It's Thanksgiving time of year again
Nov 23, 2023
On the fourth Thursday of November it was officially Thanksgiving over in America. A holiday time in which to give thanks for that year’s harvest. What us Brits would call a USA harvest festival if you like, a time to celebrate the good things in life with family and friends. A time to eat and share good food together in order to remember what we should all be thankful for.
There are many beliefs and stories about the history of Thanksgiving. One from when it all started, is that in the year 1620, pilgrims from England sailed to America in the famous ship The Mayflower. Unfortunately, the food planning wasn’t very good and they didn’t have enough food with them for the whole journey so half the colony died that first hard winter of 1620-1621.
The following year, to ensure it wasn’t repeated, everyone was taught how to grow food like corn, vegetables and fruit. They also learned how to hunt and fish from the land and sea so they had enough food for themselves and their families and neighbours. The colony had bountiful food crops the year after and to thank all the wonderful people that had taught them to grow the food, they invited their helpers to feast with them. One of the reasons why Thanksgiving started in the first place. The colony travelled from Plymouth in the UK to America and until now, I hadn’t appreciated this story behind the tradition. This year I had the privilege of being asked to join in my own Thanksgiving Dinner with an American family. What a wonderful experience!
Whether it’s an American Thanksgiving Dinner, or just a weekday supper with friends, we definitely don’t do enough here in England to celebrate what we are given from our farmers and fishermen. From the producers that have been working to gather and produce their crops and look after their animals that feed all of us.
More celebrations would be a great way to help educate young people on why we need to grow food, and why we should look after the people that tend the animals and the land that gives back to us. We should take heed of our ancestors all those years ago. American Thanksgiving is a great way to have an extra food celebration; a shared National holiday around harvest time. Let’s face it, we all look forward to Black Friday (which was the day straight after Thanksgiving) and that was simply the start of the Christmas shopping season and some consumer spending gone crazy.
Some American people also don’t remember why Thanksgiving started. I asked some young Americans if they had a good knowledge of the history of Thanksgiving but sadly, they didn’t. One thing is for sure, people today often don’t realise the story behind the importance of where their food comes from. It would be nice if we could start to change that wherever we live in the world.
We have had such a wet year back here in England, and a lot of our crops have been under water this November including potatoes and sugar beet. In some areas of the country, the maze harvest still couldn’t be done because of the rain. A lot of this year’s crops that have been so water logged that they haven’t survived. This is a serious problem for us all. The global weather patterns are changing rapidly all over the world which in turn, drives up the prices on the foods that we eat.
On a more positive note, let’s enjoy the festive season ahead and remember
sharing and enjoying a simple Ploughmans supper of local cheeses, chutneys, fresh bread, crackers & a nice bottle of wine or craft beer, is not going to be hard work. You don’t need to be a good cook, you just need to choose good basic ingredients! It doesn’t matter how simple the food you make is, it’s all about sharing it with others and enjoying that experience.