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Time Warp Cooking thumb2.png

Plymouth, 1621

Travel back in time and become the Thanksgiving expert in your family, and make real food for your own Thanksgiving table to honor the native Wampanoag people and the English pilgrims.

Part 1 - Wampanoag Life, 1620

Lynley Jones

Week 1 - Wampanoag Life.png

We begin our Time Warp adventure in the year 1620.  The Mayflower has not yet landed.


The word "wampanoag" means "people of the first light."  Since they lived on the east coast of North America, they would actually see the first light of dawn over the Atlantic Ocean each morning.

Wampanoag names are shown in ALL CAPS.  (Source: Plimoth Plantation/www.plimoth.org)

Wampanoag names are shown in ALL CAPS.  (Source: Plimoth Plantation/www.plimoth.org)

In 1620, most details of everyday life are much like they have always been for Wampanoag people.

Click to watch:  the Wampanoag Homesite at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Modern-day Wampanoag people work there and recreate the everyday life of the Wampanoag people from the 1600s, including their clothing, games, crafts and food.

In the 1600s, people have to work hard every day just to survive.  They have learned exactly how to do things so that they can find enough food, stay warm, protect their families, and have fun together. 

The English pilgrims didn't invent thanksgiving!

For thousands of years, before the Mayflower arrived, the Wampanoag people have given thanks every day, all day long, for just about everything - the air, the sea, clean water, warm sunshine, bird song, food found in the woods, food grown in crops, success in hunting.

The Wampanoag believe that all living things are their brothers, and they call the earth "Mother Earth."  When they kill a deer in a successful hunt, they thank brother Deer for nourishing them.  When they have a successful corn harvest, they thank brother Crow for bringing the first corn seed from the Creator, and they thank Mother Earth for helping it to grow. 

In 1620, corn is one of the main crops of the Wampanoag.

Wampanoag corn looked like the corn we often see as an autumn decoration, sometimes called "Indian Corn."  It's colorful, and not as sweet as the corn we usually find in the grocery store.

The Wampanoag leave the corn on the stalk to dry through the fall.  When winter sets in, they bring the ears of corn indoors and hang them inside where they will stay nice for eating.

When you see ears of colorful corn as a decoration this fall, you can imagine what life was like for Wampanoag children in 1620 - and say "taubotash" (thank you) for corn!

Make Noohkik - a crunchy corn snack like the Wampanoag actually ate!  Or try your hand at juicy, modern corn on the cob.

 

Think you can eat like a Wampanoag hunter?  Try this recipe and find out!

In the 1600s, Wampanoag used their colorful corn kernels to make a ground-up snack called Noohkik to bring on long trips.  They would carry it in a small pouch and nibble a little at a time if they got really hungry.  This, plus a little water to drink, would fill their stomachs long enough to keep them going.

"I decide to rest and have some noohkik.  A little bit will quickly fill my stomach." (Source: Tapenum's Day (Scholastic Press)

"I decide to rest and have some noohkik.  A little bit will quickly fill my stomach."

(Source: Tapenum's Day (Scholastic Press)

Learn to make Noohkik at home!  Bring some on your next hike and see if it fills your stomach.

Learn to make Crunchy Parched Corn snack for your Thanksgiving guests to munch while they wait for the feast.

 

In 1620, the Wampanoag didn't have juicy, sweet, yellow corn like we find in the grocery store today.  But you can!

Learn to make easy Corn on the Cob for your Thanksgiving guests - or anytime!

This post originally appeared on Adventure Kitchen on 10/7/14.


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Part 2 - Wampanoag Breakfast

Lynley Jones

Wampaoag Breakfast, 1620.png

The year is 1620.  The Mayflower has not yet landed.

Source:  Plimoth Plantation/www.plimothplantation.org

Source:  Plimoth Plantation/www.plimothplantation.org

As they see the warm sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, Wampanoag people say taubotash (thank you) to Sun.  Just like you, they are thankful for the warmth and beauty he brings to them each day.

Sun reminds the Wampanoag people that they are special. They are the People of the First Light, so they know that as Sun rises each morning, he warms them first each day, before traveling on to all other people.

Wampanoag names are shown in ALL CAPS.  (Source: Plimoth Plantation/www.plimoth.org)

Wampanoag names are shown in ALL CAPS.  (Source: Plimoth Plantation/www.plimoth.org)

As the weather gets colder and the days grow shorter, Wampanoag families spend more time gathered around the fire.  Here, children learn many stories.

One of these is the story of corn.

Corn is a sacred plant.  It grows in the four sacred colors:  red, yellow, blue and white.
The first corn was a gift to the Wampanoag people, brought by Crow from the Creator’s garden in the southwest.  Crow flew across the vast blue skies with a corn kernel in one ear and a bean in the other.  When he arrived, the Wampanoag people planted the corn kernel and the bean.  They grew into plants that gave them hundreds more.
They have been gardening ever since.

Based on information provided during our visit to the Plymouth Grist Mill, Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachussets, August 2014.

Corn is a female spirit.  That is why the women are in charge of tending the gardens.  They know just what to do to help it grow, because it is their relative. 

