Thankful Vittles

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?

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  1. WVRSpence

    Any nominees for Golden Drumsticks and Turkey awards this year?

    My picks for drumsticks:

    Law enforcement. yes, we have seen our share of bad cop stories this year. But most are doing their jobs, and having to put up with a-hole college and street protesters for not nearly enough money.
    France. For Eric Hollande’s response to the attacks, and the French people in general, as annoying as they can be at times, they came together, and brought the rest of the world with them.
    Christians in Syria and elsewhere in the ME. The real refugees that the media and Obama don’t seem to want to talk about.
    Rand Paul. He can be annoying, but on Constitutional and fiscal issues he is his own man, as he showed at the debates.
    Ben Carson-he may not be presidential material, but his intelligence and demeanor have brought a welcome change of tone to the race.


    President Obama, for leading from behind so much that it’s taken Putin to step up to the plate in dealing with ISIS. And, thanks in no small part to his foreign policy (or lack thereof) we could see WWIII starting over there.
    ISIS. Psychopaths who know how to use social media, get deluded kids to join their ranks, have gone from being the JV squad to a real international threat-no thanks to Obama (see above).
    Hillary Clinton. Ever the consummate liar, and political hack, she nevertheless has her followers among the Hollywood establishment. too bad for her nobody else seems to be buying her act.
    College protesters. The Snowflake Generation has managed to show the real world what happens when you let them take over, and kill free speech on campus. Welcome to the new fascism.
    The Republican establishment-for managing to screw up what should be a winnable Presidential cycle, from trying desperately to ignore or dismiss Donald Trump (see below) to backing the leader of the bland, Jeb Bush, to caving in the Senate, they have turned mediocrity into an art form.


    Donald Trump-Hal noted his faults, and there are many, but he has shaken up politics like few others. Drumstick or Turkey?


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  2. CM

    And so it began? Surely it actually “began” with how those allotments were initially obtained? Taken ‘for the common good’ perhaps?

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