The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on November 25, 1926 · Page 10
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 10

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 25, 1926
Page 10
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THE DAILY FANTAGRAPH, BLOOMINGTON, ILL., THURSDAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 25, 1926. One Indispensable Accompaniment of Thanksgiving Feast Is Pie ri'. ; k&M'mP u a nkq Puritan La -mm teas' : . i x j-f55 Mfr v.-53 r .j ? f I Important Relationship of Pie to Our Joyful Celebra- tion The Pumpkin, Formerly Unknown to White Folks, Furnishes a Dessert Indispensable to the Festival. By RENE BACH E. Mine pie hai Its recognized fe- ?sct that no coionlal housewife had on, custom In thli country prescrib- ! even peon a pumpkin before she cmne Ing Thanksgiving dy at the date proper for lt first appearance on our tables. Not no, however. In -New, where pumpkin pie takes Its place. There, are In New England many people who disapprove of mince pie t Thanksgiving or any other time. Their prejudice on this point Is an Inheritance from Puritan ancestors, by whom minre pie would have been regarded as the very last dish suit-ftble for the festival. The Puritans entertained a pious horror of Christmas and Its "popish mummery." In England where they underwent eo much persecution on ccount of their religion, mince pie and plum pudding were associated wtth the celebration of Christmas. Hence these and certain other dishes were termed "superstitious meats." and, as such, forbidden to the truly ro'iK On the other hnnd, pumpkin pie a godly refreshment, and seems to this country. That interesting vegetable was unknown In Europe, being exclusively American. Corn Distasteful. People, generally sieaklng. are reluctant to accept new things to eat. Thus the early colonists in America did not easily acquire a taste for the :ndian corn or maize, which even to this day In northern Europe Is considered fit only for horse food. It took them a long while to learn to like clams thoiiKh at length they adopted with such enthusiasm the idea of the clambake, taken over from the Indians a mode of cookery whereby fish, shellfish, corn In the ear. and chickens are roasted on hot utones beneath wet seaweed. It Is, then, 'ne more surprising tl at they dhnuld have so quickly adopted the pumpkin. Luckily for us. and for Thanksgiving, the mince pie. though condemned on reliclous grounds In Puritan New n have floured conspicuously at I Kncl.uul. was riot thereby excluded 4 anksgiving feast In very early ays. Apparently It was a N'ew Eng-1 .nd Invention, originated probably by some clever Puritan housewife, r nd even at the present time It Is a gastronomic Institution In that part of the country, where no Thanksgiving: dinner is complete without it. from other American colonies. Hut though made of the same materials, it does not at all resemble in construction the Ffrltisli mince pie. which is. and always lias been, made in a deep dish. The nearest thing to the European p-itlern was Wellington pie, o ine invention in question was thejcHiled, a pleains memory to many more remarkable by reason of the I residents of Baltimore, Washington and Richmond, in the markets of which citie3 It was formerly sold at five cents a "hunk." It was a bakery product. IU-oken odds and ends accumulated In the nunufacture of all kinds of r.'gular pies mince, apple, custard, equnsh, huckleberry, etc. were stirred together and baked In a deep meat pan, covered over with a crlsn crust. A nickel s worth bought from a negro mammy a fair meal. Antiquity of Pie. The notion, commonly accepUd, that pie originated In New England is wholly a mistake. It was a standard article of diet In Great Urituin centuries before Columbus landed on our shores, and certainly antedated the .Norman conuuent. In the middle ages It was spelled "pye." The austere religion of the Turi-tans was not attributable to Indigestion due to American pie. They brought the art with them, mid it Is thought that they originated the squash pie and custard pie. as well as pumpkin pic. I)i uhlless pie helped tii. -ii to overcome the laborious dif- thelr figiit to subdue ernesai a hostile wlld- In their objection tA mince pie we died New England conscience. Ex i rcise of this conscience brought about the enactment of ordinances which forbade the people to dance. 