Over the years I have written many Thanksgiving posts, with two primary themes. The first being how the Pilgrims, initially believing that communism, a pooling of resources and labor, would best fit their needs. On the brink of starvation and ruination, they changed course and tried a little free market capitalism;
The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an “injustice” that they were paid the same as those “not able to do a quarter the other could.” Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of “slavery.”
On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.
As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”
And so it began.
The other theme had to do with George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, this symbiotic existence of religion and politics separates us as a nation and one of the things I believe make us great;
In setting aside a day for Thanksgiving, Washington established a non-sectarian tone for these devotions and stressed political, moral, and intellectual blessings that make self-government possible, in addition to personal and national repentance. Although the First Amendment prevents Congress from establishing a religion or prohibiting its free exercise, Presidents, as well as Congress, have always recognized the American regard for sacred practices and beliefs. Thus, throughout American history, Presidents have offered non-sectarian prayers for the victory of the military and in the wake of catastrophes. Transcending passionate quarrels over the proper role of religion in politics, the Thanksgiving Proclamation reminds us how natural their relationship has been. While church and state are separate, religion and politics, in their American refinement, prop each other up.
Today, although just as thankful for my good health, wealth, and prosperity, I want to focus on food and what’s on your dinner table.
If your family is like mine, certain foods are reserved for Thanksgiving that we don’t eat at other times, making them traditional. For the last 10 years or so I BBQ my turkey in a Weber. If the entire bird is covered in mayo, to sear the outside keeping in all the juices, it is just as juicy and tasty as the deep fried birds, another good way to cook it. I used to experiment with different smokes (fruit woods, hickory, pecan, even birch) I have found that the smokey taste of contained heat works just fine. I make a sausage stuffing, with an apple/hazelnut a close second. My wife makes a shredded potato dish with cheddar/chives/sour cream and a fruit salad straight out of hand written recipe book from my mom, stuff I have never seen anywhere, you should taste her Christmas cookies. And pies (pecan and mince meat) from a local bakery that has been around for about a hundred years. My uncle was raised in the same town as the Duck Dynasty family, his mom created her own recipe for Louisiana pecan pie, I was hooked and never looked back.
So that’s my Thanksgiving, you got anything to stand up to that?