Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Gentle Readers celebrating today!
We received a link from Alert Janeite Lisa that amused us not a little, to an article about what the Pilgrims really ate at the first Thanksgiving.
Popcorn: In 1889, a novel by Jane Austen created the myth that popcorn was served at the first Thanksgiving. This legend was disproved by archaeologists at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts who experimented with antique corn breeds and could not get any of them to pop.
Those paying attention will note several problems with this paragraph, once they pick themselves off the floor where they no doubt fell laughing. But we think the author meant to reference the “other” Jane Austin–Jane G. Austin, that is, who wrote a book called Standish of Standish, a Story of the Pilgrims that contains the following bit:
The meal was a rude one looked upon with the dainty eyes and languid appetites of to-day, but to those sturdy and heroic men and women it was a veritable feast, and at its close Quadequina with an amiable smile nodded to one of his attendants, who produced and poured upon the table something like a bushel of popped corn,—a dainty hitherto unseen and unknown by most of the Pilgrims.
All tasted, and John Howland hastily gathering up a portion upon a wooden plate carried it to the Common house for the delectation of the women, that is to say, for Elizabeth Tilley, whose firm young teeth craunched it with much gusto.
As long as they had cranberry sauce, it’s all good. (Please don’t disabuse us of our notions. It’s a national freaking holiday.) And don’t do any stupid stampeding tomorrow.
(Elizabeth Tilley, eh? Sure that’s not “Fitzwilliam” Howland? “Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of the common way.”)