Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Thanksgiving. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Thanksgiving. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thanksgiving Canon, A Hymn for the Ages

Thanksgiving Canon~Wondrous Thanksgiving Music!

Thanksgiving Canon worship hymn
Why I am reviewing Thanksgiving Canon: It's my favorite Thanksgiving Hymn and I love to play it this time of year

It's great to play any day you feel like singing a praise song! The notes of Thanksgiving Canon are on the  pentatonic musical scale that is very pleasing to the spirit at the cellular level. Science has now actually  proven this. (with brain scans) So if you listen, you will feel better.

Photo is Autumn Leaves by Pixel Anarchy on Pixabay and can be found here

The Thanksgiving Canon is an old standby and we sang it as a round, ending in a sustained Amen when I was in choir growing up . When I went looking for a video of it for you, the best ones were from the Girl Scouts.

How funny, but understandable, as we sang lots of wonderful uplifting songs in my Girl Scout troop. But I did not know that the Girl Scouts have their own CD's now! So had to spend an afternoon listening to some of their renditions of some old Camping favorites! 

Below is the original sheet music that I saved from an old Choir book. I think it was from 6th grade. 


Thanksgiving Canon sheet music

Enjoy the Thanksgiving Canon and Happy Thanksgiving!


For thy gracious blessings,
For thy wondrous words,
For thy loving kindness,
We give thanks, O Lord.
~Thanksgiving Canon



About Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated mostly in the United States and Canada. It is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving in Canada falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. In ancient times, This was the Autumn Equinox festival. Man has always thanked the Creator for the harvest.

And man has always sung to celebrate everything. The Thanksgiving Canon is not only beautiful, but the sound tones are very soothing to your ear and soul. I always play it on Thanksgiving day. 

The Thanksgiving Canon Performed
Listen to This Stunning Worship Song


Thanksgiving Canon is On This Album
Thanksgiving Canon

I was a lifelong Girl Scout, who camped out every month for years, singing campfire songs into the late evening under the moon and stars. Those are some of my favorite memories. Lots of faves on this CD.




Thy mercies have been numberless;
Thy love, Thy grace, Thy care,
Were wider than our utmost need,
and higher than our prayer.
~O King of Kings



Here is the Thanksgiving Canon by Itself to Download
Thanksgiving Canon






With grateful heart
My thanks I bring,
Before the Great
Thy praise I sing;
I worship in Thy Holy place
And praise Thee
For Thy truth and grace;
For truth and grace
Together shine
In Thy most Holy Word Divine,
In Thy most Holy Word Divine.
~ Psalms 138


Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and I wish it would be adopted worldwide. How wonderful to be thankful, if only for a day!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!





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Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Side Dishes ~ Part II of Thanksgiving Recipes on Review This!

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ~ Photo by Julie on Flickr.com

Thanksgiving is historically the time for a great feast and celebration. Therefore, we have joined together to offer a fantastic "feast" of side dish recipes today on Review This. I asked my co-workers, which just happen to be an awesome group of writers and online contributors, to share their personal side dish recipes for Thanksgiving. They have been most generous and I am certain we have something here for everyone.

The "first Thanksgiving" in America was celebrated in 1621 and lasted for 3 days. Some of us have family, friends and guests who drive or fly long distances to spend 3 or more days with us during the Thanksgiving holidays. Therefore, we have 3 day Thanksgiving celebrations too, which means we serve multiple meals and we need a variety of recipes to see us through the festivities. 

 

Fruits First


A holiday would simply not be complete without the fruit dishes. They always round out a meal with a healthy treat for all of us, but for the Vegans and Vegetarians in our mist, they are a absolute must.

Cranberry sauce is often found on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner table.  However, Mbgphoto shares a recipe for her very own creation of Cranberry Applesauce that sounds out of this world delicious. Plus, I give you my very own submission for a Quick & Easy Fruit Salad recipe that my own family requests for every holiday.


 

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are essential to a healthy diet, but for some reason, they seem to be the hardest to get people to eat, especially children.  Perhaps, these delicious recipes will help.






Rice Recipes


Rice is a staple food for many of us and while we are most content to eat it by itself, it is truly an excellent additive to many recipes.  Elsie Hagley and Merry offer recipes that include rice.  Either, or both,  would be perfect side dishes for this Thanksgiving. 
 