Source:  Plimoth Plantation/www.plimoth.org

Source:  Plimoth Plantation/www.plimoth.org

Girls help their mothers in the garden, so that they will learn to be expert farmers when they grow up, too.  They know they have to take special care of Crow’s precious gift.  They learn special songs, prayers and ceremonies so that Mother Earth will continue to help the corn grow.

Wampanoag men and boys know this is a sacred honor for women and girls.  They  respect this important work, and they are thankful for the power of the female spirit.

When the sun rises over the village, it is time to wake up, eat breakfast and begin the day’s work.

Source:  www.plimoth.org

Source:  www.plimoth.org

The women cook the food for Wampanoag families.  This is a very important job.  They know just what to do to turn their sister, corn, and all the other garden plants, into delicious, filling food for everyone.

Start your day with corn for breakfast!

 

Nausamp is a porridge (like oatmeal), made of corn meal (ground-up corn).

Nausamp made in the Adventure Kitchen, October 2014.

Nausamp made in the Adventure Kitchen, October 2014.

Learn to make Nausamp for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning – or any time!

This authentic recipe is adapted from the Plimoth Plantation, where Wampanoag culinary historians have re-created the actual food eaten before the Mayflower arrived.
 
  • Corn meal
  • Fresh water
  • Maple syrup (In 1620, made from the sap of local maple trees)
  • Walnuts, hazlenuts or sunflower seeds
  • Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or cranberries (cranberries can be fresh or dried, but in 1620 they would not be sweetened)
  • No salt!  (The Wampanoag did not harvest salt before the Mayflower arrived)

This post originally appeared on 10/14/14.


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Part 3 - Three Sisters and Some Soup

Lynley Jones

The year is 1620.  The Mayflower has not yet landed.

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Last week we learned that for the Wampanoag in 1620, corn is female.  This week we learn that...

She has sisters!

Click to visit the website Renee's Garden, where you can learn to plant your own Three Sisters garden next spring!

Click to visit the website Renee's Garden, where you can learn to plant your own Three Sisters garden next spring!

Wampanoag and other Native Americans know that planting the Three Sisters - corn, beans and squash - together helps all three of them grow better.  Like all good sisters (and brothers), they help each other out!

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

  1. Make mounds for each corn planting.
  2. Catch 2-3 herring (a type of fish) and bury them in each mound.
  3. Let the fish rot in the soil for 2-3 weeks.  The rotting fish gives the soil nutrients that help plants grow.
  4. Plant 2-4 dried corn kernels in each mound.
  5. When the corn is as high as a human hand, plant beans around the base of the corn, and plant squashes around the other plants.
  6. Bean plants grow by climbing.  As the corn stalks grow, the beam plants will climb up the corn stalks.
  7. Squash plants grow by spreading over the ground.  As the squash plants grow, they cover the ground with their leaves so that weeds can't grow.
  8. By the fall, all Three Sisters are ready!

These Three Sisters love to party together.

A great recipe for your Thanksgiving table, or any time.

 

In the Adventure Kitchen this week, we made Three Sisters Soup.  Click for the recipe.

Three Sisters Soup simmering on the Adventure Kitchen stove.

Three Sisters Soup simmering on the Adventure Kitchen stove.

The kids in class gobbled it up!
There was enough for everyone to have seconds, but to their great disappointment, we did not let them lick the pot.  (Some were seriously eyeing it....)
  • Beans
  • Squash (we used butternut squash)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Greens (we used spinach)
  • Chives
  • Chicken broth (no chickens in North American until brought by the Europeans)
  • Modern sweet corn (the Wampanoag used dried corn)
  • Olive oil (the Wampanoag cooked with fats such as bear grease)
  • Salt (the Wampanoag did not harvest salt before the Mayflower arrived)

This post originally appeared on 10/21/14.


 

Succotash is a Wampanoag word.  Traditional Wampanoag succotash was a combination of the Three Sisters - beans, squash and corn.  Click for the recipe.

This authentic recipe was created with help from the Plimoth Plantation Wampanoag Foodways Manager, using ingredients and techniques that would have been available before the Mayflower arrived.
 
 
 
  • Fresh water
  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Squash
  • Chives
  • Cornmeal (use coarse cornmeal, sampe or hominy grits)
  • No salt!  (The Wampanoag did not harvest salt before the Mayflower arrived)
 

Part 4 - A Stew and a Story

Lynley Jones

 

The year is 1620.  The Mayflower has not yet landed.

Source: Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source: Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

In school, children often learn the story of how Squanto befriended the English pilgrims and taught them how to plant corn.

In our cooking class, we have been learning the true, interesting and complicated tale of Squanto's life before he met the pilgrims.

A great book for children, with beautiful illustrations.  Tells the story of Squanto's life up to the "first Thaknsgiving" in 1621.

A great book for children, with beautiful illustrations.  Tells the story of Squanto's life up to the "first Thaknsgiving" in 1621.

Squanto (also known as "Tisquantum") grew up in a village named Patuxet.  Last week in class, we learned what life might have been like for Squanto as a boy.

Every once in awhile, a huge European ship would arrive in the area to visit.  In 1605, when Squanto was about 15 years old, a French explorer named Samuel de Champlain came to Patuxet and created a detailed map of what he saw.

