The Feast Of Thanksgiving
As the year moves quickly forward I begin to contemplate Thanksgiving, what it means, how it started, how we celebrate, why it’s important, etc.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It has all the food, relatives and good cheer of other special holidays but it centers on being grateful as opposed to receiving gifts or eating candy. I believe an Attitude of Gratitude is what life is about, or should be about. I’ve heard it said that even if you’re down on your luck you can always look around and see someone doing better, but look a little further and you can also see someone worse off. At my house before we delight in the turkey and trimmings we go around the table and say what we’re grateful for. To me that’s much more rewarding than a store-bought gift. I love hearing what those close to me are appreciative of and sometimes you hear the most interesting things. Some are grateful for the turkey, some are thankful that they’ve survived a surgery. Some are minor and some are major life-changing things but for all we come to the table with thanks.
Growing up in a military family we were stationed at different bases around the country. We celebrated with grandparents or great aunts and uncles when they were able to come. Whether relatives were there or not I don’t remember many meals when others weren’t invited to join us. With my mother’s cooking, our table was usually full! I loved waiting and listening to what all present were grateful for and it spurred me to live a life with more gratitude.
In the “Prairie Country Quarterly” this month I saw these interesting fasts listed:
*What we consider the first Thanksgiving is thought to have taken place in November 1621.
*Since the Pilgrims had no ovens, and their sugar had all but run out, there were no pies, cakes, or desserts at that first Thanksgiving.
*Lobster, seals, and swans were served at the first Thanksgiving.
*The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days!
Well, these days we still celebrate in November but I must admit we can’t seem to do without our apple and pumpkin pies. We’re always happy to smell and then devour that turkey, and a three-day celebration sounds fabulous!
Here is an 18th Century recipe for Onion Pie, apparently a favorite in those times:
Wash and pare some potatoes and cut them in slices, peel some onions, cut them in slices, pare some apples and slice them, make a good crust, cover your dish, lay a quarter of a pound of butter all over, take a quarter of an ounce of mace beat fine, a nutmeg grated, a tea-spoonful of beaten pepper, three tea-spoonfuls of salt; mix all together, strew some over the butter, lay a layer of potatoes, a layer of onions, a layer of apples, and a layer of eggs, and so on till you have filled your pie, strewing a little of the seasoning between each layer, and a quarter of a pound of butter in bits, and six spoonfuls of water; close your pie, and bake it an hour and a half. A pound of potatoes, a pound of onions, a pound of apples, and twelve eggs will do. Glasse, Hannah, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy”
And in case you’d prefer the 21st Century version, I’ll include it too:
4 small Yukon Gold potatoes 2 large Granny Smith apples
2 medium yellow onions 8 large eggs
3 tsp. Kosher salt 1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
to 1 grated nutmeg to 1 tsp. mace
4 oz. butter frozen puff pastry or homemade pie crust
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Boil and slice the eggs.
Pare and slice the potatoes, apples and onions. Slice everything inch thick. Place the apples and potatoes in a bowl of water to prevent oxidation.
Roll out the bottom crust and set it into the pie pan.
Mix the salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace to together in a single bowl.
Drain and dry the apples and potatoes with a towel.
Begin the layers from the bottom up with potatoes, then eggs, then apples and then onions. Sprinkle each layer with a little of the seasoning and little bits of butter. Continue filling and seasoning the pie until you are out of ingredients.
Put a top crust on the pie and crimp the edges. Cut 4 or 5 slashes on top crust to allow steam to vent out.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown.
Whether you’re having Onion Pie or some other delectable, as long as you have a spirit of gratefulness and are surrounded by those you care about I know it will be delicious!
From our home to yours: Happy Thanksgiving!