 

Potato & Yam Recipes


All of my life I have considered potatoes and yams to be as "traditional" as the turkey when preparing the Thanksgiving dinner. The only question was which sweet potato casserole recipe to use. It seems like every member of our family has a different personal favorite potato recipe. As a result, we have actually started preparing and serving several potato recipes so everyone can enjoy their preference on Thanksgiving.  After seeing these recipes, we may well be having a few more on the table this year.

 


 

Great Mixed Vegetable Recipe 


For a awesome vegetable mix, this would be the recipe of choice. Adventuretravels combines carrots, beetroots, parsnips & onions with fennel to deliver a divine side dish for Thanksgiving.
 

 

Delicious Extras


I am going to quote Margaret directly here because I don't believe I could say it any better any other way.  "These healthier candied walnuts or pecans make a wonderful, healthy holiday nibble (or any other time), and if they're chopped up they're yummy sprinkled on or tossed with nearly any Thanksgiving vegetable or side dish."

That one quote was enough for me.  I will be serving Margaret's candied pecans this year on Thanksgiving.  My whole family loves nuts!



More to Come


Festive cheese and garlic bread  by BritFlorida

Last week, we provided an easy and delicious way to bake a Turkey for Thanksgiving. Today, we featured side dishes and tomorrow we will be concluding our Thanksgiving recipes series with desserts. I hope you will all join us again tomorrow to delve into dessert recipes with us here on Review This!

If you have published a side dish recipe that would be great for Thanksgiving, we would love to have you share it with us.  Please leave the link to your recipe in the guestbook below.


A note of my own Thanksgiving:  I want to thank each of the writers and contributors who responded to my request and submitted recipes for this special Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes article.  You are all a true treasure trove of resources for which I am most grateful.

Wishing everyone a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
 


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Monday, November 20, 2017

Preparing the Food and Mood for Thanksgiving

The Review This! contributors are very talented holiday hostesses and Thanksgiving is no exception. If entertaining isn't your best talent, or if you feel you are forgetting something, have no fear  - we have tried and true recipes and entertaining ideas right here at your fingertips.


Thanksgiving - the Good Food



The Thanksgiving Turkey ~ Part I of Thanksgiving Recipes

Our Cynthia Sylvestermouse shares her love of Thanksgiving and a peek at how she manages the preparation during the week prior as well as the timing of cooking the turkey on the day of. It is clear that family and family traditions are very important in her home. Follow the link and you can get expert tips at baking a turkey from the designated turkey cook at the Sylvestermouse home.


Thanksgiving Side Dishes ~ Part II

This article is a compilation of favorite Thanksgiving meal side dishes from a variety of contributors. If you still aren't quite sure what else to prepare, or are looking for that special "something", you are likely to find that perfect addition to your holiday list here.


Holiday Desserts ~ Thanksgiving Menu Part III

Desserts. Definitely my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal menus. A pumpkin whoopee pie recipe is included in this list of dessert ideas. 


Thanksgiving Menu of Recipes Review

This is another compilation of recipes perfect for the Thanksgiving feast - including several bread recipes. Mary Beth's Cranberry Nut Muffin recipe makes my mouth water. 


Gatherings - Setting the Mood

Barbara has some of the best ideas for setting the mood - in both decor or entertaining. In How to Create a Positive Environment for Your Thanksgiving Dinner she lists 10 ways to keep a calm and kind gathering. 

BarbRad shares a large selection of Thanksgiving Praise Music. She writes "songs of praise can often bring gratitude back to our hearts".

Heather shares with us her favorite Thanksgiving hymn and her childhod memories attached to particular piece of music: The Thanksgiving Canon.

After The Feast


And of course, there is always the dilemma of what to do with all of that food after Thanksgiving. If in doubt, refer to Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers.

When the dust and the food has settled, relax with a good movie. These three movies have become Thanksgiving classics at my house. Especially The Other Sister. Carla Tate teaches us about love and things to be thankful for. 

Photo credit: public domain/creative commons 2.0



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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Reviewing Regional Thanksgiving Dinners



Thanksgiving dinners in America, and the dishes we serve, may seem to be the traditional dinner everyone eats on this most thankful day of the year. Not so.  What each family considers to be the perfect dishes on this 'turkey day' may be completely different to someone living in a different part of the country. What is traditional for you depends on where you live and also the culture you grew up in.  Let's explore a few different regions and see what is commonly served for Thanksgiving dinner. 


*A few recipe links are sprinkled throughout the following food descriptions if you want to try adding them to your Thanksgiving menu. 


