A New World of Food: Happy #Thanksgiving

It has been raining all day here, and I’m feeling lazy, so I decided to revisit a post I first published back in 2014.

roasted turkey on tableThanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, if only for the wonderful food. And as a history freak, I love that so much of the traditional Thanksgiving food are native to the Americas.

The food supply expanded when Europeans “discovered” the New World. Prior to Columbus’s first voyage in 1492, there were no turkeys, potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, cranberries or maize, i.e. Indian corn. There was a cereal grain called corn, but it’s more like wheat, not like the ears of corn we’re used to.

And there was no chocolate. Chocolate is native to the Americas, so the Spaniards were the first Europeans to encounter it. It became popular at court after the Spanish added sugar or honey to sweeten the natural bitterness. From there, chocolate spread through Europe in the 1600’s and grew into the international obsession is has become today.

Can you imagine a world without chocolate? I really wouldn’t like that at all!

Nor would I like a world without pumpkins or cranberries, two of my favorite ingredients for fall goodies. For breakfast, I’ve been eating bagels with Pumpkin Spice cream cheese on them all week. Yummy.

The weather this year is looking bad for most of the country, so drive carefully, if you must. I won’t be straying far from home.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Why Poppies Appear on Veteran’s Day

Honoring All Who Served

November 11th is Veteran’s Day in the US, but some Americans may not know that it was originally called Armistice Day and celebrated the end of WWI. Hostilities of World War One, also known as the Great War, ended on Nov. 11, 1918. In 1954, the US changed the name of the holiday to Veteran’s Day.

The difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is the former began in 1865 to honor the fallen of the Civil War, and later the fallen of all our wars. Veterans Day honors our vets, whether living or dead.

Poppies are handed out by veterans on Nov. 11. The fallen of World War One were buried where they died in France and Belgium, on muddy battlefields. Later poppies grew in these fields and became associated with the holiday.

Canadian soldier, John McCrae, wrote a famous poem entitled “In Flanders Fields” which he discarded due to dissatisfaction with what he wrote. His friends saved the poem and later that year it was published in the British Punch. This photo shows the entire poem.

In Flanders Fields poem

Inscription of the complete poem in a bronze book at the John McCrae memorial at his birthplace in Guelph, Ontario. Photo by Lx 121 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8455795

I’m glad his friends recognized the worth of the poem.

My father and brother both served proudly in the US Air Force. I’ll be thinking about my dad today.

Happy Veteran’s Day!