Thanks to everyone who joined us for Episode 23 of the Food History Happy Hour! In this episode, we discussed all things Thanksgiving, including the history of the First Thanksgiving, what foods likely were and were not present at that event, the importance of Indigenous foods in the development of the United States, how to honor Indigenous contributions at Thanksgiving and support Indigenous producers, how Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday, and the origins of many of Thanksgiving's most popular side dishes and desserts.
Rail Splitter (1917)
This recipe comes from the 1917 Recipes for Mixed Drinks by Hugo R. Ensslin. The original reads:
1 pony syrup, juice ½ lemon. Shake well in mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into collins glass, add a cube of ice and fill up with ginger beer.
I substituted maple syrup for the simple syrup, but boy was that way too much syrup to use with modern ginger ale (I couldn't find ginger beer)! Ginger beer is likely stronger in flavor and less sweet, so go whole hog if you use that, but if you're not a fan of sweet drinks, go easy on the syrup.
There are a ton of really great resources out there about Thanksgiving history and Indigenous foodways, but here are a few to whet your appetite:
In the episode we talked a little bit about the myths behind Thanksgiving and what it means to modern Indigenous people, but there's a lot more to be done. Here are some ways you can decolonize your own Thanksgiving, regardless of your cultural background.
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Sarah Wassberg Johnson has an MA in Public History from the University at Albany and studies early 20th century food history.
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