When Champlain visited, Patuxet was a busy and bustling village.  His map shows houses, gardens, people and canoes.  Look carefully and you'll see smoke coming from the cozy fires warming their wetus (houses).  Patuxet seems like a nice, happy place for families and children.
Samuel de Champlain's map of the harbor at Patuxet, 1605.

Samuel de Champlain's map of the harbor at Patuxet, 1605.

Champlain wrote about his visit.  He said the Patuxet people rowed their canoes out to meet him in his ship, gave him gifts and invited him to explore their river.  Champlain even came ashore.  Maybe he met 15 year-old Squanto!

Some of the Europeans who sailed into these waters were very friendly.  Others were not.

Captain John Smith

Captain John Smith

In 1614, when Squanto was about 24 years old, Captain John Smith and Thomas Dermer, one of his officers, sailed to Patuxet to explore and make detailed maps.  Later in life, when he was back in England, Smith longed to return to the area, describing it as "the paradise of those parts." (Source: Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick)

Squanto met Captain Smith and Thomas Dermer, and they had a friendly time together.

Later, Thomas Hunt, the captain of one of the other ships in the expedition, invited Squanto and at least 20 other Wampanoag men aboard his ship for a feast.

But it was a trick!  The Englishmen on this ship were not friendly.  They captured all the men and sailed away with them to Spain, to sell them into slavery.

When they got to Spain, Squanto got some help.  Some local Christian monks freed some of the men, and Squanto became friends with them.  (Click here to learn more about monks).  They helped him get to England, in the hopes of finding a ship that would take him back to his home in Patuxet.

Portrait of a Monk, ca. 1685 Artist:  Claudo Coello, 1642-1693 (Spanish); oil on canvas

Portrait of a Monk, ca. 1685

Artist:  Claudo Coello, 1642-1693 (Spanish); oil on canvas

Squanto was in luck.  In England, he found his old friend Thomas Dermer, and in 1619, after 5 long years, they sailed back to Patuxet together.  By then, Squanto had learned to speak English fluently.

Sadly, when they finally reached Patuxet, all was not well.  Squanto's home village was deserted.  No one was living there anymore.  All that remained of the people who had once lived there were their bones, lying on the ground.  Some of the Europeans who had come to visit had very bad germs.  The diseases were sometimes so bad that in some villages, like Patuxet, nearly every single person was killed.  The people had been so sick, they could not even bury their dead.  Strangely, other villages were nearly untouched by these diseases.

With his home village empty, he went to a nearby village called Pokonoket, about a day's walk from Patuxet, and stayed with the people there.  The sachem (chief) of Pokonoket was named Massasoit.

Unfortunately for Squanto, his troubles were not over.  In the spring of 1620, another English ship arrived, and the people were not nice.

Understandably, by this time, the Wampanoag people decided they did not like these English people.  As Squanto traveled around with his friend Thomas Dermer and some other Englishmen to trade with various villages, this time the Wampanoag people were not friendly.  They attacked the group.  Squanto helped Thomas Dermer escape alive, but wounded (he would later die of his wounds).

When the Wampaonag saw that Squanto helped the English, they decided they could not trust him.  Squanto was taken prisoner.

You know the name of this ship!

You know the name of this ship!

In the fall of 1620, as Squanto was held prisoner by Massasoit in the village of Pokonoket, a new ship would be spotted on the horizon.

There was something very different about this ship - it was the first ship that had arrived carrying whole families, including women and children!

This post originally appeared on 10/28/14.


During the long 5 years Squanto was away, he missed his home and his family, and he must have missed the familiar foods he had eaten all his life.

 
Deer meat is available in the fall.

Deer meat is available in the fall.

"Venison" means meat from a deer.  Just like fruits and vegetables, some meat is seasonal.  Deer is not mature enough to be hunted until the fall each year, so venison is a fall meat.

Venison is one thing we know for sure was served at the "first Thanksgiving" because it was specifically mentioned.

You can sometimes find venison at special shops and online.  If you don't have venison, you can make this recipe with beef instead, and it will be delicious.

 
A bowl of Venison Sobaheg made in the Adventure kitchen, October 2014.

A bowl of Venison Sobaheg made in the Adventure kitchen, October 2014.

Click for the recipe...

Sobaheg is the Wampanoag word for "stew."  Stews just like this one, cooked in a pot over an open fire, were a very common sight before and after the Mayflower arrived.  European visitors described them in their journals.  Sobaheg could be made with a variety of vegetables, beans, and whatever meat or seafood was available.  It was always thickened with ground, dried corn (cornmeal).  

 

  • Venison (cows would not be brought to North America until a few years after the Mayflower)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Coarse cornmeal (sampe or hominy grits works great here)
  • Pumpkin
  • Jerusalem artichokes (also known as "sun chokes")
  • Fresh water
  • Canola oil (the Wampanoag cooked with fats such as bear grease)
  • Salt (the Wampanoag did not harvest salt before the Mayflower arrived)
  • Pepper (originated in India, later brought to North America by the Europeans)

Part 5 - The Mayflower

Lynley Jones

mayflower.jpg

The year is 1620.

The Mayflower is heading for America.

In our cooking class this week, we had a visitor!

Our “Remember Allerton” visited the Adventure Kitchen classroom on November 4, 2014.

Our “Remember Allerton” visited the Adventure Kitchen classroom on November 4, 2014.

