Thanksgiving on a Small Maine Island

Thanksgiving in New England is always a special event since we tend to go all out to celebrate it as part of our local history. Maine, of course, was once part of Massachusetts, and Plymouth, Mass. the  site of what we think of as the “first” Thanksgiving, So perhaps we have a special tie to the holiday

Guest of honor at the Thanksgiving feast. Photo (c) Karen Hammond

here. In any case, it’s a favorite holiday for many simply because it has no ulterior motives: It’s a time to get together with friends and enjoy good food and a relaxed day (and, if you’re so inclined, a football game or two).

As I write this, my little island is covered with snow that is still coming down hard. While this is not always the case at Thanksgiving, it’s also not unusual. We had flurries in October and this winter is setting up to be cold and long. It’s OK. One of the perks of living all or most of your life in this part of the country is knowing how to deal with the weather.

What’s on your Thanksgiving table? In Maine the traditional meal tends to include turkey, lots of stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, possibly turnips (we’re big on root veggies here), and something green like green beans, peas, or Brussels sprouts. In my house we add creamed onions. And of course homemade rolls and plenty of gravy. And pies. And in my case, a cranberry cake that I have made for as far back as I can remember.  Despite all the cooking, it’s a relaxed day, the calm before the storm of the Christmas rush. I’ll carve out an hour or so to sit in front of the fireplace with the family cat and just…be grateful.

However you spend your Thanksgiving, whatever goodies your table may hold, I wish you a happy one and a festive start to the holiday season.

Thanksgiving in Maine

Guest of honor at the Thanksgiving feast
Guest of honor at the Thanksgiving feast

Although it feels more like Christmas, complete with blustery winds and snow falling,  we’re just a little more than a day away from Thanksgiving. It’s my personal favorite holiday, largely because there is no agenda other than family, friends, and good things to eat.

New Englanders tend to stick to a traditional menu, parts of which–squash, for example–date back to that first Thanksgiving long ago. There was wild turkey as well, although it’s likely that the centerpiece of the feast was venison.  With plenty of root vegetables and perhaps an early version of cranberry sauce (did you know that the Pilgrims called the berries “crane-berries” because they thought the flowering plant looked like a crane?) perhaps that first Thanksgiving might have looked quite familiar to us.  There were guests, too,  as the Pilgrims welcomed the friendly Wampanoag Native Americans who had helped them so much during those first few years.

Here on my small Maine island, we’re bundling up and getting ready to welcome company tomorrow.  I hope you, too, have a great day on Thursday with friends and family. Christmas shopping can wait, no matter what the ads say……enjoy the moment!