Foods Here Before Columbus

Anadama Rolls(Originally Posted 10/20/2013) In honor of Columbus Day weekend, this menu celebrates foods that were growing here just fine before any Europeans happened to stop by. If you’re Canadian, you could also consider this a recognition of Canadian Thanksgiving. My personal vote – celebrate both Thanksgivings. You can never have too many.

As with all the menu posts on this blog, I recommend starting with this Note on Recipes.

  • Cornmeal Scones with Maple Butter or Anadama Bread – since I’m in VT, I do use Grade B maple syrup in place of molasses
  • Herbed Pumpkin Casserole with Wild Rice and Cranberry Shell BeansCookwise, by Shirley O. Corriher has a brilliant herbed pumpkin casserole recipe. I substituted in wild rice for barley & cranberry beans for Garbanzos. Be sure to cook the beans and the rice well because they are both items that take longer to cook than the ingredients they’re replacing. If you’re an experimental cook and feel comfortable tossing together a dish, here’s a sloppy, short version of the recipe: cook rice and beans in chicken stock (separately – scant cup of rice, heaping cup of dry beans). Dice a large onion and several garlic cloves, cook them in sesame oil. Mix together all these items, flavor it with hot chili oil, orange marmalade, and soy sauce. Fill a hollowed out pie pumpkin with the mixture and bake for an hour.
  • Fannie Farmer’s 1896 recipe for Scalloped Turkey – This is essentially chopped up cooked turkey in a sauce made of equal parts butter and flour with some salt and pepper added in. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the flour to cook it, mix it into the turkey (maybe add cream) bake until warmed through. You can also find the old recipes for poultry online, including this reproduction of the Fannie Farmer book.
  • Sweet Corn with Green Bell Peppers
  • Roasted Peanuts
  • Coleslaw (okay, cabbage is European, but it goes well with the rest of the menu)
  • Berry Cobbler with Sunflower Seed & Pecan Crumble – Here’s a secret. Find a recipe for berry crisp. If it’s like mine, there will be oats and also flour. Don’t change the oats part. Grind sunflower seeds and pecans until they’re a coarse meal and add those instead of the flour. Very flavorful. Whipped cream is gilding the lily on this one, and I highly recommend it.

And if you needed any more reason for an October version of Thanksgiving, it’s also a good time to try out non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes without provoking anyone. I’ll add examples of newfangled Thanksgiving time dishes as I see them appear in November.

And as promised here are some examples. . .

  • Pumpkin Creme Brulee is the It Thanksgiving dessert of 2013
  • My vote for a popular new Thanksgiving dish is a flute of Cider Jelly Sorbet between courses (or, more accurately, between rounds)
  • I was told Absolutely Not for making these Korean fusion Thanksgiving dishes in 2012, and still haven’t had a chance to try them, but I still think there’s nothing not to love about Kim Chi Mashes potatoes (except that there’s a lot of not-very-good kim chi in this world)
  • Speaking of fusion, the arrival of Thanksgivukkah in 2013 gave yet another reason to try out something new. This menu from Buzz Feed features Maneschewitz-brined turkey – perfect.
  • This Thanksgiving menu from The Kitchn & Splendid Table is important because the table decorations were created by my friend Abbey Nova who has a lovely blog called Design Scouting.
  • And from an earlier Splendid Table we have this brilliant interview on creating more turkey skin for your Thanksgiving spread.
  • What are your favorite departures from tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving?
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