10 play cards, to play on any musical irstruinent other than the drum, the trumpet, and the Jewsharp; or, on made i unu.iys. to walk in the family gar- oen, to cook looa, to make bens, to shores of Massachusetts Bay, and he, with ninety of his warriors, clad mainly In paint, came to dine, in cele- find an early development of what Is j I'ration of a friendly treaty. It must navB oeen an imiiresMve ttoiiu , uui the statement, often printed, that pumpkin pie was featured on the bill-of-fare can have no basis in fact, because it had not yet been invented. Pilgrim Mothers Not Invited. It must have been in some respects a primitive feast. The tables, spread i ut-of-doora, were made of planks sweep, to cut hair, to shave, and to j trestles. Considerable kiss wife, husband or child. On the other hand, the laws of the early New England colonies were In Mine respects no'ably Hbc.-al. In Massachusetts and Connecticut the I'uriians were not only permitted to scourge Quakfrs and kill Catholics wherever opportunity served, but wore encouraged to indulge In those pious pleasures. What has gone on record as the first Thanksgiving dinner was the big feuMt given by the Pilgrims ill honor of the Indian chieftain MuNsasoit in the early autumn of llll'l. the year followi!!',- their arrival at Plymouth. .Mass.iNoit was sachem of the Wam- ficulllea which confronted them in I panoags, a tribe that dwelt along the pewter ware had been brought over to the .Mayflower; but forks were unknown in those days, and ordinary folks did not use individual plates. Instead, the viands were served in big wooden platters called "trenchers," Into which each person plunged his fingers to grab whatever morsel s. fined most inviting. We may lako it for granted that when the Pilgrim matrons and maidens on that famous occasion did not eat with their men-folks and Indian guests, inasmuch as the latter would have regarded such a thing as In the last degree improper. No pumpkin pie. I5ut the Indians had grown pumpkins for centuries, and from them the Puritans got seeds of the vegetable for their kitchen gardens. It may be taken for granted that with them the huge edible gourd gained favor rapidly; for its gustatory celebrity has been associated with the history of New England since very early times, especially In relation to pie. The Puritans soon found that, In the matter of gardening, they had a good deal to learn from the Indians of the .Massachusetts Bay region. Those aborigines were by no means the wild savages commonly Imagined. They were for the most part peaceable enough, dwelling In permanent villages of decently Constructed houses, and depending for their livelihood mainly upon farming, though ekeing out a subsistence by hunting and fishing. Next after corn, beune were their principal food crop. Tomatoes and Baant. The beans were kidney beans, the like of which no European had ever seen In the Old World. Before long the Puritans undertook to grow them, finding them of unequaled excellence. Little did they realize that this new vegetable was destined to play so Important a part In the nutrition of fu ture generations of New Englanders, achieving fame under the name of Boston baked beans, and, thus prepared, to be packed in cans and shipped from Massachusetts Bay to all ports of the world. Anothef vegetable unknown to Europe they found growing wild In Massachusetts. It was the fruit of a vine, roundHig in shape and green In color, but turning to bright red when ripe. Regarding it with suspicion, they decided that it wjis poisonous, though they bestowed upon it the poetic name of "love apple." It was, of course, the tomato, which In parts of New England was still eyed askance only fifty years ago. Indian squaws showed the Pilgrim women how to make cornbread, but it was deemed a poor substitute for the wheaten loaf. The very unfaml-liarlty of the cereal engendered a prejudice against it. Maize seems to have originated on the highlands of central Mexico, and to have been first cultivated by the Mayas. By 1000 A. D it was grown as far north as Maine, and when