Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

“as one small candle may light a thousand…”

November 28th, 2013 by KM Wall

Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; ….

William Bradford Of Plymouth Plantation. Morison edition, p. 236.

Pieter Claeszn - still life with lit candle

Pieter Claesz – still life with lit candle

Today is Thanksgiving and  Hanukkah – Thanksgivukkah, a day when two holidays meet on the table.

Menurkey - the menorah and the turkey

Menurkey – the menorah and the turkey

Shine brightly in however you observe the day.


National Indian Pudding Day

November 13th, 2013 by KM Wall

Sampe Fest wasn’t just about Jonnycakes….

It was also about Indian Pudding. Or as it was sometimes referred to:

Indian-meal Pudding

Samp Fest 2013

Samp Fest 2013

Big Batch Indian Pudding

3 Quarts milk

2 cups cornmeal (Plimoth Grist Mill cornmeal is the best!)

1 jar (12 ounces) molasses (non-sulphered or mild)

1 stick butter (1/4 pound)

6 eggs

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tsp ginger



Butter a large slow cooker and pre-heat on high.

Use a large heavy bottomed pan on the stove (so the milk doesn’t scorch). The milk will rise up when it heats, so give it plenty of room. When the milk is just under a boil (lots of bubbles forming), whisk in the cornmeal; keep stirring until the cornmeal thickens about 10-15 minutes. Add the rest of the butter, turn off the heat and cover the pan.

Beat the eggs with the molasses and the spices.

Add some of the hot corn/milk mixture to temper the eggs and then add that to the rest of the corn mixture. Blend thoroughly. Scrape into the buttered, pre-heat slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or light cream…..



Raisins, cranberries or chopped apples may be added into the slow cooker, either a little or a lot.

There’s a real divide with the fruit people – they love it or hate it!


It’s also good re-heated for breakfast.

 Cinnamon whipped cream is also pretty heavenly….

plimoth grist mill prodcut





October 24th, 2013 by KM Wall

Fashion has the September Issue, but Thanksgiving is all about the November Issues….the stories and angles that magazines think will sell/mark/brand the Thanksgiving holiday in any given year.

The marketing of today is the myth of tomorrow…..

Other then only the briefest mention of Thanksgivukkah

Thanksgivukkah is a pop-culture portmanteauneologism given to the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Thursday, November 28, 2013 – wiki


The through line for 2013 seems to be:




Pi Pie

Pi Pie

And then they suggest all sorts of easy outs, like BUY PIE or make cake or have some one else bring it or…..

The real hangup, the sticking point, the detail that is the Devil, is the crust.

Butter v. Lard

Precise measure


Vodka even.


Don’t they know








Pie is not difficult – pie is easy . Our Early Modern English Housewife made pies all the time.

Without measuring cups.

Without refrigerators.

Without dread or whining.

Often the crust preparation was referred to as ‘paste’. Paste is easy. Really.

So from now through Twelfth Night, Fridays are Pie Days  – each Friday a little lesson in making pie.

Except for this Friday, which is the feast of Crispin Crispinian, and I’ve been waiting all year to go once more into the breech, dear friends.



BTS – A Turkey Tale

October 18th, 2013 by KM Wall
Wild turkey in the English Village, 9:15 AM

Wild turkey in the English Village, 9:15 AM some morning, say Saturday – they’re around pretty much every morning….

Shift change - they' pretty much slip away as we're setting up

Shift change – they pretty much slip away as we’re setting up


Turkey in the Colonial Foodways Kitchen - NOT the same turkey, or even one of the flock; a Heritage breed from Westport

Turkey in the Colonial Foodways Kitchen Monday afternoon – NOT the same turkey, or even one of his flock; a Heritage breed from Westport. Notice a breast that’s more Twiggy then Dolly Parton.


