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Children's LiteratureAlthough this book appears in a series entitled "American Regional Cooking: Culture, History, and Traditions," it is really about an American tradition that unites all regions and ethnic groups in the U.S. The Thanksgiving dinner started as a celebration of survival after the colonists' first hard winter at Plymouth in 1621-22. It was not until 1863 that President Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Since then, American families have modified and handed down their own particular recipes, with the traditional menu coming to center around the turkey and its trimmings. These include stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries, corn, and pumpkin pie. Some of these dishes were eaten on the first Thanksgiving and some were not. The book tells us, for example, that pumpkin would have been served as a cooked vegetable rather than as a pie filling, while a wheat pudding called "furmenty" might have been a dessert for the first feasters. Twenty recipes are provided—including furmenty—to teach the younger reader how to join in this tradition. Adults can also learn from the many selections. Pulled molasses candy is a recipe that will connect young people and adults of today to colonial times. Safety tips, conversion tables, pictures of cooking tools, a glossary, and other tips for each recipe help introduce the novice to making these tempting dishes. The Culinary Institute of America is the series consultant. There are photos of every dish, an index, references to books and Web sites, and historical lore throughout. 2005, Mason Crest Publishers, Ages 12 up.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.