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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Time Warp 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/

Wampanoag names are shown in ALL CAPS.  (Source: Plimoth Plantation/

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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