7 AM Tuesday. Kathy plates and pack, plenty of Dunkies. How did the Pilgrims ever do it without coffee?

7 AM Tuesday.  Kathy plates and packs; plenty of Dunkies. How did the Pilgrims ever do it without coffee?

Bounty-ful Still Life -: a still life with paper towels. Prep fro a video shoot Tuesday AM

Bounty-ful Still Life -: a still life with paper towels. Prep for a video shoot Tuesday 8:30 AM

Props - the bird doesn't sit evenly, so onion shims go in under the oppisite camera side

Props – the bird doesn’t sit evenly, so onion shims go in under the opposite camera side


Grace Moment - the calm before the crew and cast

Grace Moment – the calm before the crew and cast storm in

Also Behind The Scenes – Martha getting all the stuff where it needed to be when it needed to be there and looking good.

On the table  – Duck with a cranberry onion sauce, quails boiled with carrots, sampe, roast turkey with onion sauce.




Vegetable Pies

August 18th, 2013 by KM Wall

Fruit pie -sure.

Apple pie

Apple pie



Meat pie – why, yes.

Homemade meat pie

Homemade meat pie

Egg pies ? Custard. National Vanilla Custard Day was August 16th, FYI

coconut custard pie

coconut custard pie

Bacon pies? Isn’t that  what quiche is?

Claude Lorrain

Claude Lorrain

Oops – quiche Lorraine




But veggies? In pies?

There are pies for parsnips



and pies for skirrets



artichoke pies



and pie for potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato pie is still found on Thanksgiving tables….and some of the 17th century versions would still serve any special occasion.



Boyle your Potatoes tender and blanch them; slice them but not very thin, and mix them with some apple pared and sliced: season them with Cynamon, Ginger, Sugar & Salt. Your Pie being made, put in these meats with a good store of marrow on the top, being cut into lumps as big as a walnut : pour a little verjuyce on the Pye and close it; being baked put to it verjuyce, sugar, butter, cynamon, and ginger, beat up thick together, cut up the lid, and fill it with the leare , raising it up with a knife to let in the liquor. You must put in Butter when you close up the Pie to bake it, otherwise it will burn in the oven, they being of very dry substance. Less then two hours will bake it. Scrape Sugar on it, and serve it up hot.

1654. Joseph Cooper. The Art of Cookery Refin’d and Augmented.


Sweet potato flower



Happy First Thanksgiving !

August 6th, 2013 by KM Wall

August sixth is the anniversary of the First Thanksgiving.  No, not THAT First Thanksgiving, what with 1621 being a little more then 150 years in our past, but the first declaration of a National Thanksgiving. In these United States.

We can thank old Honest Abe for this, and for his repeating the whole Thanksgiving thing again in November of 1863, beginning the holiday that we all know and love and cook too much and eat our fill and more on.

Abraham Lincoln in 1863

Abraham Lincoln in 1863

The confusion lies in that thanksgiving is a concept as well as a holiday. So, giving thanks is something that goes back long before 1621 and is practiced by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. Secular holidays are really a product of the modern era, and get their start in the early modern era. For Europeans – and Englishmen are European regardless of the whole island thing -  holidays – that is Holy Days - go back to the medieval (make that Roman Catholic) Church. The quarter days and cross quarter days that divide up the calendar are holidays, every one, starting with the start of the year March 25 which is Ladymas, through Christmas and onto Candlemas.

So, what happens when people protest the form of the Church, and try to reform it, to purify it? They start to ditch the holidays….but when do they get to get together and celebrate, rejoice, let off some steam?

Oops. Major Glitch.

In England, some start to celebrate Elizabeth’s Coronation – her Crownaton Day (November 17) on a regular basis after her coronation. A state holiday is born! Under James I there is his (and Parliaments) salvation from certain death and destruction by gunpowder with November 5th being a day of thanksgiving.

Gunpowder Plot conspirators - burn the Guy!

Gunpowder Plot conspirators – burn the Guy!

Gunpowder Plot Day being celebrated in England 2010

Gunpowder Plot Day being celebrated in England 2010

And because August is all things piewise….well, Thanksgiving and pie isn’t much of a leap. There are the usual suspects  – apple, pumpkin, cranberry, mince – but today it’s about

Chicken Pie.

Chicken Pie shows up in 19th century Thanksgiving tables, and chicken pie show up on 17th century tables…..


 To bake a chicken pie.

