Today is one of the most important holidays in the United States – Thanksgiving. For those of us this side of the pond, however, it can be a strange and confusing celebration – what is Thanksgiving and more so, how can we get involved!?
Originally, Thanksgiving stems from around 1621 when separatists from the Church of England sailed to the States in order to flee religious persecution and found themselves greeted by a bleak mid-winter in Massachusetts. After losing a number of their companions to diseases like scurvy, the pilgrims began to build up relations with the Native Americans who in turn taught the pilgrims how to farm and grow crops. Put simply – Thanksgiving is the celebration of the Pilgrims’ first harvest after the Native Americans befriended and effectively saved them.
“Turkey Day”, as it’s often more favourably known, falls each year on the fourth Thursday of November. In America it’s seen as a public holiday and therefore the majority of people get the day off to indulge in the three F’s – family, football and (most importantly!) food.
Just like in the movies and your favourite box-sets, the main dish is Turkey accompanied by all the trimmings, and topped off with a generous slice of Pumpkin Pie. As a general rule, thanksgiving dinner is typically eaten with your entire extended family although amongst millennials (that’s us lot!), “friendsgiving” is being celebrated more and more – the same concept but with a group of your friends or flatmates.
Why let America have all the fun? Thanksgiving is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, with 1 in 6 of us now celebrating it and sales of turkeys in November up 95% in the past five years.
So rally up your flatmates (and next door’s – why not!) and cook up a feast (remember to send your Mum a photo to impress her with your culinary excellence). To help you out, here’s my favourite Pumpkin Pie recipe (you can pick up tinned pumpkin from Waitrose, the big Tescos or those little American sweet shops everywhere seems to have popping up!). http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/10/26/the-great-pumpkin-pie-recipe/