Autumn or Fall symbolizes the coming of Thanksgiving. This season, the leaves turn into a dark red hue, pumpkins are in season. Halloween is celebrated and it ushers the coming of Thanksgiving. These days when you say Thanksgivings, it automatically means this holiday widely celebrated in North America that consists of family, friends, and a roasted turkey that usually comes with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.
In the United States, it’s just as widely celebrated as Christmas. Here in Manila, we don’t really celebrate it in most circles but it remains as my favorite food holiday.
To understand what Thanksgiving means, lets go back to 1621. The story goes like this, the Catholic Pilgrims crossed the sea to establish their own colonies in the New World. Once they landed on Massachusetts, they were able to stumble upon one of the villages of the Wampanoag Indians. However, it was abandoned as all the residents perished due to an epidemic. They settled in and they met the Indian named “Squato“, unlike the other locals. Squato knew how to speak English and in turn taught the Pilgrims to harvest corn and other crops. Squato was also able to arrange a local alliance with the Wampanoag chief Massasoit and the leader of the Pilgrims Governor William Bradford.
Thanksgiving symbolizes the first successful harvest of the Pilgirms and to celebrate, they arrange a 3 day festival filled with games, hunting, and a grand feast. 200 years after the first Thanksgiving, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863.
Today, Thanksgiving means many things to different cultures and countries.
In Canada, it’s celebrated on the 3rd Thursday of October. In the United States it’s celebrated on the last Thursday of November. For others, it simply marks the start of the best shopping day in the year Black Friday.
TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING FEAST
A traditional Thanksgiving feast usually consists of the following dishes:
- A large butterball roasted Turkey
- Bread Pudding
- Cranberry sauce – Either jelly or canned
- Giblet gravy
- Sweet potato mash topped with roasted marshmallows
- Squash soup
- Hot rolls
- Green bean casserole
- Pecan or pumpkin pie for dessert.
These are usually cooked a day before the actual day since it takes very long to cook the turkey from braising it, basting, and then roasting. The whole preparation ranges from 8-12 hours.
The entire preparation times gives families a chance to bond and help each other, aside from the actual Thanksgiving dinner.
Turkey has been the original staple Thanksgiving dish since 1621 when Governor Bradford tasked the original pilgrims to hunt for wild turkey for the first harvest festival. Turkey is most definitely a celebration food as it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare and to cook this dish.
Here in Manila, we rarely eat turkey but whenever I have the chance it’s always a memorable experience. Since we don’t usually have turkey as our normal staple poultry dish let me give you a quick guide on how to enjoy this meal.
The first thing is to choose whether you want dark meat or white meat, then add some cranberry sauce and drizzle a whole lot of gravy on the bird. Now whenever you take a spoonful of turkey add a bit of cranberry and gravy to each bite. The tangy cranberry cuts the richness of the turkey and gravy.
For this Thanksgiving on November 22, head over to Old Swiss Inn Makati to experience a traditional Thanksgiving Feast.
The Old Swiss Inn Restaurant has been serving it’s patrons for over 70 years. You go to this kind of places for the food, for the consistency of taste and the stories that were told between its wooden walls.
For only PHP 1,320 PHP ++ per head, you get to experience a traditional thanksgiving buffet complete with your Turkey, sauces, and sides.
Whether it’s Christmas, New Year or a birthday. We Filipinos love to eat, and Thanksgiving is another celebration where in you can have a new food journey. Hot rolls, mashed sweet potatoes with a marshmallow topping, and eating roast turkey is a celebration. Experience your first Thanksgiving meal!