To bake a chicken pie: after you have trussed your chickens, broken their legs and breast bones, and raised your crust of the best paste,  you shall lay them in the coffin close together with their bodies full of butter. Then lay upon them, and underneath them, currants, great raisins, prunes, cinnamon, sugar, whole mace, and salt: then cover all with great store of butter, and so bake it; after, pour into it the same liquor as you did your marrow bone pie, with the yolks of two or three eggs beaten amongst it, and so serve it forth.

-1631. Gervase Markham. The English Housewife , Best ed. p. 100.

Note: marrow bone pie liquor: ….white wine, rose-water, sugar, cinnamon, and vinegar mixed together….

Chickens – plural – once again indicates tiny birds. Truss is to tie them up. Breaking the bones release the marrow which makes a richer pie. It also makes it messier by 21st century standards, what with jagged bone bits and all. There is also something that is both primitive and goofy about beating a dead chicken in the kitchen.  Make raised coffins – and don’t forget a vent hole in the lid on it. Fill their bodies with butter (use your judgement – a good housewife should not be butter fingered – HA ) and surround them with raisins, currents (the dried ones, not the fresh ones) and prunes (now labeled dried plums, which they are, but still…) and cinnamon and sugar and salt and whole mace – if you don’t have a blade or two of mace to drop in, a little ground nutmeg will sub. More Butter! Put a lid on it (don’t forget the vent hole) and bake  long enough for the chicken to be done. Mix up the liquor – 2 or 3 beaten egg  yolk, some white wine, some rosewater, sugar cinnamon and vinegar. This is going to mix and mingle with the fruit, spice and BUTTER that’s already in the pie. Pour it into the pie.

Let cool enough before serving for the the sauce to settle (those egg yolks will cook in the hot butter and chicken juices) and not squirt hot butter all over the place – and you. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Serve it forth and be thankful.


Chicken Pie

Chicken Pie – thoroughly modern


Proclamation 103 – Day of Thanksgiving, Praise, and Prayer, August 6, 1863
July 15, 1863

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and prayers of an afflicted people and to vouchsafe to the Army and the Navy of the United States victories on land and on the sea so signal and so effective as to furnish reasonable grounds for augmented confidence that the Union of these States will be maintained, their Constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently restored. But these victories have been accorded not without sacrifices of life, limb, health, and liberty, incurred by brave, loyal, and patriotic citizens. Domestic affliction in every part of the country follows in the train of these fearful bereavements. It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father and the power of His hand equally in these triumphs and in these sorrows:

Now, therefore, be it known that I do set apart Thursday, the 6th day of August next, to be observed as a day for national thanksgiving, praise, and prayer, and I invite the people of the United States to assemble on that occasion in their customary places of worship and in the forms approved by their own consciences render the homage due to the Divine Majesty for the wonderful things He has done in the nation’s behalf and invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit to subdue the anger which has produced and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion, to change the hearts of the insurgents, to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to visit with tender care and consolation throughout the length and breadth of our land all those who, through the vicissitudes of marches, voyages, battles, and sieges, have been brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate, and finally to lead the whole nation through the paths of repentance and submission to the divine will back to the perfect enjoyment of union and fraternal peace. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 15th day of July, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State .



Their former Pumpkin Pies

August 3rd, 2013 by KM Wall


Tourte of pumpkin.
Boile it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds; let all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste; bake it. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve.”
- Francois Pierre La Varenne. The French Cook [1653], Translated into English in 1653 by I.D.G., Introduced by Philip and Mary Hyman [East Sussex: Southover Press} 2001 (p. 199-200)

This will make a pie that’s amazing like a most of the Pumpkin Pies that will be on our Thanksgiving tables. It does  seem a little ironic that the earliest pumpkin pie recipe to show up in England is from a translation from a French cookbook. And the ones that show up in English cookbooks are very different then the pumpkin pies we now know and love.

Edward Johnson in The Wonderworking Providence of Sion’s Savior in New England of 1654 says, “…so that in this poor Wilderness hath not onely equalized England in food, but goes beyond it in some places for the great plenty of wine and sugar, which is ordinarily spent, apples, pears, and quince tarts instead of their former Pumpkin Pies.” (p. 210, 1910 ed.)

