Societies have been feasting pretty much since the beginning of time. It is a tradition that is held in every society, and unlike many traditions, is one that has not diminished over the centuries. Early societies feasted for practical reasons, a large animal was killed, and since the meat would not last very long, a feast was held. As societies became more sophisticated by domesticating animals and growing an abundance of crops, feasts were held to display signs of wealth and strength. The first Thanksgiving held in the colonies in 1621 was held to celebrate the harvest of the first crops grown here, and perhaps to celebrate the fact that some of the pilgrims (not many) had survived life in a difficult environment.
It is interesting that so many traditions fade away from generation to generation; however the feast continues to survive. Fast forward many generations and we are still feasting to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, promotions, holidays and many other events. And in just a few days, most of us in the US will gather together again for the Thanksgiving feast. We will consume 46 million turkeys, 3.1 billion pounds of sweet potatoes, 250 million pounds of potatoes, 770 million pounds of cranberries; and think of all the butter that goes into all of those dishes!
That said, I have greatly enjoyed cooking on Thanksgiving and have found a few techniques for a delicious turkey. The first one is to soak the turkey overnight in a brine. This is a time consuming process, but with delicious results.
Please send me a message if you would like the ingredients.
Another technique that I have seen many different chefs use is to make a mixture of butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and lots of herbs, mix throughly and gently stuff some of the mixture under the skin and spread the rest over the outside of the bird. My daughter and I have had fun over the years with this method.
In a few days, we will travel out of state to be with my daughter and son-in-law for Thanksgiving. I have happily handed the serving spoon to her and her husband to continue on the Thanksgiving tradition. We will have a large group including my sister, brother-in-law and their children, and many dear friends. I believe the main reason we feast is not so much the food, but to gather around a table, break bread, laugh, cry, make a toast or two, give thanks and just to be together with the ones we love. Thus the feast continues.