Elizabeth Hopkins: Cooking History?

This week cooking has been on my mind. Over at Emerging Civil War’s Blog, I’ve been writing about recipes and cooking practices from the 1860’s and while finishing the dishes in the kitchen on Thursday, I started thinking about the few women who cooked that significant three day feast in 1621.

Today, we’ll discuss the life of Elizabeth Hopkins and her unique story of motherhood and survival in the establishment of New Plymouth… Continue reading

John Carver: First Governor

Well, it’s good to be back in the 1620’s after last weekend’s extended foray in 1860’s history at the West Coast Civil War Round Table Conference. We’re continuing the discussion of real people who came to the New World on the Mayflower and whom modern society collectively calls “Pilgrims.”

Today, we’ll discuss the life and accomplishments of John Carver who served as the first governor of Plymouth Colony. Continue reading

Desire Minter: Deciding About New Plymouth

November! Time to think about the Thanksgiving holiday and the myths and history surrounding the early English settlers at Plymouth, Massachusetts. I’ve written about facts and myth-busting relating to the “First Thanksgiving” and you’ll find those in our blog archives.

This year I want to share about some of the real people who came over on the Mayflower. We tend to generally call them “The Pilgrims,” but in reality there were three distinct groups on that ship which voyaged across the Atlantic in 1620. The Separatists, The Strangers, The Sailors. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Kid’s Books: The Pilgrims at Plymouth

Yeah, I know – it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Which means you’re probably anxious to get to a sale (or maybe you’re standing in a line and reading this) or you’re getting ready to retrieve your holiday decorations from the rafter, or staring in mute despair at the stack of dishes from last evening’s feast…

And I want to try to talk about books?! Am I crazy? Nah… I’ll even keep this blog post short, but I promise to post a new article every Friday…so here goes. One more book that you might want to add to your children’s history book shelf – for Thanksgiving next year or their history studies.

The Pilgrims at PlymouthThe Book: The Pilgrims at Plymouth

Title: The Pilgrims at Plymouth

Author: Lucille Recht Penner Continue reading

Thanksgiving Kid’s Books: Three Young Pilgrims

Continuing with our list of favorite children’s picture books for the Thanksgiving season, here’s one that my mom read to me. It remains one of my all-time favorites, and stands the test of historical scrutiny remarkably well. I just love it when an author takes the time to really research – even if it’s just for a kid’s book!

Three Young PilgrimsThe Book: Three Young Pilgrims

Title: Three Young Pilgrims

Author & Illustrator: Cheryl Harness Continue reading

What Did They Really Eat At The 1st Thanksgiving?

Well, it wasn’t pumpkin pie with whipped cream…

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration! Maybe you even had a chance to share some of the new things you’ve been learning about the Pilgrims with your family. I’m going to keep this blog post short ‘n sweet today since you might be rushing around to get a Black Friday deal.

I always wondered what did the Pilgrims and their Native American friends really eat at the First Thanksgiving? We can’t know exactly, for-certain-sure because the folks who were there didn’t write it down. But looking at the foods of the era and what was available in the Cape Cod area we can make a few guesses.

During a living history presentation (2005), Sarah shows the typical eating utensils that would've been used by the Pilgrims.

During a living history presentation (2005), Sarah shows the typical eating utensils that would’ve been used by the Pilgrims – trencher, knife, spoon, and large napkin.

I particularly like the suggested menu from “The Thanksgiving Primer” which was published by Plimoth Plantation Publications in 1987. Notice how many fresh vegetables there are!

A Possible 1621 Menu (with Annotation by Yours Truly)

Olives, black & green (brought from the Old World)


Bread of Indian Corn (the long way of saying “cornbread” – this would’ve been completely New World cuisine)

Cheate Bread (bread made using a sourdough starter)

Seethed Fish (“seeth” means boiled according to a 1594 cookbook)

Roast Venison (Chief Massasoit sent his men deer hunting; so it’s safe to assume there was venison on the menu)

Roast Fowl Served Up With A Sauce (maybe turkey, maybe duck?)

Boiled Sallet (this means a “boiled salad” – yep, boiled spinach and lettuce, according to a 1591 cookbook. I bet the kids would’ve loved that yesterday! Just joking…)

Dish of Jerusalem Artichokes

Boiled Onions

Standing Dish of Pompions (stewed pumpkin…not flavored with sugar and spices)

Furmenty (kind of like a rice pudding, but made with wheat)

Prune Tart (hmm…what to do with dried plums…or maybe not…)

Wine, Beer, Cider (keep in mind that water was filthy in the Old World; the Pilgrims would’ve been used to mixing a little wine, beer, or cider with their water for a cleansing effect.)

Some year…

Okay, this might sound a little silly, but on my historical “try-this” bucket list, I want to cook a traditional 1621 Feast and serve it on Thanksgiving. It would be unique, a little “non-traditional”, but I think it would so fun! Maybe someday…

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. So what do you think? Want to try a 1621 Feast next year or will you be staying with the modern traditions?