Columbus arrived it was known and uBed nearly everywhere on this continent. The Puritans found plenty ol strawberries growing wild, a kind of fruit entirely new to them. There was also tobacco, grown Iiy the Indians, which they at first regarded with severe disapproval. The New World had quite a number of novelties In the way of useful plants to offer them. But among these was not the watermelon, as la commonly supposed. Thnt species of gourd is native to desert regions In Africa. On the other hand, the peanut Is of American origin. Cooking Lessons. The Indians not only gave corn to the Pilgrim colonists, but furnished recipes fur preparing it. Our names for hominy "corn pone," samp and -succotas ara Indian names. In front of every Indian cabin stood a mortar for pounding corn to meal a section of hollowed log set upon one end. But further south apparatus used for Ihe purpose was a stone tray and grlnding-rollcr of the same material, such as are employed today by the Indians of our southwest and In Mexico. Another thing which the squaw s taught to the Pilgrim matrons was lie use t-f the soapstone griddle for flai.J'.cks. Any old-fashioned housewife todiy will tell you that there is no griddle like one of soapstone. which hold, its heat much better than metal. The Indian women cut their I ots and pans out of soapstone rock, which is relatively soft, hollowing out each vessel oefore chopping it away from Hie matrix with a flint tool. The Indians of those days, before they were disturbed by the intruding whitesA dwelt in villages of 200 to 600 inhabitants, from which they wan-lered at certain seasons to favorlta hunting and fishirg grounds. Each village was a uistinct tribe, and between tribes there was a constant Interchange of friendly gifts Thus one tribe mrj;ht havt soapstdne pots to offer, while another would return the conipllniinl witn a consignment of dried oydters. It was very aboriginal, so to speak, In a deughtful way. Hospitality was weil-tiipli unbounded, utmost efforts being expended in preparing feasts for visiting neighbors. The uibes had their own harvest festivals, corresponding to Thanksgiving, at which they celebrated ihe garnering of their crops, especially the all-Important corn. Thus It mht be said that Thanksgiving in America was by no means an invention of the Puiltans, though the latter appear to have got the idea not from the India.-., but from the iJUbh, during their residence of severe; years in HouanJ before they came to this counl- Joy With a Dash of Gloom. There Was at first no special date appointed by the Puritans for .'hanks-giving. Whenever there happened 1 he an occasion for special rejoiob :g, such ns a bountiful harvest, the arrival if a supply ship from Engla i,l, for a victory over the Indians (with whom the Pilgrims soon beg'tn to ouarrel), a day of thanks was se:. llujh oi it was devoted to chuich t.ervloes, with long sermons In wlili h the ptople, while told to rejulci, we -c informed that the pit of everlasting fire was undoubtedly yawning to receive them. Without a liberal dope of hel -Are, In prospect at least, the Joy if Thanksgiving would have lost its savor. UlMrHMli. e- ! ",r.Jt M ft. J1 1.- - r,Vr.5ft.)' 'I, 1 1 nil in ,r .E3r3B"IMKGSC Iff luff .aT v k,f" - jp7 mtmmwni- ..:s Hii New England Raising Demanded Thanksgiving Turkey and a Pumpkin Pie With Spices-How His Problem Was Solved. By DUNCAN CAMERON. Two days before Thanksgiving at an Isolated spot In the mountains the trapper's cabin showed a stage et lor a Thanksgiving dinner that uoul help make up the loneliness of dally routine. The firewood was gathe-ed by tha big open fireplace the r jui table was ready fr.r the li for his pie. and a possible turkey for the place of honor. The pumpkin was ady at hand saved from the vine growing by his own dooryard. At any other time the trapper would not have been caught without supplies. Klevcn jears of Iranninir loli.lay dill- 1 m, -1 taulj-.i. r. ! -.,, ,l,. 1,1 .u. um unit tt ..! ...... , . """ ' " UMl W.1S PilVs K It tbl.t nrnvl,', yyysyy yyyy- &POyyy2 yr cvw (yy-yycy uickiiv is tne raw material fo.