Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful Holiday

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and observed in all 50 states. 

The holiday originally was founded as a religious observance for community members to give thanks to God for a common purpose. Many years later it's the precursor to "Black Friday" sales (many of which have already started).

Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated as a federal holiday annually since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln designated a national day of thanksgiving and praise. It was to be observed on the last Thursday in November. The specific weekday seems to have been the "traditional" celebration day and was solidified by Lincoln's proclamation.

In 1941, Congress approved changing the holiday celebration to the fourth Thursday in November. The change had been recommended in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt who felt it would help bolster retail sales during one of the final years of the Great Depression. The proposed change  led to some protests as some derided the holiday as Franksgiving from 1939-1941.

Roosevelt was concerned concerned that a shorter holiday shopping season could dampen the economic recovery when there were five Thursdays in November (like this year).

It's been reported that more people in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving than they do Christmas. As to why — perhaps, it's because it's a secular rather than a religious celebration.

So why is turkey the favorite Thanksgiving main course ?

Most likely, in 1621, the Pilgrims of Plymouth didn't include turkey on what's widely considered the First Thanksgiving  While there were wild turkeys in the area, the best existing account of the Pilgrims' harvest feast comes from colonist Edward Winslow's writings of the feast with no mention of turkey. Winslow did cite that "wild fowl" were gathered for the meal, although these could have been ducks or geese.

Colonist William Bradford noted in journals reprinted in 1856 that colonists had hunted wild turkeys during the autumn of 1621. Since these are native to North America, it gained popularity with Americans as the holiday's bird of choice after Lincoln's declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Classic Thanksgiving dinners include a variety of side dishes and desserts. Many of these have been modified over the years; some are not even included at some tables.

Stuffing (or dressing) is usually a mix of bread cubes, chopped celery, carrots, onions and sage stuffed inside the turkey for roasting. Chestnuts, chopped bacon or sausage, and raisins or apples are sometimes included too.

There's been some debate on the term. Some argue that if it's cooked inside the turkey, it's stuffing. Others say when prepared outside, it's dressing. South of the Mason-Dixon line, cooks call it dressing, no matter how it's prepared, because "stuffing" is an unpleasant word. Northern states and New Englanders usually call it "stuffing" with no distinction as to whether it's done in or out of the turkey.

Side dishes are often regional favorites. In the South, Thanksgiving isn't complete without corn pudding and bacon-infused Brussels sprouts or other greens. Midwesterners love green bean casserole (so do we). A New England table isn't complete without Parker House rolls. But beyond the regional divide, some folks can pile their plate with candied yams and glazed carrots, while the person next to them would prefer mac and cheese.

Dessert usually includes pumpkin pie as the most common, followed closely by pecan, apple, sweet potato and mincemeat pies.

Our holiday will include many of these foods, but we won't be cooking any of them. We're traveling to our native NJ and spending the holiday with family. We're providing another accompaniment — the wine.

We're thankful for many things.

Grenville & I wish everyone Everyone a happy gathering with family/friends or both.


Sandra said...

bob is a yankee and says stuffing, I am a rebel and say dressing.. either way we will celebrate the holiday by eating out and I will not eat dressing or stuffing.. happy Thanksgiving

Blogoratti said...

Always good to give thanks, have a happy celebration!

William Kendall said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Emma Springfield said...

I will be eating turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, corn, dressing, cranberries, dinner rolls, and pumpkin pie. I am starting my cooking today.

Red said...

Happy Thanksgiving. You've given a great account of favorite foods for Thanksgiving.

Karen Lakis said...

Have a wonderful thanksgiving!

Valerie said...

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving. We don't have one in the UK but that doesn't stop me from giving thanks privately. After all, I have a lot to be grateful for.

diane b said...

Thanks for the explanation for us who don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

Lynn said...

Actually - in my south, we have many casseroles (green bean, sweet potato, squash, etc.). I wish I could have brussel sprouts - I'd be the only one eating them probably. :)

But it's my favorite holiday because I get to see all my family.

Happy Thanksgiving, you two!

Lady Jane said...

Yummy, I cant wait to eat it all, lol.... Have a safe trip home for the holiday. hugs, lj

My name is Erika. said...

I enjoyed reading this. I didn't know, for example, turkeys weren't most likely served at the original Thanksgiving dinner. It is fascinating how history gets revised during the years that pass. I can just image what people are going to think about our time. :) Hugs-Erika

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