Turkey or Other Main Meats


  • Baked turkey with stuffing is the traditional Thanksgiving Day main dish.
  • Fried turkey is popular in the South, especially in Texas.
  • Ham is often served in addition to turkey, especially for large gatherings.


Stuffing


Image Source: Pixabay


  • The South prefers cornbread stuffing with their turkey
  • In the New England states you will find clams or oysters mixed with the breadcrumbs in the stuffing.
  • In the Northeast, the stuffing is made with sausage.
  • The Southwest is known for their Tex-Mex style stuffing due to their large Latino population. A favorite one is Blue Cornmeal Chorizo Stuffing, which includes Chorizo sausage and serrano peppers in the blue corn bread crumbs.


Side Dishes


Image Sources: Pixabay & AllRecipes


  • Creamed onions made with pearl onions and heavy cream is a tradition in New England.  
  • Saurkraut is a staple for Thanksgiving dinner in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore due to their large German-American population. And Maryland crab cakes and corn-on-the-cob is often served.
  • Italian-Americans in New Jersey & parts of New York State traditionally serve Manicotti (ricotta-stuffed crepe pasta topped with marinara sauce) before the turkey is served. Or lasagna and baked ziti with meatballs are known to grace the table as well. 
  • The Northeastern quadrant of the country insists on homemade cranberry relish or sauce with this holiday dinner. 
  • The West and Southwest states serve a sweetened, fruity pasta salad which is made with pasta, pineapples, mandarin oranges, Cool Whip, and marshmallow topping. It's called Frog Eye Salad.
  • In Utah, Jell-O salad is an important side dish for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • The most traditional side dish in the Midwest is Green Bean Casserole.
  • In the upper Midwest, German Potato Salad is a favorite side dish. 
  • In Minnesota and Wisconsin, wild rice casserole is a tradition. Ingredients include mushrooms, pecans, and onions, and other variations. 


Desserts


Image Source: Pixabay


  • Pumpkin pie always seems to be the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but this is actually a mainly Northeastern states dessert. 
  • The South is famous for their Sweet Potato Pie. 
  • New England is known for it's Hasty Pudding (originally known as Indian Pudding), a delicious and simple dessert made with cornmeal, molasses, brown sugar, and spices. It's usually topped with whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.  
  • The Midwest Region favors Cherry Pie over Pumpkin.


Other Regional T-Day Dinner Traditions


Source: Pixabay


  • In New Mexico and other Southwestern states, the food word is 'spicy'.  It's popular to add chile to everything, gravy, stuffing, and even a chile-rub for the turkey. 
  • Southern traditions include a large variety of foods for the Thanksgiving table, including several types of macaroni and cheese, okra pickles, cornbread, and sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping. And, of course, lots of collard greens. 


Happy Thanksgiving

What is your favorite dish or combination of dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Whatever your Thanksgiving menu includes, the contributors of ReviewThisReviews wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.


More Thanksgiving Holiday Recipes and Reviews on ReviewThisReviews



*Regional Thanksgiving Dinners written by (c) Wednesday Elf (11/21/2020)






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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thoughtful Thanksgiving Hostess Gifts

You're invited out to Thanksgiving dinner! Here are five thoughtful gifts your hostess really wants.

Reviewing Gifts Your Hostess Really Wants


You've been invited to a friend or family member's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Lucky you! So now you have a dilemma: what would be the perfect hostess gift to say thank you for the hospitality?

To make your job easier, I've  chosen five different gifts that I'd love to receive if I were serving as your Thanksgiving hostess this year. While your hostess may not have the same tastes that I have, I think there should be an idea or two here that will work to elicit a "Thanks for being so thoughtful!" response from your hostess.








Give the Gift of a Seasonal Spa Treatment


The Gift of a Seasonal Spa Treatment For Your Thanksgiving Hostess | ButterCosmetics on Etsy
ButterCosmetics on Etsy
Who wouldn't need a spa treatment following a busy Thanksgiving day, or even a long weekend, of cooking, eating, and entertaining? This is a first class gift item, handmade with the best, soothing, healing ingredients you'll find anywhere. Honestly, I'm not usually much of a spa gal, but I would love to treat myself with these bath and lip products. A Thanksgiving hostess gift definitely fit for a queen.


