If you have visited us at #SweetbriarRose, it is probably evident that family is incredibly important to us. One of the reasons we wanted to start this business was for our family to be able to build something together and that we, as a family, could serve the community around us.
Thanksgiving is a day that inspires us to take stock of our lives and what is around us. We are incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped make Sweetbriar Rose a success. We have loved meeting you and getting to know so many of you since we opened in the summer. We know we will get to be friends with even more of you as time goes on and for that we are excited!
While we will be closed on Thursday, we will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We would love for you to stop by for a Thanksgiving-themed sandwich (if you can handle more turkey!) and a glass of beer or wine to wash it down. We will have all our everyday food, beverages, and shopping, as well. We would love to be a small part of your holiday if you are in the area.
Most of us know that Thanksgiving is based on the harvest meal held by Pilgrims in 1621. Today, most people enjoy the day with family, food, and football. However, and whoever, you celebrate this special day with, we pray it’s a blessing filled time.
How much do we know about that first Thanksgiving? What was involved in the meal? Here’s a little history for you to peruse while you are prepping your meal for your friends and family to enjoy or watching football or the parade.
History of the Meal
The first Thanksgiving happened in November of 1621 when Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians gathered together at Plymouth to celebrate the harvest season. But, did their menu look like ours?
We know that the colony’s governor, William Bradford, ordered four men to go on a “fowling” mission. There are no records of domestic turkey, but there was most undoubtedly wild game. The men could have brought back any number of different kinds of birds. Whatever the bird was, it was most likely not stuffed with breading, rather herbs, onions, or nuts were probably used for taste. It is reported that Wampanoag Indians arrived with five deer to share, so there was no shortage of meat.
When it comes to sides, there are some educated guesses about what was enjoyed, but the dishes most likely came from their recent harvest that was successful with the help of the Indians. We know that onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, and peas were grown early, as well as corn. It is likely a variety of these vegetables were included, though the corn was most likely the corn was made into a porridge that might have been sweetened with Molasses.
We also know that fruits such as blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, and cranberries grew in the region. Though cranberries might have been eaten that day, they were not cooked in a sweetened sauce, as the sugar was nearly depleted. The earliest known cranberry sauces like we enjoy were cooked around 50 years later.
One thing most people don’t cook on Thanksgiving today that was most certainly enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Indians was a variety of fish and shellfish. Mussels were readily available in New England and easily harvested. They might have also enjoyed lobster, bass, clams, or oysters.
Potatoes were fairly new to Europeans having only been introduced to them around 1570. Because they were not incredibly popular to Europeans, they weren’t brought to the New World, and they hadn’t started growing here yet. Most likely the Pilgrims and Indians did not get to enjoy the starchy goodness of mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole.
Pumpkins were a common food among Indians and Pilgrims alike. The chances are good that pumpkins were enjoyed at the meal, but not in pie form. As mentioned, sugar was dangerously low, if any was left, and the colonists were in short supply of butter and wheat flour. More importantly, there were no ovens for baking. Some accounts credit the colonists with hollowing out the gourd, filling it with milk, spices, and honey to make a custard, then roasting that in hot ashes. Yum.
However the first Thanksgiving was celebrated, we can appreciate the sentiment, and also be thankful for the modern advances that let us enjoy pumpkin pie!
So, we hope you have a fabulous day eating too much of food that most likely wasn't enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Indians, then stop by and see us Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!