At our house when the children gather for Thanksgiving and the grandchildren ask why we celebrate this special day, we tell them the story about the first Thanksgiving.
It was a year of bounty for the young pilgrims. There had been several lean years, waiting for their dreams to mature. It was a perfect time to gather up friends and loved ones to celebrate with turkey, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. A young girl pondered where to put everybody in her tiny cabin but her husband of two weeks assured her that there was plenty of room.
Alas, there was no dinning room table. “Let’s take apart the frame from my “bachelor days water-bed,” he said. And so the bed transformed into an extra roomy coffee table suitable for dining, if one sat on the floor. They were “re-cycling” when recycling wasn’t yet cool.
Confronted with the fact that the twenty-one year old girl’s entire cooking repertoire included cake and/or brownies from a box, scrambled eggs, baked potato, Ramen noodles and banana pudding, the young husband encouraged her saying, “How hard can it be?”
Then there was the matter of her brothers and her father. Tradition had it that the older, more experienced pilgrims used this sacred day to hunt. They rose early to enter the woods and didn’t return until one of them had a trophy to carry out. “How does one know what time to serve the Thanksgiving feast?” the young woman asked. Her mother came to her rescue forbidding that anyone be late for her daughter’s inaugural holiday meal.
And so came the day of celebration. She had made pies the day before. Early that morning she prepared corn pudding *(her grandmother’s recipe) ready to be popped in the oven to warm just before dinner. The oven, set to cut off exactly 4 1/2 hours from the starting time, housed a beautifully stuffed turkey. Peeled, cut, potato cubes slowly moved in bubbly water on the stove next to a pan of green beans. The young girl finished setting the TV trays and the water-bed/coffee-table. The family began to arrive.
Her father and brothers were on time as promised. They came, even though they had not finished hunting (meaning no deer). They were, disappointed, tired and STARVING. She quickly mashed the potatoes and opened the oven to take the turkey out and put the corn pudding in. Where was the delectable aroma of roasted fowl? Her body went rigid as her mind registered why there was no such smell. For though she had set the oven to turn off at the proper time, she had neglected to set the starting time.
And since there were no indians or take out service to bring a cooked turkey for the pilgrim family, they all bowed their heads and thanked God for the vegetables and the pie. And for the promise of turkey sandwiches in the days ahead.
* Grandmother’s Corn Pudding
1 can crushed corn
1- 1½ Tbs. flour
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
In small bowl, add sugar, salt, flour to corn. Stir in beaten eggs. Add milk. Pour into buttered baking dish. Bake 350* for 1 hour or until firm. Doubles nicely.