A Gift for the Thanksgiving Cook


Premium Vintage Serving Spoon from MilkandHoneyLuxuries on Etsy, a beautiful, thoughtful hostess gift.
MilkandHoneyLuxuries
Look at this "I'm Thankful For You" serving spoon. Show me a cook who doesn't need another serving spoon and I'll show you . . well, it doesn't matter because any hostess could use an additional big serving spoon at Thanksgiving dinner. And how special is this one? Hand stamped with the words, "I'm thankful for YOU" with a heart, this is beautiful and such a very thoughtful gift! This premium vintage serving spoon is made to order by the creative and well-known folks at Milk and Honey Luxuries. I adore it and bet your hostess will, too.


The Hostess Gift That Keeps on Giving


Pass the blessing along with this Thanksgiving hostess gift, a Giving Platter from DaySpring.
DaySpring Cards and Gifts
Gift your hostess with a plate of your own specialty cookies, candies, or bread presented atop this "Share" Giving Platter. How does it work? The hostess gift arrives on the plate, homemade or even store-bought by you. The printing on the plate says "share," and a simple canvas tag with a verse is included, tied with a ribbon of jute. The verse on the tag begins, "This plate has no real owner, its journey never ends. It travels on a spontaneous path to neighbors... family... friends."

So after Thanksgiving, when life has settled down for a few minutes, your hostess friend can add her own goodies and present the plate to yet another neighbor or friend. Perhaps the plate, eventually, will make its way back with you since, as the verse says, "its journey never ends." Consider this gift idea for a hostess who is known to be a "giver." She'll love passing the blessing along in the future.


A Simple "Thank You" Will Do 


Thank You figurine by Willow Tree and Dayspring, a thoughtful Thanksgiving hostess gift.
Thank You Figurine by Willow Tree
This "Thank You" figurine by Willow Tree on Dayspring would be a beautiful choice for a hostess. She's little, just 5 1/2 inches high, but her message ("So appreciative of all you do!") is a big one that will encourage and lift up your hostess each time her eye catches this thoughtful gift.

Artist and sculptor Susan Lodi creates every figure in her Willow Tree collection with expressions revealed through gestures and absence of facial features, so the recipient can interpret its meaning in a personal way. What a beautiful way to show your appreciation for the kindness your hostess shows you.


Say "Thank You" With Flowers


Beautiful, Fresh Fall Flowers from FTD and DaySpring
When in doubt, flowers are a tried and true thank-you gift for a hostess. This beautiful, fall-colored Give Thanks Fall Bouquet would make a perfect, seasonal choice for a Thanksgiving hostess. More arrangements are available at the link. Good news is that all you have to do is the ordering; FTD delivers!  


How did I do? I hope you've discovered the perfect gift for your Thanksgiving hostess this year. I'd love to know what you chose, so don't be shy about leaving a comment below. I hope both you and your hostess have a very happy Thanksgiving!

~ Susan


Still looking? Check out these Gift Reviews from our Review This! team.





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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Holiday Desserts: Thanksgiving Menu Part III

Preparing for that big Thanksgiving dinner is what we're doing here at Review This. And I get the lucky job of reviewing desserts. Ah, my sweet tooth is so happy. 

But, it's not just your traditional desserts. I've found some unique and interesting twists on old favorites and delicious new favorites to add to my own recipe collection for Thanksgiving. 

Variations for Pumpkin Desserts


Pumpkin pie is one of those traditional Thanksgiving desserts in my house. But, I couldn't help drooling over these interesting twists on the pumpkin dessert. 

Pumpkin Cake Roll by Nancy Hardin
Pumpkin Cake Roll - a truly yummy dessert. Made with a cream cheese filling, this cake makes a
great presentation when sliced. Although the directions have quite a few steps, don't let that fool you. Author Nancy Hardin does a great job of giving you all steps. This cake is actually not hard to make and even novice chefs can bake up a delicious tasting and looking pumpkin cake roll.


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - a tasty twist on an old favorite. Now we have a fun treat for kids and grown-ups alike. Whoopie Pies have
been around even longer than I have. That's some age. But, now do these treats with pumpkin cake. Author Margaret Schindel shows us the recipe for this fun variation. 

Of course I grew up with the name of moon pie for these delectable desserts. The name Whoopie Pie originates in either Maine or Pennsylvania, depending on which state you come from. No matter what you call them, these individual-sized treats make a great way to serve pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving desserts.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie


For those of us looking to reduce the amount of gluten we consume, author Retta719 has given us a
Retta719 Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie
great recipe for gluten free pumpkin pie. It's simple, homemade and deep dish. This rich creamy version of pumpkin pie will delight everyone, even those who aren't concerned with gluten in their diet. It's worth making for a Thanksgiving dessert for everyone. 