Remember Allerton is about 5 years old when she sails to America on the Mayflower.  She is traveling with her family:  her father Isaac, her mother Mary, her older brother Bartholomew (age 7) and her younger sister Mary (age 3).

The name “Remember” may seem a little strange, but names with other meanings were common among the English pilgrims.  Other people had names such as Love, Wrestling, Fear, Resolved and Patience.

Another boy is traveling with Remember’s family on the Mayflower.  His name is John Hooke, and he is 12 or 13 years old.  John is a new apprentice to Remember’s father – he is learning the trade of tailoring.  (Click to learn more about what it means to be an "apprentice.")

None of the rest of John’s family is traveling on the Mayflower.  We don’t have any information about how well he gets along with Remember and her family.  Traveling for weeks on the Mayflower with them, and not sure what to expect when they finally arrive, he is certainly a long way from home.  We imagine he must be feeling a little lonely and afraid at times.

Remember’s family is English, but she was actually born in Holland!

King James I, 1621

King James I, 1621

There is no such thing as “freedom of religion” in the 1600s.  In most countries, the king decides what religion the country will be, and that’s what everyone is.  In England, the official church is called the Church of England (also known as Anglican).

Remember’s family feels that the Church of England has things all wrong.  They think Christianity should be different, so they have joined with others and separated into a new church.  People in the new church are called Puritans. But starting a new church is against the law.  To go against the official church is to go against King James, and people have sometimes been put in jail – or even put to death – for it.

 

 

So, some families have moved out of England to Holland.  The English king can't punish them there.  Puritans who have moved to Holland are sometimes called Separatists.  Remember was born in Holland in about 1615.

Over time, the Puritans have decided they don’t want to live in Holland any more.  They still feel like they are English, but they can’t go back to England.  They have gradually developed the idea of moving to North America, a new world where they can create a new “Community of Saints” just for them and their friends.  Some families have volunteered to be the first to go, and Remember’s family is one of them.  In 1620, the time has arrived.

This house was in Leiden, Holland, when Remember and her family lived there.  Today it’s the location of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum.

This house was in Leiden, Holland, when Remember and her family lived there.  Today it’s the location of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum.

 
Embarkation of the Pilgrims, Robert Weir, American, 1857

Embarkation of the Pilgrims, Robert Weir, American, 1857

This painting shows the emotional goodbye between the Separatists who were leaving for the new world, and their friends who would be staying behind.

When Remember first set foot on the ship that was to take her family to North America, it wasn’t the Mayflower – it was the Speedwell.  The plan was for the two ships to sail together.  But the Speedwell turned out to be dangerously leaky.  After they had already left – twice! – they finally had to return to England and switch ships for good.  By this time, much of their food and other supplies had already been used up.

Remember and her family must be very disappointed.  The Mayflower was design to carry cargo, not people, so it doesn’t have any nice places to sleep or relax or play.  Families have had to create little spaces for themselves in the “tweendecks,” a cold, dark, damp space that doesn’t even have enough room for grownups to stand up straight.

The multiple departures of Speedwell and Mayflower

The multiple departures of Speedwell and Mayflower

When they finally set sail for good, it was September 6, 1620.

“Remember” holding a life-sized stuffed version of a ship rat from the 1600s.  Eww!

“Remember” holding a life-sized stuffed version of a ship rat from the 1600s.  Eww!

Life aboard the Mayflower is pretty miserable.  There is no place to play, and passengers aren’t allowed to get fresh air up on deck very often.  The food is horrible, and there are probably big rats running around! 

Since they have to spend most of their time in the crowded, dark tweendecks area, there isn’t much space or light for playing. Children mainly entertain themselves with storytelling, riddles, and other games and activities that don’t require much space.  Two families have brought their dogs on the Mayflower, so it seems likely the children might have a chance to play with them a little! 

Not everyone aboard the Mayflower is friend from Remember’s church.  There are business-type people who are going with the Puritans in order to make money.  They are often called “strangers” or “adventurers.”  And there are the sailors and crew who are there to run the ship.

Sometimes the sailors are mean to Remember and the other passsengers.  In the beginning of the trip, one of the sailors was especially mean.  He always made fun of them if they got sick, and even joked about how happy he would be if they died!  Ironically, he himself was the first to become sick and die aboard Mayflower.  The Puritans figure that was God’s punishment for him.

This post originally appeared on 10/4/14.


 

When Remember Allerton was aboard the Mayflower, this is exactly the type of food she would probably be missing from back home.

In the 1600s, apple tarts just like this one were a common sweet treat in both England and Holland.  Click here for the recipe...

Happy Apple Tart made in the Adventure Kitchen, October 2014.

Happy Apple Tart made in the Adventure Kitchen, October 2014.

  • Apples
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Pastry made with white flour (from wheat)
  • Salt
 

 
“Remember” holding our Happy Apple Tart, made with Adventure Kitchen Pâte Brisée, October 2014.

“Remember” holding our Happy Apple Tart, made with Adventure Kitchen Pâte Brisée, October 2014.

Every great pie or tart begins with great pastry.  Click here for our recipe for Pâte Brisée, the traditional French pie crust pastry.

Part 6 - The English Come Ashore

Lynley Jones

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

The year is 1620.

The Mayflower is arriving!

The Mayflower is aiming for New York City - but it misses.

