Professor At Washington And Lee Gives Students Taste Of Real Thanksgiving | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Professor At Washington And Lee Gives Students Taste Of Real Thanksgiving

Play associated audio
The modern American Thanksgiving turkey probably wasn't on pilgrims' plates centuries ago.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ammanteufel/2631513416
The modern American Thanksgiving turkey probably wasn't on pilgrims' plates centuries ago.

As you plan this year's Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to consider what the Pilgrims really ate. One Washington and Lee University professor wanted to give her students a taste.

Before heading home for the holidays, anthropologist Allison Bell invited her students to dine on what research shows the pilgrims actually ate.

"It's not even clear that there was turkey at the first Thanksgiving in 1621," Bell says. "Probably geese and duck would have been something that they encountered more easily than wild turkey."

Potatoes were also absent, and sweet potatoes were unknown to the masses in England and Massachusetts.

"Sweet potatoes were considered a delicacy at the time," Bell says. "They were even possibly considered an aphrodisiac."

Pumpkin pie was not on the menu, but eel and other seafoods were likely served. The meal prepared by Washington and Lee's executive chef featured of steamed mussels, roast duck and game hen, venison, lima beans, parsnips, carrots and black eyed peas. Students gave it rave reviews.

"Turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes — I'll eat them, but they're not my favorite," says one student. "I really prefer the venisons and the mussels and the duck."

"The parsnips were really good. I'd never had parsnips before, but they tasted like a cross between carrots and potatoes," says another student. "The mussels were really good. I'm going to petition at my house to like have mussels at Thanksgiving now."

And some got a kick out of eating pilgrim style. Forks were a new luxury in England at the time, so the first feast was likely consumed with spoons.

NPR

A Historic Backdrop Frames Forbidden Love In 'The Paying Guests'

Sarah Waters' latest novel, set in 1920s London, examines the moral consequences of passion. Though slightly too long, this book brings the past to life with exquisite clarity.
NPR

Before You Take A Bite Of That Mushroom, Consider This

Guess what scientists found lurking inside a common-looking packet of supermarket porcini? Three entirely new species of fungi. That's what happens when you DNA sequence your dinner.
NPR

Move To Curb U.S. Corporate Tax Dodges Could Delay Reform

Business and consumer groups say Congress needs to reform taxes, but few expect change soon. In fact, Treasury's tweaks to tax law may diminish the political will to address broader tax reform.
WAMU 88.5

Montgomery County's Drones Are Ready, But Policy Isn't

The county government has purchased four drones for use by its fire department and innovation office, but bureaucracy is keeping them grounded for now.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.