Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner — No Forks, Clothing Optional

pilgrims It may be too late to arrange for this year, but you might want to broach the idea around the table during a lull in the conversation. Edward Winslow wrote in his first-hand account of that first Thanksgiving,

. . . many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others.

Three days of fish, fowl, beer, foot races, and wrestling. (Keep in mind, the Pokanokets may not have worn much clothing. Samoset had been described as “stark naked” when he blithely sauntered into the settlement, in March.) What a scene.

In his book Mayflower: a Story of Courage, Community, and War, Nathaniel Philbrick informs us that even though the Pilgrims had pulled all the furniture outside for the celebration, ” . . . most of the celebrants stood, squatted, or sat on the ground. . . ” and would have been eating with their fingers and a knife.

So for a truly traditional Thanksgiving dinner, drag all your furniture out to the yard (actually, my uncle did that once), squat on the ground, and tear at the food with your hands. When you are done just rake everything to the curb.

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