In 1620 it isn't called New York, and of course there is no city yet.  But the mouth of the Hudson River, where New York City will be in the future, is exactly where the Mayflower is planning to land.  It's in the northern part of what the English call "Virginia."  That would be a good place to settle because it's a great place for fishing and farming, and the English already have other settlements in Virginia.

But strong winds and storms have pushed the Mayflower north, so when the finally spot land, they are way off course!

Our "Remember Allerton," the Mayflower passenger who came to visit the Adventure Kitchen last week. 

Our "Remember Allerton," the Mayflower passenger who came to visit the Adventure Kitchen last week. 

Five year-old Remember Allerton probably doesn’t care what the “right” spot is for landing.  She just wants to get off the ship!  She and her family have been on ships for the last 4 months, and she is longing to stand on dry land, feel the sunshine on her skin, and explore their new home.  Can they please get off the ship now?

The answer is no.  The Mayflower will try to head south toward the “right” spot.  They try for 2 days to sail to where they are supposed to be.  But the sea is too shallow.  The ship’s captain is afraid they might wreck the ship and drown , so he finally refuses to keep trying.  They have to find a place to land near where they are.

As the ship heads toward a good landing spot, the grownups get upset.

The original Mayflower Compact was lost!  This copy was rewritten by William Bradford, who would later become Governor of Plymouth Colony.  Click to find out what it says.

The original Mayflower Compact was lost!  This copy was rewritten by William Bradford, who would later become Governor of Plymouth Colony.  Click to find out what it says.

They are off course, in a strange place where they don’t have legal approval from England to settle. Food is running short, people are starting to get really sick and everyone is afraid.

Some of the business “adventurers” are saying they are going to go their own way.  Angry grownups start shouting.  There are guns and other weapons aboard.  What if they start fighting each other for power?

Fortunately,  they keep talking instead of fighting, and eventually they calm down.  The Puritans are a very close-knit group, and the business “adventurers” decide they will be better off if they stick with them.  They decide they will write up an official agreement.  This will become known as the famous  “Mayflower Compact.”

There is a long meeting to get all the words just right.  In the end, the Mayflower Compact says that they will put together their own little government.  They will make rules and everyone will follow them.

 
Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899)

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899)

They decide the men must sign the Mayflower Compact before anyone can leave the ship. (Why the men?  Click to find out.)   Some men don’t know how to write, so they sign with an X.  Some men are too sick, so they don’t sign at all.  Remember’s father Isaac Allerton signs the Mayflower Compact along with 41 others.

It's November 21, 1620.

The meeting is over and it's finally time to get off the ship.

The first thing to do is …laundry!  Everyone stinks, and wearing those dirty clothes feels awful.  They go ashore and the women wash everyone’s clothes in some fresh water.   (Why the women? Click to find out.)

The Landing of the Pilgrims, by Henry A. Bacon (1877)

The Landing of the Pilgrims, by Henry A. Bacon (1877)

Finally, with clean clothes to change into, everyone feels a little better.  But at night, they still go back aboard that stinky, damp Mayflower to sleep.  They will have to do that for the next 5 months.  There is no place to sleep on land until they build themselves homes.

This post originally appeared on 11/11/14.


 

It will be a long time before the Mayflower passengers have ovens to cook in!  But once they do, cornbread will be one of the things they eat every day.

Modern Cornbread made in the Adventure Kitchen, November 2014

Modern Cornbread made in the Adventure Kitchen, November 2014

  • Coarse cornmeal
  • Salt (brought on the Mayflower)
  • Possibly eggs (historians aren't sure if they brought chickens aboard the Mayflower)

 

  • Flour (no wheat in Plymouth Colony)
  • Baking powder (not invented yet)
  • Sugar (no sugar brought on the Mayflower)
  • Milk (no cows brought on the Mayflower)

Part 7 - Pumpkins, Pilgrims and Promises

Lynley Jones

The year is 1620.

The Mayflower passengers are about to meet the Wampanoag people.

Will there be friendship or war - or both?

In the first 4 weeks of our Time Warp Cooking adventure this fall, we learned what life and cooking were like for the Wampanoag people before the Mayflower arrived.  Click here to read the story from the beginning.
A fantastic book  - a Wampanoag boy describes his day (with lots of photographs) as he strives to grow into a man in his village.

A fantastic book  - a Wampanoag boy describes his day (with lots of photographs) as he strives to grow into a man in his village.

Five year-old Mayflower passenger “Remember Allerton” visited the Adventure Kitchen earlier this month.  Click here to read her story.

Five year-old Mayflower passenger “Remember Allerton” visited the Adventure Kitchen earlier this month.  Click here to read her story.

When the Mayflower passengers first step off their ship, they are on a sandy strip of land that curls out into the Atlantic (the English would later call it “Cape Cod”).  They need to find a good place to build their new settlement, and they need to do it soon:  it’s late November and it’s already starting to snow.

For now, they are still living on the Mayflower.  They’ve been on the ship for over four months now.  It’s stinky, cold, damp and dark.  People are starting to get sick and they are running out of food.

Captain Myles Standish sets out with a group of other men to scout the area and look for a good place to build homes.  They explore the area for weeks, through freezing temperatures, rain and snow.  They camp out for many nights at a stretch, trying to stay warm and dry as they sleep outdoors.

