My attempt on a Thanksgiving dinner with nearly a 100% American recipes 

A year ago my husband and I were kindly invited to California for Thanksgiving by our blogging friend and author of Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks, Paula Pederson.

This summer we enjoyed the extended hospitality of Henry’s American relatives in Virginia. They took us to places we could never have reached on our own as we were on a train trip in the Eastern States of America. I will return to The Dulles Air and Space Center of Virginia, George Washington’s estate Mount Vernon on July Fourth and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

Many of our ancestors from Denmark left their homes, country and family to start new lives in the United States so this year I will start a tradition of making our Thanksgiving Day with American recipes in gratitude to all the good we have received and also thinking of the many who left our country because of difficult life situations. I have prepared cornbread, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, corn pudding and cranberry sauce made from U.S. cranberries. The turkey I was lucky to buy from a local farmer. The shops don’t have them until Christmas.

The tradition of pardoning a turkey for Thanksgiving comes from President Lincoln who’s ten-year-old son Thomas, Tad had a lot to say in the White House. The family had recently lost a son to tuberculosis, and Tad suffered from a palatial cleft that made it difficult for him to eat solid food. As their youngest son and regarding their losses, it’s understandable that the parents had loose reins on him.

Tad Lincoln 1865. Picture from the White House Visitor Center

Tad Lincoln loved to play war games and watch the Union soldiers protecting the White House during the Civil War. Once he interrupted his fathers’ meeting by bombarding the door with a toy cannon

From The Smithsonian Institue homepage:

It was, however, in late 1863, when the Lincolns received a live turkey for the family to feast on at Christmas. Tad, ever fond of animals, quickly adopted the bird as a pet, naming him Jack and teaching him to follow behind as he hiked around the White House grounds. On Christmas Eve, Lincoln told his son that the pet would no longer be a pet. “Jack was sent here to be killed and eaten for this very Christmas,” he told Tad, who answered, “I can’t help it. He’s a good turkey, and I don’t want him killed.” The boy argued that the bird had every right to live, and as always, the president gave in to his son, writing a reprieve for the turkey on a card and handing it to Tad.

The boy kept Jack for another year, and on election day in 1864, Abraham Lincoln spotted the bird among soldiers who were lining up to vote. Lincoln playfully asked his son if the turkey would be voting too, and Tad answered, “O, no; he isn’t of age yet.”

Only five months after, he lost his father whom he so dearly loved. Tad died of tuberculosis at the age of eighteen.

Categories: Denmark, Thanksgiving, USA

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