- Uie dinner Itself. The larder field ba.'on and flour and a few other staples, but these did not satisfy the trapper's New Hug-land eagerness for a feast In keeping "mi inn 11 .in 1 1 ion. i here are cer-' tain things Hint most I.,. ... i, i ... supply the table of the man who bast .uansiicnusetts Diumi in his veins. He requires plum pudding and he rle. niands pumpkin pie and roast turkey. Without these lh:iiic be fei Is that lie Is 4iot living up to the traditions of h. ancestry. a f ill shelf. This year, however, he had been laid 1 up with an Injured leg, which had prevented htm from doing his Thanksgiving shovvng with Ills ac-ciistomed for, hanuedni si. Instead of visiting the trading post In October he hail been forced to wait and take his chances. The chances had not I cen good. When the crippled limb I couldn't tackle the Journey to the trading post. Ko off I started. "For the first hour or two I faced the wind-driven snow as It came down from the skies. Towards noon, however, the clouds broke, the snowfall stopped, and there came bright sunshine and u biting, freezing cold. The t was ready for the trail, the trail itscll had disappeared under a heavy two-' iv snowfall that came before its time. i ' tiiperatuie must have dropped to close to zero, and I floundered along ihre1B, the dry, powdered mow. My Journey WHa up xm &nA nolmdv know, wdial uphill means un- he has l.ol;e,l the: we.tei-n U'ounlains alter a big snowfall. I loundered. I togged, and I expressed e.s'"ir ',, ii I.,,:.. , . ' I dulled mil . ........ km in,. I-or ino weeks be I been ' i,,r ,v i tu.L ... con- I he"" myself think' d out d till Looking Forward. This son of the Pilgrims ln theoiigo his doorway and snnl w eatbtr. tiving to find eticouraHcior-nt for trip to the nearest scitlemeni, tui 1v-tbiee miles distant nl the end a mis-ted nail. W ith any sort ,,( t'lod woaliior be could niiike the .iniii-iiev f ic ba-'k in time for his feast. I- I - nitl tov hlu pudding, apices Abandoned Hope.' "I gave up my idea of n real Th inki-givlng dinner." the trapper told his friends when bo saw them lew iiioinbs later, ps lalion in the thought that L could be up and moving about, for in those , til eooi'rt I u...,I.I.C l. my c.nversaiio,, B,.t rus.h fnr , h.ld t o mill li ..f a, . j . f I Ion, some bills a fellow bus got to i gruns ; ,., . ?l lnp ' work to Ue,. from Roll.g out ot his no Mtu , ,; , ,i -7nl' ijl. V'iH mind. Will, plenty of time for ! learned , ii 1 1. ' .'A P'"" I had a ml I knew that the skis , ln,u , ' , n,y "alui ,c on short trips, even if m,,, rATZ sno.iiunx . w om 1 :., Harvard vocabulary made me reallie aa never before that a classical edu-latlon Is a fine thing for any sort of environment. Perhaps my old professors would have been horrified at the things I had learned when I was at college, but they are times when 'he clnrslcal vo.-alulary Is tmlispen-slble. If I ever Ijave a son who shows any Inclination to become a mountaineer or a .truck driver I'm going to send him to a big university for his edi.calion. Furs Reward His Trip. "I floundered to the Hist trap, and 'onnd a line marten, the fur if which would pay for a Thanksgiving turkey dinner for a family of five at the best hotel In lenver or Salt Ijike. Taking the pelt, and fixing the trap To- anolbrr catch, i went forward on the snowbound mountainside. Home lr,ip were empty, and needed no attention. Others yielded their catches of marten, lynxes, badgers and er- mine. On the whole my trip was worth while from a business standpoint. In these furs I could see earnings would bring me nearer the goal of accumulation I had set for myself before I would be willing to takemy new strength and health back to tl.c civilization 1 had left when I was a semi-invalid. "I floundered bark to my cabin, hung my furs up to cure, and dug myself In for the night. Willi relaxation ennie the vision of my forfeited Thanksgiving dinner, and I realized ihat even a vocabulary is not always adequate. It Vas the first tirr.e in my life the prospect of going without my pie and plum pudding. My line pumpklr. mocked me In a way that shows thnt pumpkins have no hearts, What good would the thing do me without spices? And where would a snlccless pie take me with-jut a turkey? . I was badly upset. The next day was Wednesday, when by all the rules of the game, a New laiglander's moui.taln cabin, wherever