Although there may be a Christmas
tree on every street light post we pass on our way to work, the holiday
for being thankful has not been lost in the twinkle and glitter of the holiday of
thank you notes.
It is popularly believed that
the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. Nearly two centuries
later, Lincoln donned his top hat and named the last Thursday in November,
Thanksgiving. However, it wasn’t until 1941 that Congress declared
this day a national holiday.
As you can see, I’ve done
my research. Rather than follow the typical Thanksgiving code of posting
a list of people to whom we are grateful, my research has shown there
are other things to which we should show our gratitude. Namely: forks.
I doubt I need to clarify that
life in 1621 was different from life in 2008. We now eat surrounded by
the comfort of central air and heat. We listen to the football game
rather than get an update from our mothers on the difficulties of dislodging
a potato from tough soil. What you may not know is that in 1621,
people did not have forks. They had knives, spoons, cloth napkins and
fingers, but no forks.
So how did they cut their mealy
game bird and venison? The simple answer is that they didn’t, not really. Hot food was picked
up with napkins, food was piled onto knives and finger food had a broader
definition. And as if that weren’t bad enough, the sentence, “Could
you please pass the gravy,” had not been conceived. People could only
eat the foods that were in reach, and depending on your standing in
society, your fingers may never been given the chance of reaching out to touch burning, bubbling deer fat. Delicious.
When you gather around the
table this Thanksgiving, giving thanks to a utensil may not be the best
method of getting on your crotchety aunt’s good side. But secretly,
as you relish the cranberry relish, you will know this meal was all
made possible by forks.
For more information on the
history of Thanksgiving, check out the History Channel’s website.