This year, try a nostalgic local twist to your Thanksgiving dinner menu with items likely found at our nation’s first harvest festival. Take a departure from the now traditional turkey dinner and serve up a menu featuring game meat, wild fowl, nuts, and local, seasonal fruit & vegetables for a feast that’s as delicious as it is memorable.
According to food historians, turkey was probably not served at the first “thanksgiving” feast in 1621, nor were sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or pie. Rather, according to the only written account, the feast included venison, “wild game”, and “wild fowl”. It’s possible wild turkey may have been served during the three-day celebration, but it’s believed duck and goose were more likely on the menu. The meats would have been rounded out with locally available seafood, squash (including pumpkin), root vegetables, cranberries, blueberries, grapes, nuts and greens (such as spinach).
Food in 1621 was typically roasted, stewed or cooked over an open fire and would have included items available locally to the colonists and the Wampanoag. Our holiday menu features many items available during this period, yet prepared with a modern-day twist and includes:
We sourced main ingredients for our recipes from some of our favorite farms and local food producers, including:
Crested Duck Charcuterie (Kevin Costa’s incredible, locally-sourced game meats and fabulous charcuterie are available year-round at the Pittsburgh Public Market. Join me in his Bacon-of-the-Month Club for an extraordinary culinary indulgence, featuring a unique bacon each month!!)
Clarion River Organics (a cooperative of several families, offering a full range of organic meats and seasonal fruits and vegetables … and homemade ice cream … available year-round at the Pittsburgh Public Market)
Dillner Family Farm (visit them at one of the several farmers’ markets still open to stock up on winter squash, onions and other goodies that keep well through the holiday season…they’ll be at the St. James Market in Sewickley, Saturdays until November 20, just in time for Thanksgiving)
Brenkle’s Farm and Greenhouses (a great organic farm where we get fabulous greens and other tasty treats, also at the St. James market)
Oh, and are you wondering how to wash it all down? Historians believe it’s possible the colonists would have had time to brew beer from their grain crops. We don’t know for sure, but sounds good to me!!
ENJOY!! May we all give thanks that we live in a country of great bounty and extend our gratitude to those who strive to make it available to us.