The First Thanksgiving Menu

Healthy by Nature radio show this week

Landscape architect and organic horticulturist Howard Garrett is my guest. We talk about the toxicity of the weed killer Roundup® and its relationship to GMO foods. An important show! Howard is a landscape architect, organic expert, nationally-syndicated radio host, author and a newspaper columnist. His website, is a treasure of resources for solving problems around the yard and home. His impressive titles include:

Texas Bug Book: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Organic Manual: Natural Gardening for the 21st Century
Organic Lawn Care: Growing Grass the Natural Way
Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening: The Total Guide to Growing Vegetables, Fruits,Herbs, and Other Edible Plants the Natural Way

Another link you will want: The Non-GMO Project. Click here to find podcasts, show archives and how to listen nationwide.

The First Thanksgiving Menu
first thksgiving


The Norman Rockwell vision of Thanksgiving we see today looks timeless. But, according to the first Thanksgiving menu had a decidedly different feel in 1621 when approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians and 50 Pilgrims gathered at Plymouth (in what is now Massachusetts) to celebrate the harvest.* Here are some of the differences:


2015: Turkey (or perhaps Tofurky in vegan households)

1621: Although there might have been some wild turkey (the bird, not the bourbon) it wasn’t the highlight and it is more likely that other fowl such as goose, duck or even swan were served. It is highly probable that a main entree was carrier pigeon which is now extinct in the wild. Because Plymouth is on the coast, water birds (seagulls?) may have been on the table along with fish, muscles, lobster and eel. Records show that venison was brought by the Indians. It was common to cook using a combination of boiling and roasting over a spit.


2015: Bread stuffing with celery is most common

1621: Herbs and onions were used. (That is what I’m doing this year along with apple and a cinnamon stick.) Nuts may have also been included.


2015: Wheat dinner rolls

1621: Corn (this was pre-Monsanto, so it would have been Non-GMO) prepared as a porridge or possibly cornbread. That would probably have been made in a skillet as they didn’t have ovens yet.


2015: Green bean casserole with mushroom soup, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes

1621: Turnips and according to The History Channel: onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and perhaps peas.


2015: Cranberry sauce (the canned type that is sliced contains more than 5 teaspoons of sugar per serving due to its content of high fructose corn syrup and additional corn syrup.)

1621: Although cranberries were available, sugar was too rare to squander tamping down the tartness of the berries.


2015: Goodness, where do I start? When our extended family gets together there is a whole second buffet of desserts including pecan pie, various bars, cheese cake and maybe pumpkin pie just to say we did.

1621: Although pumpkin was available, they didn’t have wheat flour or butter for the crust and see notes above about sugar and ovens. They may have used hot coals to bake a hallowed out a pumpkin filled with a custard of milk, honey and spices.

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for your support.

*Due to a lack of cell phones at the time, I’m pretty sure that photo was not taken at the original feast. In fact, this recreation looks to me a bit like a skit on Hee Haw.


Those North Texas listeners who have been receiving Healthy by Nature from KWRD, The Word, 100.7 FM, please make a note that in January our new signal will be 620 AM, KXEB. If you lose track of that note, remember you can always find where to listen by coming to this website and clicking on Radio in the menu. Note that in the Houston area 100.7 FM will NOT change.

Last Week Follow-up

LISTEN to that show in the archives.

If a Healthy by Nature listener learns a tidbit of information that helps turn their health around, I like to think the show might just save a life now and then. This week we might collectively have helped save life as we know it. I did not realize how profoundly what we eat affects global warming. I understood that it is tempting to believe scare tactics that blame ranching as a major cause of greenhouse gases. But, what if going back to more traditional farming methods could save the soil and thereby have as much impact on reducing atmospheric CO2 levels as shutting down power plants and junking all the SUV’s? Even more unimaginable…what if properly raising animals for food could be an important part of the solution? And what if the “experts” are wrong and traditional farming methods can feed as many people as short-sighted money-driven factory farming? I’m fascinated with Judith Schwartz’s book, Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.

We also started our annual holiday search for gifts that make the recipient healthier. Eva Navratil of Serenity 2000 offered some great ideas and a temporary 20% discount with the code hbnshow. At the end I suggested pillows from Naturepedic.

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