Okay, so geese, duck, and
various other wild fowl were
probably on the table at that
now famous feast in the fall
of 1621. At least, according
to James and Patricia Scott
Deetz, authors of The Times
of Their Lives; Life, Love, and
Death in Plymouth Colony (2000).
It’s also possible, but highly unlikely, they say, that there may’ve
been a wild turkey or two. However, the Deetzes think not, partly
because the early colonists would’ve used lightweight firearms
known as fowling pieces, and not the heavier matchlock muskets,
for their hunting activities. According to the two authors, fowling
pieces were the all-around weapon of choice. Now, I’m not exactly
sure why this matters, but there it is. Bottom line, however, as
they point out, is that turkeys were not explicitly mentioned by
anyone who wrote of the feast, either soon after or years later.
Having said that, you might be wondering, “Well, what WAS
‘explicitly mentioned’ in writings about the event?” Let’s look
again at Edward Winslow’s passage. He writes:
many of the Indians
joined the party, along with
their greatest king Massasoit…and
they went out and killed five deer,
which they brought to the plantation
and bestowed on our governor…
A-Ha! So, we can be absolutely, positively, correct and say,
without a doubt, that venison was on the menu. HUZZAH!
And so, dear readers, if you really, truly want to feast next
Thursday just like the early Plymouth colonists, then you’ll
need to serve up some deer meat. Time is passing quickly,
so better contact your butcher, or your favorite hunter, and
order up that haunch of venison now!
Up next: Okay, venison, but no turkey. dagnabit. What else?!