This pie takes a long time to bake so you need to be prepared. Many ovens are loaded just before the Thanksgiving meal. The good news is that deep-dish gluten free pumpkin pie can be refrigerated for several hours and served cold.

Irish Ice Cream Chocolate 


Alright, I'll admit it. I have to have something chocolate as part of my Thanksgiving dessert. Irish Ice Cream Chocolate is for the grown-ups only. It's made with Irish Cream liqueur. It's one of those delicious treats that makes for an interesting and unique Thanksgiving dessert. 

BritFlorida presents the recipe and how to in simple steps along with some great variations. There's even a vegan option to try. You can prepare the majority of treat ahead of time, then add the liqueur before serving. Simple tasty and delicious.



Thanksgiving Menu on Review This


The Thanksgiving Menu is brought to you by Review This in 3 parts. Part I gives you that great turkey baking. A staple for the main course in many Thanksgiving dinners. Then Part II presents side dish options for all of us to enjoy. Everything from fruits to nuts, and vegetables, too. And now, Part III, rounding out the dinner with desserts for you. 

So relax, enjoy your own Thanksgiving dinner preparations with many new ideas and recipes. Have a happy holiday with friends and family sharing in the bounty.





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Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Menu of Recipes Review

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/
Cooking for Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.  For many years, Mom and I have cooked the day before Thanksgiving prior to any of our house guests arriving.  It was like the calm before the storm.  That day has always truly been a day of fun and laughter as we taste tested our way into sheer exhaustion that never felt better.

This year, several family members are coming in early, so Mom and I will be sharing the kitchen with a few others.  I already know I am going to miss that special time for just the two of us, but, like all things, we will adapt and no doubt, still enjoy fun and laughter.  In fact, I am already mentally devising ways to annoy my sister, who will be one of our early birds.

This year it will be more like the days of our youth when the girls in the household will pack into the kitchen like a can of sardines to cook, while the guys brilliantly stay out of the way.   Now that I think of it, I wonder, what do those guys do?  Perhaps I will spy on them this year and I can report back to you all later.

Note:  You can click any of the photos to see the actual recipes.


Breakfast Breads


As much as I enjoy cooking, I do not like to cook first thing in the morning.  I like to drink my coffee and wake up slowly.   How my morning begins has always affected my entire day.  If I wake up late, that stressful feeling of being rushed doesn't seem to leave me even as the day changes into early evening.  If I wake up to immediate work, I never seem to find that peace and I tend to be irritable all day.  Therefore, I prefer to either cook something the day before or something that can quickly be mixed together and stuck in the oven to bake while I drink my coffee and wake up fully.

Here are a few muffin and bread recipes that our contributors on Review This have shared with me and I, in turn, will share them with you.



 Festive Broccoli Salad Recipe

Festive Broccoli Salad


Anything that can be prepared ahead of time, especially the day before, is going to be a real winner in my book!

BarbRad's Festive Broccoli Salad sounds like a delicious recipe, plus it looks like one I could make ahead and leave in the refrigerator.   If someone gets hungry before the complete Thanksgiving dinner is ready, this salad is something they could easily help themselves to without ruining their appetites.

It would also be a very pretty addition to the Thanksgiving dinner table, provided you have any left after your guests know it is available while they wait.


The Thanksgiving Turkey


For as long as I can remember, the turkey has been one of the main dishes on our Thanksgiving table.  I cook it the same way my mother prepared her Thanksgiving turkey.  It is always delicious, tender and moist.   After all, not one enjoys a dried out turkey!

I share all of my secrets for  How to Bake a Turkey on Cooking for the Holidays.


 Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe

Making Another Meal with Turkey Leftovers
 
Since our guests stay for nearly a week, we need meals on the days after Thanksgiving.  No one really feels like cooking huge meals the following days or spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  Recipes that can be created with leftovers are the perfect solution to the days after Thanksgiving dinner dilemma.

Susan Deppner has shared her recipe for Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup.  This is such a great recipe for those turkey leftovers, especially for those cold, damp days that always seem to follow Thanksgiving.



Wishing You All a Wonderful Day, Delicious Meals, and Safe Travels this Thanksgiving Holiday!
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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Thanksgiving Turkey ~ Part I of Thanksgiving Recipes on Review This!

