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Cry Foul/Fowl


by Eva Pasco 



Eva Pasco While most of us gather with family and friends around a dining room table in warmth from the hearth and heart, it is hard as "hardtack" to fathom the First Thanksgiving, let alone the Pilgrims' 66-day/2,750 mile journey aboard The Mayflower, originating from Southampton, England to their final destination of Plymouth Harbor along the western side of Cape Cod on December 21, 1620.  A made- for- reality TV program rivaling Survivor, eighty slept inside a cabin intended to hold thirty. Snoring, coughing, vomiting, babies crying, body odor, and lack of privacy characterized the entire voyage.  The Pilgrims were wet, dirty, sick, harbored lice and fleas, and most wore the same clothes the entire journey. Our forefathers subsisted on biscuits dry as rocks called "hardtack" paired with dried beef, dried pork, dried peas, beans, salted fish, and cheese that quickly molded.   Roaches, weevils, and maggots infested the hardtack predisposing the Pilgrims to chow down in the dark so they couldn't see the crawly creatures. Warm meals were a forgone conclusion due to the danger of fire aboard the ship. The sailors had scant patience with these star boarders who constantly puked from seasickness, calling them "glib-glabbety puke stockings." 


Have you lost your appetite or cookies by now?


Though my yesteryear heralded from the Sixties, I can identify with all the stomach churning aboard The Mayflower. Most of my wondrous childhood and adolescent Thanksgiving holidays were spent either retching or languishing from illness. Afflicted with measles, chickenpox, or flu, I hunkered down inside the cabin of my bedroom until summoned to partake in the family banquet, wearing my pajamas. The full course meal my mother prepared which included antipasto, escarole soup, and a turkey with all the trimmings may just have well been infested with roaches, weevils, and maggots as I lacked a hearty appetite to appreciate the sumptuous spread of victuals. Instead, I picked at my food the way that sorry turkey pecked at corn in its heyday. My unsettled stomach, along with the aftershock of the Cranberry Scare of 1959 alluded to in my previous story, created a situation smacking more of grave than of gravy to me. 


As we gather around the dining room table in the here and now to celebrate Thanksgiving and express gratitude, may we give pause to reflect upon The First Thanksgiving which was an outdoor feast of three day duration held in the middle of October 1621.  Meat pies, wild geese, wild duck, deer, lobster, eel, clams, oysters, fresh fish, popcorn, carrots, turnips, onions, radishes, beets, and dried berries were enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Native Americans in camaraderie.  As for turkey, the Pilgrims ate every part of the wild bird except its feathers.  The organs, blood, bones, feet, and even the beak were consumed.  Talk about crying foul/fowl!


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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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