just follow the bread crumbs..

ooooh…you’re looking for Hansel and Gretel? Just follow the bread crumbs..

Not only that, but it’s COLD!

Winter is Coming.
-Eddard Stark

Never catch snowflakes with your tongue until all the birds have gone south for the winter.

Never catch snowflakes with your tongue until all the birds have gone south for the winter.

And sometimes it’s just one of those “two right handed gloves” kind of days.

Baby, it’s cold outside.
-Frank Loesser

he's so right, it's WRONG!

he’s so right, it’s WRONG!

 

We’ll miss you when you’re gone, Josh!

The Big Bang(s) Theory

December 3rd, 2013 by Sally

 

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we like to end our interpretive season with a metaphorical bang. This year, we decided to end it quite literally with a bang, or two Bangs, to be precise. Last weekend, November 30th, 1627(2013), Lydia Hicks of New Plimoth, the oldest daughter of Robert and Margaret, married Edward Bangs of New Plimoth. And a good time was had by all. I halved my age for the day and played a 15/16 year old Lydia, and Edward was graciously played by the fantastic Ian Butkowsky who added a similar number of years to his age. In the words of William Shakespeare, and as (perhaps) Edward said to Lydia on their wedding night:

You’ll bear me a Bang(s) for that, I fear. Proceed; directly.

Julius Caesar, III.iii.18-19.

Can I just tell you how strange it feels to make your own fake wedding video with pictures that your (long-suffering) real husband took?

This just leaves me to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to making this year a whole lot of fun. Thank you to the Mayflower II crew who stuck it out on the dockside while the ship was “out sick”. Thank you to our intrepid team at the Plimoth Grist Mill for an excellent first year of their daily grind. Thank you to everyone who has worked in the English Village for remembering that it’s not really 1627 and therefore nobody has to die. Thanks to all our volunteers for willingly giving of their time to contribute to all of our programs. And finally, thank you to people like YOU (yes, you!), blog readers, museum members, one-time or many-time visitors, for coming along with us on this journey. We love you all!

 

Take that, 2013 Season. We showed you who’s boss.

 

 

 

Thanksgivukkah 2013!

November 29th, 2013 by Sally

It’s not like us at They Knew They Were Pilgrims to miss out on an opportunity to write about something really unusual, so when our fellow Interpreter, Malka Benjamin, said that she’d like to write about the REALLY unusual, calendar-clashing, double-booking of the next thousand centuries, we said “Yes please!”. Here’s a little bit about what this year’s Thanksgiving-Chanukah special means to our good friend, co-worker and blog supporter. Thank you, Malka, for sharing this with us!

 

Thanksgiving is special every year, and all the more so when you have the privilege of working at Plimoth Plantation, mecca of all things Thanksgiving-related. But this year, for me, Thanksgiving is extra special because it overlaps with the first day of Chanukah – thus creating the holiday of  “Thanksgivukkah!”

Chanukah, also known as the “Festival of Lights” is a post-biblical holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was defiled by the Greek Hasmoneans. (Later Rabbinic tradition ascribes the length of the holiday, eight days, to the miracle of the oil – when the Maccabees re-entered the desecrated temple and wanted to relight the sacred menorah, they could only find enough pure oil for one day. However, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to produce more sacred oil!)

In case you are wondering why everyone is making such a big deal out of “Thanksgivukkah,” it’s because this special confluence last happened in 1888, and won’t happen again for another 79,043 years! This is because the dates of Thanksgiving and Chanukah are determined by two different calendars. Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday of November. America follows the Gregorian calendar, which is a solar calendar. Chanukah always starts on the same date in the Hebrew calendar, the 25th of Kislev, but the Hebrew calendar is lunar – it’s based on the cycles of the moon. Which is why Jewish holidays, while they always fall during the same time of year, seem to move around a little. Due to the various exigencies of these two calendars, this year the first day of Chanukah is also the same day as Thanksgiving – it won’t happen again in any of our lifetimes!

secret menorahs in 1627? whatever next...

The Warren household kept Chanukah this year. This is Malka’s Pilgrim version of a Menorah.

As the resident “Kosher Pilgrim” in the 17th Century English Village this confluence is pretty exciting! In my non-pilgrim life, when I’m not attempting to come off as a devout Protestant 8 hours a day, I am an active, practicing Jew. My faith has led to some interesting obstacles, and some interesting opportunities while working at Plimoth Plantation.

I have to admit, before starting to work at the Plantation, I didn’t know all that much about Christianity beyond the basics, so trying to figure out where and how the Separatists, and the Church of England, fit into everything was a bit of a challenge. I had no framework. However, since the Separatists are basically Old Testament Christians, I found my Jewish day school education, with its focus on the Torah (what Christians call the Old Testament) and the book of Judges, to come in quite handy!

As a practicing Jew, I observe the laws of Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), which means I only eat certain types of meat that has been raised and slaughtered in a specific way – and none of the meat we cook onsite fits that criteria. So, this presents the mundane, day-to-day challenges like attempting to cook a tasty turkey pottage in character without ever actually taste-testing it myself, or laying the board (eating a meal) in front of visitors, without every actually eating any of the meat or shellfish dishes. (Next time you visit, watch carefully!) Then, last year, when I was selected to play the bride in our yearly 17th-century nuptials, Kathleen Wall, our intrepid Foodways Culinarian, was faced with the challenge of creating an entire 17th-century wedding feast that I could actually eat, since all Pilgrim brides do is pose for pictures and eat on their “wedding” day.

 

 

So of course, last week when my father and I decided we needed to write a Thanksgivukkah song, we chose to parody “We Be Soldiers Three,” a popular early 17th-century English song about soldiers returning from fighting in the Low Countries!

 

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

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