Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie

Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie

5.0 5
by The Plimoth Plantation, Kathleen Curtain, Sandra L. Oliver

A Delicious Exploration of the Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, with 97 percent of Americans eating turkey on that day. But beyond the bird, the menu is as varied as the cultures of the nation’s melting pot—and every recipe tells a story. Giving Thanks explores the delicious, fascinating


A Delicious Exploration of the Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, with 97 percent of Americans eating turkey on that day. But beyond the bird, the menu is as varied as the cultures of the nation’s melting pot—and every recipe tells a story. Giving Thanks explores the delicious, fascinating history of Thanksgiving, complete with trivia, recipes, and an amazing collection of archival imagery of the holiday’s history.

Perfect for parents, kids, teachers, history buffs, and of course Thanksgiving cooks, Giving Thanks is a true keepsake cookbook, meant to be shared and enjoyed year after year. Thanksgiving specialists Kathleen Curtin and Sandra L. Oliver and the world-famous Plimoth Plantation trace the colorful history of the holiday, from the story of “The First Thanksgiving” to twenty-first-century customs. Then the real fun begins—a delicious assortment of more than eighty recipes, from appetizers to desserts, old-fashioned mincemeat pies to modern pumpkin cheesecake, generously seasoned with plenty of fascinating trivia.

Giving Thanks shows that there’s definitely more to Thanksgiving cookery than sage stuffing and pumpkin pie, highlighting favorites from throughout the holiday’s history and from an incredible variety of cultures. Recipes include five different ways to prepare turkey, from Classic New England to Indian and Cuban; Oyster Stew and Pomegranate and Persimmon Salad; Creamed Onions and Corn Pudding; and pies galore, from Cranberry Pear to Texas Buttermilk.

Filled with a vibrant, fascinating collection of Thanksgiving photographsand illustrations from Plimoth Plantation’s unparalleled archives, Giving Thanks brings the history of Thanksgiving to life in an incredibly delicious way.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Curtin and Oliver trace the history of America's favorite day of food and football, from the earliest Puritan celebrations of thanksgiving to Lincoln's declaration of a national holiday in 1863 to the Macy's parade. Alas, the book fails to shake the cold whiff of a museum brochure; the narrative section's tone is about as energetic as an encyclopedia entry. Happily, more than half the book is devoted to recipes, and Curtin (Plimoth Plantation's food historian) and Oliver (publisher of Food History News) come to life as they explore the social history of food, past and present. More than 80 recipes are drawn from different eras, regions and traditions--from Indian pudding to flan, from traditional roast turkey to Cuban turkey "rellenos con moros," with a couple of gelatin salads--"Golden Glow" and "Cranberry"--certain to evoke baby-boomer nostalgia. Instructions are family-friendly and accessible, augmented by history and anecdote. The genuine historical engravings and illustrations are a treat, but the photographs of contemporary re-enactors of Native Americans and colonists strike a false note. Ultimately, the book works better as a souvenir of a visit to the Plimoth Plantation than it does as a stand-alone volume. (Oct. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Curtin is a food historian working at Plimoth Plantation Museum in Massachusetts and the leading authority on the history of Thanksgiving, and Sandra L. Oliver (Saltwater Foodways) is the publisher of Food History News. In Part 1 of their book (cowritten with the staff of the Plimouth Plantation), they tell the "real" story of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, during which the Wampanoag Indians and the English colonists sampled a range of food and drinks. They describe how the occurrence evolved throughout the 1800s into a national holiday and how changes in kitchen technology transformed food preparation efforts in the 1900s. While many of the Thanksgiving dishes in modern America are, as the authors put it, "seemingly sacred," current Thanksgiving menus often reflect America's wide ethnic background and regional heritage. Part 2 includes upwards of 60 recipes covering everything from turkey, stuffing, and side dishes to sauces and desserts. These recipes include traditional American fare (Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie) and regional dishes (Indiana Persimmon Pudding) as well as ethnic dishes (Portuguese Linguica Stuffing). Sixty lavish, full-color and black-and-white images round out the book. Recommended for all libraries.-Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.75(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

Giving Thanks

By Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver, and Plimoth Plantation

Random House

Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver, and Plimoth Plantation
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1400080576

Chapter One


Serves 12

•1 1/2 (1.5) cups sugar
•1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
•2 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
•1 cup regular milk
•1/2 (.5) cup half-and-half
•4 large eggs
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a large light-colored skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, reduce the heat to low and add the sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted and amber-colored, about 10 minutes. Immediately and carefully pour this syrup into a shallow 2-quart baking dish and set aside to cool.

Place the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the cooled syrup. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, set it in the center of the oven, and pour water into the larger pan to come about halfway up the sides of the baking dish holding the flan. Bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is somewhat set, 45 to 60 minutes. (The flan will jiggle when first out of the oven but get firmer after refrigeration.) Remove from the oven and cool completely. Refrigerate the flan until firm or overnight. Unmold onto a serving platter and scrape any remaining syrup from the pan onto the flan. Slice to serve.

Excerpted from Giving Thanks by Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver, and Plimoth Plantation Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum, is the leading authority on Thanksgiving. It explores the culture of the native Wampanoag People and English colonists who came together in seventeenth-century Plymoth Colony. Kathleen Curtin is Plimoth Plantation’s food historian, and Sandra L. Oliver is the award-winning author of Saltwater Foodways as well as the publisher of Food History News.

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Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book combines excellent scholarship, off-beat humor and great recipes (some new regional and ethnic ones but a lot of familar favorites). I can't wait to try the curried pumpkin bisque (and who knew that celery had such a fascinating history?)The vintage illustrations are a real treat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A gorgeous book filled with yummy recipies and great stories. The pumpkin bisque and the stuffed mushrooms are to die for. Makes me want to don my pilgrim hat and start cooking -)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the history in this book and then additional history given with recipes. I thought the book gave a wonderful sense of how diversified our country has become and found it interesting how many different cultures have blended their favorite foods into the 'traditional' Thanksgiving menu. I found many recipes I want to try and found many that were from my childhood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fun book. The book has great trivia and history, and a great variety of the old traditional recipes. But along with that, are the recipes created by the different cultures of our 'Melting Pot', who adapted their own wonderful tastes and flavors to their Thanksgiving celebration. This year, my family is going use only recipes in this cookbook to make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Massachusetts Plimoth Plantation, a historical recreation of Plymouth in the time of the early pilgrims, has always been the definitive source on American Thanksgiving history and customs. In this new work, which is part historical guidebook and part cookbook, Plimoth Plantation Food Historian Kathleen Curtin and co-author Sandra Oliver have created the definitive work on this quintessential American holiday. The authors joyfully dispel many myths surrounding that first harvest celebration and bring to light many new historical details and anecdotes that really bring that first Thanksgiving to life. The recipes are great, and the authors have even included some ethnic twists on typical Thanksgiving fare. You'll even discover how Miami Cubans have 'Cubanized' the traditional American turkey with black beans and rice. Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie is a great holiday gift idea. If you're going to the in-laws or a friend's house for Thanksgiving this year, instead of bringing a 'dish to share,' order this book and bring it along. It makes a great gift that will get your hosts and all of the partygoers into the Thanksgiving spirit. And on Thanksgiving, who really needs Aunt Edna's green bean casserole anyway? At our house, there's always PLENTY of food to go around! If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, give a copy to yourself. The recipes here will inspire you, and your guests will really be blown away by the food.