located, should have 'he savor of a Thanksgiving dinner In the m..':-ing. .What did mine have? Nothing but a .grouchy college graduate, a lot of furs thut I'd have traded for a turkey sandwich and a piece of pumpkin pie sprtad beside n e on the shelf of a chair in a one-arm lunch room in South Boston. There wis side meat, but who wants bacon on Yhi.nksslvhig day? Once Mors To ths Traps. "Still there was the consolation of work. I had other traps to visit and I started forth carrying my grouch. Some of my traps were the old deadfalls of the western Indians. In all r.iy experimenting I had never found anything to beat them for snaring beasts without damaging the pelts. Those Indians sure knew a lot about efficiency in collecting akins aa well as in gathering scalps. In one deadfall I found a good specimen of marten under the weights that had fallen when the animal tried to make his way to Uie bait Inside the hidden pen. "Elsewhere I used the modern stool traps, with their 'pass' on which an animal must step when he tries to reach the bait. The pan of a trap like this Is Innocent enough to fool almost any creature of the forest. The marten the mini; and the beaver are wary animals, fur whom a trap must be carefully hidden. Kven the clinging scent of the human hands furnishes a danger sign which will drive these beasts away from an ambush, and for this reason 1 had taken the precaution to smoke the traps to neutralize the odor. The wisdom of this practice stood me in good stead, for I found my traiwi well supplied with fur-bearing captives. . "In the early stages of my round I had climbed steadily up the mountainside. At one stage ot the climb I figure tnat the rise was a thousand feet In half a mile, which Is near enough to straight up In the air to satisfy the most ambitious member of the Alpine Climber's Association. What He Found. "After a while I rounded my steps towards some traps that lay nearer. One of the last snares I visited was of the sllp-noose type, which can be used for small mammals or even for birds. In this sort of trap the victim is caught at his feeding ground. The noose is made of slout twine, and Is attached to a sturdy sapling which is bent over and kept from springing back by one of the old ftgure-4 devices. The bait is spread on the ground. When the victim tries to secure the bult his head Is Inside-noose, which lies on the surface. In reaching for food, the creature dislodges the croHKpiecc, the sapling flies back, and the noose is tightened around the visitor's neck. "At this particular trup I did imt expect to make a haul. It was a bit startling, therefore, to find the plio sprinkled with feathers, where lh snow had been kept off by an over hanging ledge. In the midst of this tare spot lay a fowl, and my first glimpse showed me that it. was a wild turkey. Just where the creature had Come from I could not imagine, for In all my experience I had never caught a turkey In any of my traps. Oldtlmers Imd told me that there was a time when the birds were abundant, hut that they had almost entirely disappeared. "Regardless of explanation there was my Thanksgiving dinner, ready and waiting a bird that weighed nine pounds and with a fat body which showed that before the snowfall he had been blessed with an abundance of food. I felt that my old New England upbringing had Its rewards after all. and I forgot my traps und started home to make my preparations for Thursday's dinner. "Nor was thnt the sole surprise of the day. I knew I had some dried rage somewhere, for use with the brcntf-erumb dressing that belongs with a Thanksgiving turkey. For the life of me, though, I couldn't remember where I had stowed the stuff. The only thing to do was to look through my cabin till I found It and before the search ended I found a paper bag marked salt The package cause me to Investigate its contents, for. it was too light for salt and I wondered what it was. And what do you think I discovered. I' was the remnants of last year's spic the stuff I needed for my pumpkin pie. The plum pudding rould ff hang. Any New Englander who ran t he made happy by spiced pumpkin pie and roast turkey doesn't desarve a Thanksgiving dinner."

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