Do you like Thanksgiving? When I was a kid I loved it. My mother would get up early to begin cooking and I would wake to the smell of roasting turkey permeating through the house. Nothing beat Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, pies, pies… what was there not to like? It was as close to culinary heaven as a kid could get.
Then I got married.
At first my love for the season continued. After all I was carrying on my family traditions. I wanted my children to be as excited as I was. I was also young, and full of energy, and I could easily recover from all that time in the kitchen. That lasted maybe until child number five or so, then dread set in. It takes a lot of time and money to cook a big meal for a big family.
All the work makes me sympathize with those poor pilgrim wives who had to cook on that first Thanksgiving…
Can’t you just see poor Constance, slaving away in her little house, trying to take care of children, laundry and cooking when her husband walks in.
“You know sweet cheeks the boys and I were taking, and we thought it might be kinda fun to have a couple of the Indians over. You know, just a few of the guys who helped save us from near starvation these past few months. Nothing big of course, just a little something to show our appreciation. You wouldn’t mind cooking up a little something would ya? Maybe just some pumpkin butter and toast, or squirrel pate—something like that? All the wives will be helping out.”
Constance might be thinking she’s got an awful lot of cooking to do already, but hey, the Indians did kinda save their lives, so she consents to make a little snack or two for their native neighbors. A few days later her darling husband William brings it up again.
“You know that little party I was telling you about? Well us boys were telling some of the Indians about it and they are real excited. Only thing is Little Darin’, Dances with Bear Meat was listening. You know what kinda of appetite that fellow has—he was licking his lips just thinking about it. I think we’re gonna need a little more food than we first thought.”
It’s about now that Constance starts to get a little worried, and her William, knowing her for as long as he has, can tell by the look in her eyes that he could be in some trouble. So he puts on his sweetest voice and cozies up to her.
“You don’t mind Angel Fluff—not awfully—do you? Just a couple pies maybe? You know how I love when you make pies. That muslin apron of yours drive me crazy, and the way you roll that pie dough sends shivers up my spine.”
Poor dear Constance, she always was a sucker for her husband’s sweet talk, so with some reluctance, she agrees. A week later William brings her some flowers. The last time he did that was when he told her he wanted to travel to the new world. “What have you done?” she asks, probably with her hands on her hips.
“Constance, you’re the best wife a fellow could have, you know that?” By now he’s more than likely shuffling his feet like a schoolboy. No doubt his hands are in his pockets and his eyes can’t get higher than the ground. “Well my little Plum Pudding, it’s just that I saw Chief Massasoit. He’s pleased as a pig in the back yard after a rain storm about our little gathering. So pleased in fact, he wants to bring fifty of his best men, to include Dances with Bear Meat of course. We couldn’t say no; it just wouldn’t be neighborly. You understand, don’t you Love Muffin? So I’m gonna need you to cook a little more than I first thought. Not too much: just a couple of chickens…and a turkey… maybe some potatoes. Well and the pies, of course. We still need the pies. Probably just six would do it cause I hear Miles’s wife is making some too.”
It’s a good thing for our William that he wasn’t living in modern times, because dear Constance might have filed for divorce and taken the first ship back to England. Instead she did what any brave pilgrim wife did. She cooked…and she cooked….and she cooked. Of course come party day she had to admit that everyone had a good time. They had so much fun, in fact, that she almost forgot all she suffered to get that food ready, and the fact that she got more complements on her pies than Mile’s wife didn’t hurt either. So everything turned out great, that is until Dances with Bear Meat shouted ” Hey, we should do this every year!”
William, like any smart husband, probably spent the night in the barn. Especially after he saw Constance pick up that knife and smile. Of course they did do it again the next year, but William took care of the turkey and their older daughters were given charge of the potatoes. And Constance? Well she just put on that old muslin apron and made the pies.