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ~ Photo by Julie on Flickr.com

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and all of the Thanksgiving dinner recipes!  For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been a family gathering time.  

My mother and I always prepare our traditional Thanksgiving recipes in anticipation of the family members flying, driving or riding in for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We never know exactly what to expect or what will happen when everyone is together, but we know what we will eat.


Preparing for Thanksgiving

The week before Thanksgiving, I go to the grocery store with my list.  The holidays are probably the only time of the year that I really enjoy grocery shopping.  Not because of the food I am buying, but because I know that food will be prepared for the holiday celebration and the people who make it all worthwhile.

My Grandmother & Brother ~ Holidays Past


Sometimes things get hectic and I get a little stressed, but I do try very hard to make the holidays easier by adhering to my own advice offered  in my article, Ten Ways to Make the Holiday Easier.

I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with my whole family and I want to have wonderful memories to reflect on throughout the years.  I also want them to enjoy the holidays in our home and to have fond, pleasant memories of time well spent.


The Main Course

When I was growing up, my grandmother and mother prepared the Thanksgiving meal.   Now, my mother and I cook the dinner.  Occasionally, my sister or one of my sisters-in-law will arrive in town early enough to help.  That is always guaranteed to be amusing and entertaining!

http://cookingfortheholidays.com/bake-a-turkey/

It is my job to prepare and cook the turkey.  I try to beat everyone else out of bed so I can shower and dress for the day.  By the time I am in the kitchen to start washing the turkey, Mom and Dad are usually here to chat with me while I get started.  Once the turkey is in the oven, Mom joins me and we work together for hours of cooking, laughing, cutting up and sometimes just talking.  It is a fabulous day.  I have always maintained that it is my favorite day of the year.  Sure, we get tired, but I wouldn't change a thing.

I share my recipe and tips for How to Bake a Turkey here:  Cooking for the Holidays


What's Next

Now that we have the turkey out of the way, be sure to join us here again next week.  We will be sharing the side dishes and desserts for the Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes Menu on Review This!


Be sure to check out additional Thanksgiving tips on Traveling Food - Holidays and Potlucks




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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

What's the Truth about the Pilgrims?

When I was in school, I learned that the Pilgrims had come to the New World from England to flee persecution for practicing their Separatist religion. After a hard journey on a small ship called the Mayflower, they founded a colony at Plymouth (Plimoth) under the leadership of William Bradford and William Brewster.

The Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower on December 21, 1620, and made Plymouth Rock famous. No one who landed on that day, though,  wrote anything about it's being the place where they stepped into the New World.

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

What I Learned about The First Thanksgiving in School

By the time the Pilgrims celebrated what we now call the First Thanksgiving, about half their number had died of sickness. Those who had survived had a great feast to thank God for all He had done to preserve them.  Native Americans gave them some corn and taught them how to plant it for an abundant crop. When they harvested their crops, they invited their Native American friends to share their feast as they thanked God for the food they had been able to grow. Both in school and in the Pilgrim journals, the Native Americans were called Indians. A friend of mine who knows a lot of Native Americans say they still don't mind being called Indians.


5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
Replica of Mayflower at Plimoth Plantation, photo edited from Pixabay


What Some Children Learn in School Now about the First Thanksgiving 

Unfortunately, my curriculum materials that are used in schools today aren't accessible as I write this, so I did some research online to see how the teaching about that first Thanksgiving has changed. The first thing we learn is that we shouldn't call it aThanksgiving feast at all since there was no such holiday back then. The purpose of the feast was to celebrate the harvest. Only in retrospect do we call this the First Thanksgiving.   

I did some of my research on the Plimoth Plantation website where children can research the holiday for themselves with interactive activities. Here are a couple of telling remarks from the Teacher's Guide, which has all the text from the activity pages. 

Fact or Myth?
Many people think that "history" and "the past" are the same thing. But they aren’t! The past is what actually happened. The past can never change. You would’ve have to have lived at the time to truly know about the past. History is how we think and write about the past. History is always changing. So events that occurred in 1621 (the past) will never change. But how we think about these events (history) has already changed a lot!