Myles Standish was the English pilgrims’ chief military leader.  This picture of a 1600s soldier shows how he would have looked.

Myles Standish was the English pilgrims’ chief military leader.  This picture of a 1600s soldier shows how he would have looked.

As they explore the area, they find things that belong to the Wampanoag people:  food stored for the winter, a house and a grave. 

Each time, they take something away with them.  They take a large kettle of dried corn to plant in the spring, just in case their own English seeds don’t grow well here.  And from the grave and the house, they take “some of the best things” as souvenirs.

They talk about leaving behind “some beads and other tokens‘ in a sign of peace’” but in the end, they need to leave quickly and don’t leave anything behind.

The Wampanoag are watching them the whole time.

Early one morning, as the sun begins to rise, the air is suddenly filled with a “great and strange” war cry.  They realize they are surrounded by at least 30 Wampanoag warriors!  Each warrior is armed with a fearsome bow as tall as a man, and fifty arrows, each over a yard long, in his quiver. 

The arrows fly fast and deadly through the air. The Englishmen fumble with their muskets, firing them as quickly as possible at the warriors.  But Wampanoag warriors can fire arrows much faster than the English can fire their complicated muskets.  A skilled warrior can fire arrows so fast that he can have five of them in the air before the first one hits its target.

The musket fire is gradually getting steadier.  Fragments of blown-off bark and wood are flying all around the warriors.  The Wampanoag decide to retreat, and they let out “an extraordinary shriek” as they slip away.

Miraculously, no one is injured.

What about Plymouth Rock?  Click here to find out.


What about Plymouth Rock?  Click here to find out.

The men finally decide on a good place to settle.  It’s across the bay, in a spot where the woods have already been cleared for  crops to grow in the spring.  Strangely, no one is living there now.

English maps call this place Plymouth.  The Wampanoag name for the this place has always been Patuxet.  This is Squanto’s former home.

Click here to read the story of Squanto and Patuxet.

Squanto’s entire village has been wiped out by a terrible disease.  In December 1620, when the Mayflower arrives, the English, desperate and near starving, begin to build their homes amid the skulls and bones of Squanto’s people, still lying on the ground.

English pilgrims build a house - in warm weather.  (Taken at the Plimoth Plantation, August 2014.)

English pilgrims build a house - in warm weather.  (Taken at the Plimoth Plantation, August 2014.)

Inside wall, upper portion.  The large opening will be closed up as more wooden clapboards (panels) are added to the outside. (Taken at Plimoth Plantation, August 2014.)

Inside wall, upper portion.  The large opening will be closed up as more wooden clapboards (panels) are added to the outside. (Taken at Plimoth Plantation, August 2014.)

Inside wall, partially completed.  Mud is used to seal and insulate the walls. (Taken at Plimoth Plantation, August 2014.) 

Inside wall, partially completed.  Mud is used to seal and insulate the walls. (Taken at Plimoth Plantation, August 2014.) 

All winter long, the Mayflower is anchored in Plymouth Harbor, while work parties go ashore to build houses and other structures.  The winter weather is much harsher than anything they know from England or Holland.  Icy winds blow and snow and freezing rain fall as they try to work.  Women, children and the sick remain on the Mayflower until homes are built for them to move into.

More and more people are getting sick.  They are cooped up in a small, dirty, damp, cold space on the ship, with little fresh water or food.  There are rats and cockroaches running around, and these pests carry germs that make people very sick.  There is no place to wash up and stay clean, and no way to stay warm and dry.  With all those people sharing germs in such a small place, more and more of them are getting sick.

That winter is a terrible time for all the Mayflower passengers, including Remember’s family.  Remember’s mother has been pregnant during the trip from Holland.  The day after the Mayflower finally reaches Plymouth Harbor, the ship is battered by a terrible storm.   As huge waves smash into the sides of the ship, Remember’s mother Mary gives birth in the dark 'tweendecks space they have been living in on board.  But sadly, the baby boy is stillborn – this means he was full term, but died before he could be born.

Even worse, two months later, Remember’s mother dies, too.  People are so sick that half of them die that first winter.  At least one person in nearly every family dies that winter.  In three families, every single family member dies, leaving no one.  And several children lose both their parents, making them orphans before they even get settled in this new land. 

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

All winter, as the English build their homes and so many of them die, the Wampanoag are watching them.  They are trying to decide what to do about these new settlers.

Friendship.png

Squanto is still a prisoner.  (Click here to read how that happened.)  He hears about these new English people building homes on the very land he grew up on.

Squanto talks to Massasoit, the sachem (chief) who is holding him prisoner.  He says that the English are very powerful, with huge ships and weapons that shoot fire, but that he, Squanto, can speak their language. He also understands how these people think and act. Massasoit should try to befriend the English, he says.  They could be his allies against other tribes in the area.  Then, Massasoit would be very powerful.

Massasoit isn’t sure.  These English people can mean trouble.  Maybe they will just die off if he leaves them alone?  Or maybe he should send his warriors to attack them while they are weak and sick, and just wipe them out?

In the end, Massasoit decides to try friendship.  But not with Squanto. Perhaps he still cannot be trusted.  He asks Samoset, a sachem from another village, who also speaks some English, to pay a visit to the English in Patuxet.

