Letter to the Editor

First fully-American holiday

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dear Editor,

This week we will celebrate the first fully-American holiday--Thanksgiving. Initially a day for Native Americans and New Americans to celebrate the good harvest, Thanksgiving has morphed into a day of thankfulness for ALL of our blessings.

According to Yahoo Makers, "Friendsgiving " is the new term for a Thanksgiving pot luck. Having been the host for the traditional turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, I see great wisdom in a Friendsgiving dinner. Without being an exhausted hostess, I might actually enjoy Thanksgiving and I always enjoy tasting everyone else's cooking at pot luck dinners.

But did you know that many of our traditional Thanksgiving dishes are not thought to have been included in that first Thanksgiving in 1621 at Plymouth, Mass? Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving's feast table. Instead, lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast. And, by the way, did you know that the first Thanksgiving feast lasted for three days? If you generally put on a few pounds during the holiday season, think how many more you would gain if each feast lasted three days.

Deep fat fried turkeys became a Thanksgiving Day fad a few years ago but Yahoo Makers tells us that fad is passť.

Yahoo Makers says the new trend for turkey is wrapping it in, you guessed it, bacon! Amazing, isn't it, that as soon as we hear processed meats can cause cancer, we Americans start finding even more ways to use processed meats.

Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on the third of October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.

But, since we are a materialistic and capitalistic country, in 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season. Now Thanksgiving is always celebrated the fourth Thursday of November.

In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. These turkeys average 15 pounds and usually have about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.

Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 - 18 pounds of turkey--but not all at Thanksgiving. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.

The National Farmers Union annually calculates the farmers' share of 15 food items traditionally found on the Thanksgiving table. For each dollar spend on food to make Thanksgiving dinner a special time, the farmers average just 19.4 cents this year. Said another way, only about 1/5 of the cost of the Thanksgiving feast ends up in the pocket of a farmer.

When you are being thankful this Thanksgiving, be sure and put the American farmer on your list of blessings. We farmers are blessed with the best consumers on earth. May you all have a great Thanksgiving Day.

Pam Potthoff,

National Farmers Union

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