Culminating Activity
A few years ago, historians at Plimoth Plantation decided to look at the 1621 harvest celebration in a whole new way. They knew there was more to the story than the "Pilgrims" and "Indians" having dinner together. They decided to set aside what they thought they knew and look at the event with fresh eyes. They also realized that it was important to look at the events of 1621 from both the English and Wampanoag sides of the story. A lot of their research and new ideas about 1621 have gone into the creation of this web site.
5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
 Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. Photo courtesy of Pixabay


The gist of this is that historians can't change history -- what actually happened, but they can change the way it's interpreted and taught to match whatever political view prevails in the education establishment. What I learned in school may not have been completely accurate, but neither is the current curriculum in many schools. We now live in a more secular and multicultural society that cares much more about the Native American culture than the culture and beliefs of the Pilgrims who lived at Plimoth Plantation.

The Truth about The Pilgrims


The truth is somewhere in the middle. We need to recognize how God brought Squanto to the Pilgrims, along with Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoag tribe. Squanto taught the colonists how to produce food in their new land and gave them some corn to plant.  Massasoit signed a treaty to live in peace with the Pilgrims, and that peace lasted for fifty years.

So, yes. The Native Americans did play a big role in the survival of the colony. But so did the faith the Pilgrims had in their God, whom they trusted daily to provide their needs. They saw the friendship of Squanto and Massasoit as part of God's providence, a way He was meeting their needs. A reading of the primary sources, such as Of Plimoth Plantation by William Bradford will make it clear what the Pilgrims believed. It is this faith element and God's providence that contemporary teaching often leaves out.



Children's Books about the Pilgrims that Strike the Right Balance

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

I have chosen these five books as the best for teaching children about this period because most draw heavily from the primary sources. Some almost paraphrase parts of them in language children can understand.  Those sources are Of Plimoth Plantation, linked to above, and Mourt's Relation, a journal usually attributed to Gordon Winslow and William Bradford. Both were eyewitnesses to the beginnings of the Plimoth colony.

The First Thanksgiving Feast by Joan Anderson

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
This book brings the Pilgrims and Native Americans to life through the black and white photos taken by George Ancona at Plimoth Plantation. It has a comfortable print size for its intended audience in grades 5-7. I believe many in lower grades would also be able to read this independently. 

The first part of the story is told through quotes from actual colonists.  The last part of the book is narration by the author drawn from the source material. The last page discusses the development of the tradition of the American Thanksgiving and is not actually part of the story.  This book is out of print. You can get it at Amazon or at eBay.  



Pilgrim Music for Thanksgiving

It is likely that when the Pilgrims gave thanks they sang a hymn. The one churches still sing today that the Pilgrims probably sang is from the Genevan Psalter that dates from 1562 and was used by the Separatists. We know that hymn today as "Old Hundredth," and the Doxology sung in many churches has the same tune.  This version is probably close to what the Pilgrims sang.



You can find this version at Amazon in digital form.
You can find the CD form at eBay. 

I think it ironic that I found the same hymn being sung (different arrangement) at Westminster Abbey in a service commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. It shows much of the ceremony that the Separatists despised and separated themselves from. As the processional of the choirs and the Queen and other dignitaries came down the aisle, I was temporarily taken aback, wondering who that bewildered looking younger person in the black and white clip with the crown was. It took me a minute to realize it was a clip of  the Queen on her actual Coronation Day superimposed on the processional.



Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World  Edited by Connie and Peter Roop

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The clear, easy-to-read, double-spaced type tells the story of the Pilgrims’ first year in the New World as a series of diary entries written in the first person. The primary sources the authors drew from were Mourt’s Relation and Of Plymouth Plantation, sources authored by Edward Winslow and William Bradford. The editors modernized the language and changed Bradford’s journal from the third to the first person for unity of voice. About half of the 45 pages in this God-honoring history are gorgeous color paintings by Shelley Prichett, making this volume a feast for the eyes. The book, suitable for all ages past preschool, also contains a forward full of historical background, the text of the Mayflower Compact, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

This, too, is out of print. It is available in a Kindle edition or used at Amazon or used at eBay. Many of the used eBay copies have free shipping, and many of the Amazon cheap copies don't.


Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
This paperback book for children 5-10 is my personal favorite because of its visual appeal. It is also based on Bradford’s writings. The author and illustrator, Cheryl Harness, has created a panorama of paintings that captures the Pilgrim story.  It focuses on three young children, Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew Allerton.  Their mother, Mary, along with her new baby, died in 1621.

We first meet the children in the middle of the ocean on the Mayflower and follow their life in the colony. Young Mary Allerton grew up and died of old age in 1699.  She grew older than anyone else who came over on the Mayflower.  

