Thursday, November 18, 2010

Activity: Thanksgiving Comparisons

Here’s an activity where students are able to compare food eaten during the first Thanksgiving compared to what they eat for Thanksgiving today. Under the activity instructions is an overview of the first Thanksgiving meal.

Paper to draw a Venn Diagram

1) Discuss the history of the first thanksgiving and the food served there.

2) Have students draw a Venn Diagram and have them label one circle “First Thanksgiving” and the other circle “Thanksgiving Today”.

3)Students should write foods that they learned were eaten at the first Thanksgiving and foods that are eaten today. The center of the Venn diagram should include foods that were eaten then and are still eaten today.

It is believed that the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians celebrated the very first Thanksgiving feast after harvest in 1621 in Plymouth, MA. It was held as a religious outdoor festival, where hundreds of people gathered to partake in the festivities. It was originally held as a three day celebration.

Historians believe that the menu consisted of venison, roasted turkey, wild fowl including ducks, geese and swans, fish, and lobsters. Vegetables served included pumpkins, squash, beans, dried fruits, cranberries, and dried corn. The sugar supply brought over on the Mayflower from England was nearly exhausted by the time of the first Thanksgiving, so it is widely assumed that wheat pudding may have been on of the only sweet dishes served.

The pilgrims used many spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and dried fruit in the meat sauces they prepared. Many of the meats were put on a spit and turned over a fire for six hours. Since ovens were yet to be invented, pies, cakes, and breads most likely were not at the first Thanksgiving table.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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