The First Feast Project, Part 1: Tracking the First Thanksgiving Feast

Reader Contribution by Kiara Ashanti
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Halloween is over, signaling the official end of the fall season and the beginning of the holiday season. Sooner than most are ready, it will be time to dust off the roasting pans, pull out the spare table and chairs, and stuff our faces for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on giving thanks for the blessings we have but are often overlooked, visiting seldom-seen family, and celebrating that historic first feast between Pilgrims and Indians in 1692.

But have you ever wondered what exactly was eaten at the First Feast?

It’s a question that popped into my mind last year, as I reflected on another holiday spent away from family and friends. I cannot say what spurred the question, but once formed in my mind, I was obsessed with knowing the answer.

Lucky for me, there is this neat little tool I have called Google. After typing in the query, I had my answer in 10 minutes. (That may seem long to many people, but you should never go with the first pages of results from a Google search.)

Some of the foods, such as peas and onions, were familiar. The presence of the grand bird, turkey, is a little murky. While things like clams were a complete surprise. The research made it clear that the traditional, “modern” menu of turkey, potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce is as far off as the beginnings of the holiday itself.

The research was interesting, but then another thought occurred to me — one that sent me into the realm of “extra-ness,” an urban term used to describe someone who goes, perhaps, a little too far. The thought was a simple one:

It would be so cool to recreate the First Feast!

Grow the vegetables the people ate; hunt and fish for the meats that were served. It sounded like the perfect project to try and to write about. Which is the purpose of the “First Feast” blog posts on MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Follow me as I write and describe the process of capturing, growing, and cooking all the foods the Pilgrims and Indians ate together on that fateful fall day in 1692. Follow along as I share the process, recipes, and pictures of the garden plot where the vegetables are growing.

On the day of Thanksgiving, I will be sharing a video on all that we put together and prepared for a large gathering of friends.

It’s going to be tough, fun, and interesting. Just like the list of foods that really did laden the tables of the Pilgrims and Indians. And just what were those foods? Well, you are just going to have to catch the next post to find out.

Click here to read Part 2of the First Feast Project.

Painting The First Thanksgiving 1621, oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899), courtesy U.S. Library of Congress

Kiara Ashanti is originally from the cold state of New Jersey. He attended college in sunny Florida and graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Speech Communication. He loves taking on new projects and is the author of over 200 articles ranging from trading securities, politics, social policy, and celebrity interviews. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog posts here.

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