English pilgrim house and garden at the Plimoth Plantation.

English pilgrim house and garden at the Plimoth Plantation.

By March, all the families have moved off the Mayflower and into their newly-built homes.  Other buildings are still being built, but there is now, finally, space for everyone to sleep on land, and a large fort where they can all meet together and stay safe if there’s an emergency.

On March 16, with the arrival of spring less than a week away, the alarm suddenly sounds in Plymouth.  Someone has spotted an Indian!  This could mean the Wampanoag are about to attack.  The women and children run quickly to the fort to stay safe together.  The men grab their muskets and get ready.  So many have died over the winter that there are not very many left to fight, but they will do their best.

Remember’s mother has died, so she and her brother and sister are rushed into the fort with other women.  They hold each other tight as they wait and listen.

Gradually, they realize they don’t hear sounds of fighting.  They hear the men talking, a little confused by what’s happening.  The sounds move closer to the fort.  Something is happening – but what? 

Suddenly, they hear a strange-accented voice say, “Welcome, Englishmen!”

As they realize there is no battle, no danger, the women and children peek out of the fort.  They are astounded.

There, standing right outside the fort, is a tall, brown-skinned Wampanoag man.  He is “stark naked,” they think, wearing nothing but a fringed piece of leather around his waist.  And he is smiling and playfully saluting the Englishmen!

Remember is amazed to realize he actually doesn’t seem scary at all.  He seems nice!

As a chilly breeze blows, one of the Englishmen takes off his coat and puts it over the man’s bare shoulders.  The Wampanoag man says his name is Samoset, and he holds out two arrows to the Englishmen.  One is a normal arrow, tipped with a deadly sharp arrowhead.  The other has no sharp point at all.  The Englishmen aren’t sure what this means.  Maybe he is offering them a choice between peace and war?

Whatever it means, this man is friendly, and he is now their guest.  After they talk outside for awhile, Samoset is invited into the Hopkins family's house for a meal.  He enjoys the food and asks for beer! 

Samoset spends the night in the Hopkins’ home.  Remember can hardly sleep, knowing that the Wampanoag man is sleeping in her neighbor's house that night.  She's not the only one - the men stay up and watch the Hopkins home all night, listening for any sounds of trouble.  Samoset leaves the next morning, promising to return in a few days with some other friendly Wampanoag men, including one who speaks even better English than he does!

Can you guess who that might be? Click to find out!

This post originally appeared on 11/18/14.


 

“Pompion” is the word the English used for pumpkin in the 1600s.  When they finally get a good crop going, they will have lots of pumpkin in the fall and winter.  The sight and aroma of stewed pompion will soon be a daily occurrence, simmering away over the fire in every home in Plymouth. 

Pumpkin was so plentiful and common, it was almost certainly served at the “first Thanksgiving” harvest celebration in 1621. (But not pumpkin pie – that would come later!)
Stewed Pompion made in the Adventure Kitchen, November 2014.

Stewed Pompion made in the Adventure Kitchen, November 2014.

  • Pumpkin (this recipe uses canned pumpkin to make things easier)
  • Butter (brought on the Mayflower)
  • Salt (brought on the mayflower)
  • Spices:  ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (ginger and other spices were brought on the Mayflower)
  • Maple syrup (the English didn't yet know about making sweet syrup from maple sap, and maple syrup is not listed in the original ingredients.  But it tastes great here, so we are imagining perhaps the Wampanoag brought some to the English as a gift... !)
  • Apple cider (delicious and seasonal, but apples would not come to North America until later)

Part 8 - Celebration!

Lynley Jones

The year is 1621.

Friendship and hope are in the air.

It is finally spring!  The sun is getting warm, the birds are starting to sing, and everything is starting to bloom.  There are signs of life everywhere!

Mayflower passenger “Remember Allerton” visited our Adventure Kitchen classroom earlier this month.

Mayflower passenger “Remember Allerton” visited our Adventure Kitchen classroom earlier this month.

Remember Allerton is turning 6 years old.  When she first stepped onto the ship that would bring her to America, along with her mom, dad, brother and sister, she had no idea how terrible the trip would be.  Just about everything went horribly wrong.  Click here to read Remember’s story from the beginning

Now, things finally seem like they are starting to get better. Remember sees tender green leaves emerging on the bare, dead-looking trees she has seen since she arrived.  She sees the earliest, small blooms emerging on wildflowers.  She can smell a fresh breeze blowing through her tiny, new village.  She misses her mother desperately, but perhaps she can feel a tiny, growing something inside of her – a little bit of hope.

Squanto has been a prisoner of Massasoit, sachem (chief) of the Pokanoket Wampanoag, for many months now.  Click here to read Squanto’s story from the beginning.  The Wampanoag have been watching the English pilgrims since they arrived, not sure what to do.  Squanto finally convinced Massasoit to offer them friendship.  But disappointingly, Massasoit chose to send a fellow sachem, Samoset, to meet the English, instead of Squanto.

When Samoset returned, Massasoit learned about the situation of the English people.  There are few of them, and some are very sick.  They have about 20 men, and lots of weapons and armor.  Unlike all the traders and explorers who have visited in the past, they have their wives and children with them.  They have built permanent houses.  They seem friendly, and are willing to meet with more Wampanoag.  They would probably agree to a peace treaty.

