With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of you are probably starting to plan all the yummy food that will accompany the requisite turkey. While that is a delicious prospect, have you ever considered what the Pilgrims had to do to prepare that first Thanksgiving feast?
Because many of the Pilgrims were shopkeepers and townspeople, most of them had no idea what was involved in growing their own food. In their helplessness, they had to rely on the nearby Wampanoag Indian for survival. The main crop of choice was a variety of corn that none of the Pilgrims had seen before; they called this colorful crop “Indian corn,” after the Indians who taught them how to plant and grow it. Today, many of us have probably seen Indian corn or even used it for our fall decorating, but we don’t deal with growing it.
The Wampanoag Indians taught the Pilgrims many useful tricks for planting crops. One of the most interesting is their method for growing a bumper crop of Indian corn. This involved digging small holes in a field and dropping two or three fish into each hole to fertilize the soil. After the fish were covered, a handful of corn kernels was sown into the dirt above them. Once the corn was harvested, it was dried on the cob to preserve it longer. Interestingly enough, there was no corn on the cob for the Pilgrims; they ate all their Indian corn as flour or cornmeal to be used in cooking and baking. Because of the ease of growing corn, this crop showed up in nearly every meal the Pilgrims ate! The Pilgrims did grow other food besides Indian corn, including several types of beans, pumpkin, wheat, oats in the fields, as well as a variety of herbs and vegetables in their home gardens.
So as you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast next week, you can pay homage to our brave forefathers by incorporating some of the Indian corn that the Pilgrims relied on into your decor. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make some cornmeal mush to experience on of the dishes the Pilgrims probably ate at the first Thanksgiving.
While they won’t suggest adding dead fish your soil, the experts at The Family Tree are happy to help you find the perfect plants for your needs or give you advice on any areas you need it.