The first observance of Thanksgiving in America actually took place in Virginia.
However, it was religious in nature and involved no form of feasting. On December 4, 1619, a group of 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation on the James River, in the area of what is now known as Charles City, Virginia. The charter of the group required that the day of arrival be observed yearly “as a day of Thanksgiving to God.” (In the fall of 1621, the first Thanksgiving in New England was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts and involved much feasting which lasted for three days.)
Today, of course, feasting is very much a part of the holiday. For your Thanksgiving dinner you might enjoy the following recipes from “The Virginia House-wife” by Mary Randolph, 1824, using the traditional sweet potato.
Sweet Potato Pudding
Boil one pound of sweet potatoes very tender, rub them while hot through a colander, add six eggs, well beaten, three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar, three quarters of butter, and some grated nutmeg and lemon-peel, with a glass of brandy; put a paste in the dish, and when the pudding is done, sprinkle the top with sugar, and cover it with bits of citron.
Sweet Potato Buns
Boil and mash a potato, rub into it as much flour as will make it like bread, add spice and sugar to your taste, with a spoonful of yeast; when it has risen well, work in a piece of butter; bake it in small rolls, to be eaten hot with butter.
What About You?
What do you remember about Thanksgiving in Arlington? What was on your table? Let us know what you remember!