Much has been written and many movies made about the first Thanksgiving but in my somewhat sparse research on the day, I can find no mention of GARLIC! I searched several websites for a correlation between garlic and Thanksgiving #1 but, sadly, the food at Plymouth Plantation circa 1621 was, most likely, devoid of any real flavor – at least garlic-wise.
Most sources say the first Thanksgiving was a harvest festival also celebrating the pilgrims’ survival of their first brutal winter in a new land. The celebration lasted three days with enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans, and their feast consisted mainly of fowl (wild turkeys were plentiful), venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash. There was no garlic and, also, no butter as the pilgrims brought no livestock on the ship over – bad news for the dairy lovers in the group.
I can only sigh when thinking about turkey, lobster, clams, etc. with no garlic butter, and I’m wondering how long it took for garlic to find its way onto the tables of Massachusetts residents. Perhaps the Native Americans had already cultivated an allium relative but weren’t ready to give away all their cooking secrets right at the get go.
Evidently, it would be at least another century before garlic went mainstream in some areas of the new world and now, 250 years later, I would like to give thanks to whoever graced that very first dish with garlic. Whether it was a stroke of luck or sheer genius, it must have been a most memorable meal…