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4-H club learns about first-year Thanksgiving foods

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What was the first Thanksgiving like? Was there pumpkin pie and stuffing for the bird? What foods were served and how where those foods different from what might be served at a Thanksgiving meal today?

These questions and others were asked during the Black Bear 4-H Club’s Thanksgiving Foods program held at the Nov. 19 meeting.

Youth leaders Megan Vogt, Justine Campbell and Dalton Schreier shared common myths about Thanksgiving and then presented facts. Schreier said the Pilgrims ate pumpkin but not in pie form. They didn’t have ovens for baking or butter to make a crust.

Leader Cindy Terwilliger explained the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe who was responsible for the Pilgrim’s survival that first year. She asked the young people if they knew which foods might have been available at that time.

“I was pleased to find that most of our youth could name vegetables, berries and other foods that would have been available for use during the 1620s by the Wampanoag and Pilgrims,” Terwilliger said.

Ingredients were provided for club members to make Boiled Bread and Nasaump, two Wampanoag dishes the Pilgrims adopted into their diet.

“The Nasaump tasted best. Its main ingredient was corn meal and I liked making it,” said 4-Her Jonah Lundgren.

Hunter and Maggie Cordova, first-year 4-H members, cook at home and had fun making these traditional native foods.

“I liked measuring, dumping and stirring,” Maggie said.

The primary ingredients in each dish are corn meal, nuts and berries. Nasaump tasted like a cooked breakfast cereal and, with a little maple syrup on top, was tasty.

The Black Bear club strives to offer a learn-by-doing activity at each club meeting.

“This activity definitely got us thinking about how food has changed since that first Thanksgiving, and how thankful we can be for the abundance we now have,” Terwilliger said.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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