If your children are visual learners, you’ve got to get this book. The first major painting is a map of the Atlantic Ocean showing the sailing Mayflower with geographical notes tracing the adventures of the Pilgrims from the time they fled England for Holland until they settled in Plymouth. The next double-page spread is a cross-section of the Mayflower showing the people and supplies crowded onto the various parts of the ship. 

The main story is illustrated by spectacular paintings showing life on the Mayflower and in Plymouth. Then there is a labeled picture-map of Plymouth Plantation with a timeline of earlier New World explorations along the bottom and an illustrated chart on the far right showing what else was going on in other parts of the world while the Pilgrims were having their adventures. The last pages in the book contain labeled pictures of all the Mayflower passengers, with one double-page spread allotted to the Saints, and another to the Strangers, and the difference between them is explained. The Indians get their own double-page spread which is bordered with small drawings of native plants, animals, and sea-life. The last page is a bibliography. This book is, fortunately still in print and available new and used at Amazon. You can also find it on eBay if you prefer to look there. 


The Pilgrims at Plymouth, a Landmark Book by Lucile Recht Penner

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are as appealing as those in Three Young Pilgrims.  These illustrations are on the edges of the pages, accompanied by small bold text to differentiate it from the larger text in the story.

The author tells the story of the Pilgrims' struggle to create a new home in the wilderness of a new land and how both the settlement they founded and the principles they established helped to shape the new American nation. Each double-page spread deals with one aspect of the Pilgrims' adventure, beginning on the Mayflower and ending with the Thanksgiving feast. This book states that Mary Allerton Cushman died in 1704, which contradicts most other sources I've seen. The text of this book was copyrighted in 1996 before the term "Indians" was deemed politically incorrect. 

The Pilgrims at Plymouth offers more details about daily life in the Plymouth colony than the previously mentioned books, including an accurate portrayal of the Pilgrims' faith. It also goes into more detail on the life of Squanto. Both this book and Three Young Pilgrims are good supplements to the more journal-like books first reviewed. They answer more of the questions about details left out of the other books.  44 pages. For grades 2 and up. This book is out of print but is available from both Amazon and eBay.


Daily Life in the Pilgrim Colony 1636 by Paul Erickson

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The author and photographers who created this book paint a captivating portrait of an early Pilgrim settlement. Many of the photos come from Plimoth Plantation, where history is still alive. I have been there and watched as my rebellious daughter was called out by one of the adult male enacters who heard her talking back to my husband. The "Pilgrim" told her she'd never get a husband with that rebellious attitude. She was in total shock. No one she knew would have dared tell her such a thing.
In the book, Paul Erickson describes the duties of each family member -- even the children -- and their roles in the community as a whole. We watch people at work through the seasons as the women tend to the home, animals, and garden. The men do the heavy work in the fields and handle trading and defense. Children help their parents with their daily chores. We watch the activities of the family as they start their day, get dressed, work, and get ready for bed at night. 

Education was also handled at home. Parents taught their children to read so they would be able to read the Bible, which was considered the most important book. Children also learned practical skills as they helped their parents cook, farm, garden, and make clothing from the wool to the finished garments. 

The book explains how the government worked and how the colony was founded and organized. The author also describes a typical worship service in the meeting house. That couple of paragraphs is about all we learn about the religion of the colonists, except the importance of the Bible in their lives. We also learn a bit about health and how illnesses were treated. 

The author describes celebrations and special occasions. He gives three paragraphs total to what we now call the first Thanksgiving. Part of that is a recipe for the traditional Plymouth Succotash.  

Unlike the books I reviewed above, this one doesn't  tell us a story or let the characters themselves say much. It has a more academic tone, showing and telling us about life in the colony. The last page analyzes the Pilgrims' place in history. Readers will learn what happened but probably won't relate to it as much as they will by identifying with the characters in the other books.  Vivid full-color photos and drawings along with smaller black and white drawings show us a family and the items they would have used in their home and in the fields in Plymouth. 

The book also features a timeline of the colony from 1455, when Guttenberg finished printing the Bible to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. There is a reproduction of a 1635 map of the world so students can compare it to maps depicting today's world. We also see a color diagram map of Plymouth Colony. A glossary and index are also included. This book is the most secular in tone of all the ones I review here. Like most of the others, it is out of print. It is available at Amazon or eBay. For ages nine and up. 48 pages. 

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
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