Apple pie we still love; Pear pies we really don’t love enough; and as for Quince….when was the last time you had a really great Quince tart? Or even a meh one? But former Pumpkin Pies? Did New England give up Pumpkin Pie  – even when the fruit trees came in?


Bears, Hives and other strawberry dangers

June 30th, 2013 by KM Wall

Strawberries and bears? No, not a menu suggestion,  it’s a timing thing.

For the bears, they be common, being a great black kind of bear which be most fierce at strawberry time, at  which time they have young ones.

1634. William Wood. New Englands Prospect. p. 42.

Strawberry time is a phrase we should bring back.

Black bear

Black bear

Black bear that is brown - a cinnamon black bear

Black bear that is brown – a cinnamon black bear







Then there’s  hives. I know, you see the bears, and hear about hives and your thinking bees….

Bruegel The Beekeepers and the Bird Nester - 1568

Bruegel The Beekeepers and the Bird Nester – 1568

But I’m taking a moment to talk about the itchy, nasty on your skin, allergenic reaction  hives.  to quote Wikepedia

Some people experience an anaphylactoid reaction to the consumption of strawberries.[45] The most common form of this reaction is oral allergy syndrome, but symptoms may also mimic hay fever or include dermatitis or hives, and, in severe cases, may cause breathing problems. Some research suggests that the allergen may be tied to a protein involved in the ripening of fruits, which was named Fra a1 (Fragaria allergen1). Homologous proteins are found in birch and apple, which suggests that people may develop cross-reactivity to all three species.

White-fruited strawberry cultivars, lacking Fra a1, may be an option for strawberry allergy sufferers. Since they lack a protein necessary for normal ripening, they do not produce the flavonoids that turn the mature berries of other cultivars red.

If you get a little rash or hives with strawberries (like I do) please note – the next step up is NOT BREATHING. That’s anaphlactoid reaction in layman’s terms. If you allerigic to the berries, you may also have an allergic reaction to the fresh leaves (the flavonoid somehow dissipates when the the leaves are dried). Do not use fresh strawberry leaves if you’re allergic to strawberries.

But if you’re not allergic, then by all means enjoy. And when you’re done have your own little Strawberry Thanksgiving. As no doubt they did in Massachusetts Bay Colony when the Arabella arrived.

John Wintrop

John Wintrop

On June 12, 1630, John Winthrop wrote:

“We supped with a good venison pasty and good beer and at night we returned to our ship but some of the women stayed behind. In the meantime most of our people went on shore, which lay very near us, and gathered stores of fine strawberries.”



Adrian Coorte - clay pot with strawberries

Adrian Coorte – clay pot with strawberries

Custard Pie

November 24th, 2012 by KM Wall
Medieval pie baker on wheels (c. 1465-1475)

To bake a Custarde or Dowset
To bake an excellent Custard or Dowset; you shall take good store of egges, and putting away one quarter of the whites, beate them exceeding well in a bason, and then mixe with them the sweetest and thickest creame you can get, for if it be any thing thinne, the Custard will be wheyish; then season it with salt, sugar, cinamon, cloves, mace, and a little Nutmegge; which done raise your coffins of good tough wheate paste, being the second sort before spoke of, and if you please raise it in pretty workes, or angular formes, which you may doe by fixing the upper part of the crust to the nether with the yelks of egges: then when the coffins are ready, strow the bottomes a good thicknesse over with Currants and Sugar; then set them into the Oven, and fill them up with the confection before blended and so drawing them, adorne all the toppes with Carraway Cumfrets, and the slices of Dates prickt right up, and so serve them up to the table.

 -Gervase Markham, The English Housewife

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

November 22nd, 2012 by KM Wall

Next time, try the turkey WITHOUT the feathers!

That’s more like it!

Don’t forget to celebrate the corn – go ahead, be corny!

PS – there was more then ONE meal eaten in Plymouth Colony – if you’d like MORE Pilgrim Seasonings, become a subscriber. We’ll come right to your inbox.

Thank you, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for The Courtship of Myles Standish, a Plymouth Pilgrim

Thank you, Sarah Josepha Hale, godmother to our National Holiday of Thanksgiving

Thank you, Sarah Josepha Hale as Bobble-head

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