The festive air for Thanksgiving has already begun in the US, with the D-Day being on the 23rd November this year. Before we literally bite into the delectable Thanksgiving spread that awaits us right here in Pune, let’s rewind to the 17th century to see how Thanksgiving became a festival.
A Bite of History:
When the early settlers arrived in Plymouth in the U.SA., they were unprepared for a brutal winter which claimed many lives of those onboard the ship. The few malnourished people that survived till the break of Spring were welcomed by two Native Americans, who taught them how to cultivate corn, identify poisonous plants, fish in the river, amongst other things. They established their village in Plymouth and the following year in 1621, ‘for their first harvest in their new land, they cooked a feast spread over three days, and invited the Native Americans to partake of the festivities’. That is the earliest recorded Thanksgiving.
‘for their first harvest in their new land, they cooked a feast spread over three days, and invited the Native Americans to partake of the festivities’.
Although all the items of the menu of the first Thanksgiving is not clearly known, there was definitely deer meat which the Native Americans had got as a gift for their hosts, dishes made with potatoes, squash and corn.
It was in 1893 that President Abraham Lincoln, in the height of the Civil War declared the fourth Thursday of November to be a National Thanksgiving Day. Over the years, the significance of Thanksgiving may have been forgotten but its festive spirit has survived. Today, celebrations revolve around cooking and spending time with family.
Since 90% of the Americans consume turkey, the bird has become synonymous with Thanksgiving, in roasted form. Other traditional dishes include, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
With people embracing different diets we have people departing from the traditional meat items in Thanksgiving to vegetarian and even vegan dishes. So turkey roast is replaced with a colourful vegetable roast, and there is ample use of fresh produce like butternut squash, berries, fruit and nuts.
The essence of Thanksgiving, of celebrating harvest and Nature’s bounty, spans across cultures and continents. In India, for example, we have harvest festivals like Baisakhi, Pongal, Kojagiri Poornima, etc, which are the equivalent of Thanksgiving. In the 21st century with the globe shrinking and cultures intermingling, there can surely be another excuse for celebration in India too, on Thanksgiving.
To celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving in Pune, Homechefs from across the city are putting together some enticing menus. Even if you weren’t planning on celebrating – these dishes are worth a try!
Chef Natasha presents these scrumptious dishes which can make a whole Thanksgiving meal:
Whole Chicken Roast – after a roast turkey, there is nothing more ‘thanksgiving-y’ than this baked whole chicken roast which has the perfect blend of spices and garnished herbs. This is served with roasted vegetables in a mild spice mix.
Plum cake- A beautiful moist cake with dry fruits, burnt sugar and a very special ingredient of sweetened pumpkin pulp. Be it Christmas or be it Thanksgiving or even just a slice with your evening tea, this cake is the way to go. The cake stays for 15 days and it is prepared on the day it is delivered. So, you have plenty of time to savor the decadence. What’s more, this cake is served in traditional style.
You can customize the shape and size of cake i.e. 4 cakes of 1/2 kg each or 2 cakes of 1 kg.
Mutton leg roast- A classic thanksgiving special! Whole Leg of mutton off the bone, slow-cooked for hours with onions and spices until it is tender. Served with roasted potatoes and a gravy to complete the perfect thanksgiving meal for your family. It is served sliced and can be eaten with steamed rice or bread.
You can also make it into a sandwich if you have anything left for the next day!
Our Chef Alka, presents the following:
Healthy chocolate crunchy krispies -Melted chocolate rolled in crispy nuts & flakes. Comes in a round shape. Stays fine in the refrigerator for a month.
Stuffed Chicken breast – Chicken breast marinated with spices and stuffed with assorted vegetables & cheese then rolled in egg & breadcrumbs and then baked to perfection.
Cheesy stuffed baked potatoes – Medium sized potatoes baked with skin and stuffed with cheese, mushrooms & corn and some other vegetables.
Chef Shiwani presents Chocolava buns – Melt-in-the-mouth buns with chocolate oozing out- a definite treat for chocolate lovers.
Rasmalai shot glasses: Layers of cake with rasmalai- a brilliant idea with an Indian spin on an American dessert.
Chef Mary presents Apple crumble – a seasonal dessert made with apples, brown sugar, cardamom, dryfruit and butter and served warm with whipped cream.
Chicken cannelloni- A pancake with chicken keema filling, rolled and topped with creamy cheese sauce.
We hope you enjoy these dishes and enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Mealtango is a first community of trained and certified homechefs in India. On the Mealtango website, you can find approved homechefs near you and order Thanksgiving recipes online. The food will be delivered at your doorstep. It’s as simple as that! The Mealtango team ensures that you have an excellent experience of relishing scrumptious home cooked food lovingly prepared by the Mealtango homechefs.