Growing up around here, there is no escaping the Pilgrims and the tale of the first Thanksgiving.
My third grade class went to Plymouth to hear the tale of the Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving. It was very cold on our bus trip, and I was very sick the whole day, but fortunately, my teacher wrapped me up in her fur coat and I was able to avoid frostbite.
Basically, here's the historical drill:
The Pilgrims settled in Plymouth, jumped on a rock in the harbor (see Plymouth Rock) and pitched their tents (see Plimouth Plantation) after arriving from England on their ship Mayflower, which is smaller than your average mini-van.
In those early years, before Wal-Mart and fast food restaurants, they braved the conditions and the wilderness for supplies and food.
A lot of them didn't make it, but those who did were thankful to be alive.
These days, the same thing can said about the locals driving from Plymouth to Boston on Route 3.
For all their help, the Pilgrims decided to invite the Native Americans over for some turkey and football on the last Thursday of November. This was the first documented case of inviting the neighbors over for the holiday.
Here on and in, though, I have a slight problem with the holiday.
First, I don't think Thanksgiving was in November. My bet is the middle of October, more like Canadian Thanksgiving or our Columbus Day.
According to thanksgivingfun.com, they had breakfasts, lunches, snacks and big buffet dinners over three days. This was the birth of the after-Thanksgiving-dinner nap.
To me, this sounds more like a Fourth of July long weekend rather than a three-day binge in the cold in November.
And I know the menu wasn't like the dinner I will be eating at my aunt's this Thursday.
According to thanksgivingnovember.com, they ate roasted goose, boiled turkey, roasted deer with mustard sauce, seethed cod, seethed duck and seethed lobster. That is way too much seethed for me. And my aunt doesn't cook goose.
I've never had goose or anything seethed for Thanksgiving, and I'm not going to start now.
Unfortunately, though, I have been around turkey-less Thanksgivings.
While my sister denies it, family lore says she didn't like turkey when she was a kid. Our mom told her to research what the Pilgrims really ate. We could pick from that menu.
Hello beef and hello no turkey for little Mikey.
That tradition extended to the last time we went out for Thanksgiving dinner with our dad before he died. My dad, my sister, my brother-in-law, niece and nephew all ordered prime rib, prime rib, prime rib, prime rib, prime rib. When I ordered turkey, I felt like I was the one who brought the ants to the picnic.
I'm having turkey Thursday, even though I'm on a grain, hay, oats and high-fiber diet. Some people get in shape for the Boston Marathon, but I'm training for the Kentucky Derby.
On Thanksgiving, instead of a rice cake, though, I'm diving into a drumstick.
I did consider a vegan turkey and even looked up a recipe. I still can't figure out what exactly it is. There was a lot of veggie stuff, and it didn't look like a turkey but more like a calzone. Still, it didn't look as bad as one of the turkeys I made during my bachelor days.
In those days, I was afraid of the stove. It didn't look too clean and had all kinds of knobs and things all over it. Basically, I was afraid I was going to blow up the apartment if I used it. For me, the microwave seemed much safer.
The package in the grocery store said it was a microwave turkey made easy, so I got one. I couldn't mess this up.
Oh yes, I could.
I heard turkeys needed a couple of hours to cook, so I set the microwave for as long as possible.
You know what?
I left it in too long and it kind of exploded inside and was desert-dry on the outside.
My turkey was the victim of a nuclear meltdown.
Fortunately, the local corner store stayed open and they had turkey sandwiches, so I bought two of them and a cranberry drink for my Thanksgiving Day dinner.
It wasn't too bad.
At least I didn't have to eat boiled goose or anything seethed.