Massasoit decides to pay them a visit himself.  He wants an official agreement so that these English people will be his allies.  This time, he needs someone who speaks English even better than Samoset.  This time, he needs Squanto.

March 22, 1621

Remember thinks that these Wampanoag men are the strangest people she’s ever seen!  For a long time, Remember has heard stories about the native people who live here.  Her family calls them “Indians,” and from all the wild things she heard about them, they sounded scary. 

But last week she met Samoset, and he is so nice!  Even though he looks very strange, he is funny and friendly, and he even speaks some English.

Today Samoset is back.  This time, he has brought other Wampanoag men, including their chief, Massasoit, and another man who speaks perfect English, named Squanto.

Massasoit’s entire head is glistening with bear grease, and his face is painted dark red.  He is wearing a wide necklace of white shell beads and a long knife suspended from a string.  The other men’s faces are painted, too:  “some black, some red, some yellow and some white, some with crosses and other antic works.”

Remember and the other children can think and talk of nothing else.  Their parents tell them they have to stay inside, do chores and be quiet, but it’s just too exciting to have all these strange people so close.  The Wampanoag men have even brought their wives and children near Plymouth!  But the families are staying about a half-mile away, so Remember and the other children don’t get to meet them.

The grownups have fixed up one of the unfinished houses with a green carpet and some cushions, so that they would have a fancy place to meet with Massasoit and his men.  They are sharing food and liquor with the Wampanoag, and the grownups say they are making a peace agreement.

The peace treaty is finished, and all the Wampanoag men are leaving.  They are carrying a large kettle of dried peas that the English have given them as a gift.  They now have very little left of the food they brought on the Mayflower.

All the Wampanoag leave except for Squanto.  It is agreed he will stay with the English.  After six long years, he is finally back on his home soil by the sea.  But this English village is a very different place.

On the morning of his first full day with the English, Squanto goes to the beach to fish for eels.  He catches so many, he can barely lift them all with one hand.  That night, the English have eels for dinner, and love them!  They are “fat and sweet”! 

The English love to talk with Squanto.  They talk about familiar places back in London, places that both he and they know and remember fondly.

Although gardening, especially caring for corn crops, is the work of Wampanoag women rather than men, Squanto knows enough from watching the women work that he can teach the English the basics.  Click here for the story of Wampanoag gardening.

Squanto is helpful not only with gardening and basic survival advice, but also with diplomacy.  He has always been very good at making friends, and since he can speak Wampanoag and English, he helps the English to communicate with all the Wampaoag people in the area. 

With Squanto’s help, the English speak to the Wampanoag family whose corn they took when they first arrived on Cape Cod.  They apologize, and pay the family back. 

They also meet the Wampanoag warriors who participated in the battle against the English when they first landed.  They negotiate a peace treaty with them!  Click here to read about that battle. 

By September, with Squanto’s help, the English have made peace treaties with nine more sachems in the area.  They feel much safer and more secure now, knowing that all the native people in the area are their friends.

As summer turns to fall, the weather is gorgeous, the crops are coming in, and everyone is healthy.  After such a long time of suffering, the English are thrilled with the peace and prosperity they are suddenly – finally – enjoying.

It’s time to celebrate!

Sometime in late September/early October, 1621

Remember’s village is having a huge party!

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

The sky is a crystal-clear blue, and the leaves are turning brilliant fall colors.  The sun is warm and wonderful, and the skies are filled with geese and ducks.  Holland was never quite like this.  Remember has never seen such a thrilling and beautiful place in all her life.

The governor of their little village has declared a time to “rejoice together … after a more special manner.”  That means it’s time to celebrate!

As the village celebrates, Massasoit and 90 Wampanoag warriors arrive to join the party.  They have brought 5 freshly-killed deer to help feed the crowds.  Remember can't think of a time she has ever seen so much food. 

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Source:  Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org)

Squanto has gone from being an important man in his village, to being a slave, to being a prisoner, and now once again being a very important man.  He surely feels thrilled and gratified.  He has once again brought peace and prosperity to the land of his ancestors.

Believe it or not, there is only one document written by the people who were there, that tells us anything about the "first "Thanksgiving."  Everything we know comes from one small portion of a larger booklet called Mourt's Relation, published in London in 1622.

Here is that portion, so you can read it for yourself:

Modernized English provided by the Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org).

Modernized English provided by the Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org).

There's a lot this doesn't tell us!  Besides venison and wild fowl, what else did they eat?  Were there any Wampanoag women and children at the celebration?  When exactly did it take place?

When historians don't have documents that tell them all the details, they hunt for clues to figure it out.  The historians at the Plimoth Plantation recreate life in Plymouth in the early 1600s to figure out as much as they can about that time. Visit their website at www.plimoth.com to learn more.

This post originally appeared on 11/25/14.

Think you know what the “first Thanksgiving” was really like?

Take The Challenge

 
 

 

You can make gravy for your family to enjoy with turkey at your Thanksgiving feast!

The English pilgrims may have had turkey at the “first Thanksgiving” (we don’t know for sure), but they definitely didn’t have gravy!  To make gravy you need an oven and you need flour – they didn’t have either one.

Click for the recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving!