Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The cursed Thanksgiving menu

H. L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, December 10, 1910:

The chief objection to the New England Puritans, of course, is not that they burned Indians at the stake … but that they cursed the country with crude cookery and uneatable victuals. The pumpkin pie, clam chowder, the mince pie, pork and beans — these are some of the awful things we have inherited from those gross and chilblained moralists. The common notion that they also gave us roast turkey, with the attendant sauce of cranberries, is an error arising out of the imbecility of the persons who manufacture covers for the November magazines. As a matter of fact, the turkey was unknown in New England until the downfall of the theocracy and the repeal of the blue laws against intellectual eating. The customary Thanksgiving fowl, in witch-burning days, was the common jack rabbit, with the puddle duck as an occasional variant. The turkey, as every sophomore in victualry is aware, really hails from Virgina, and the cranberry from the miasmatic marshes of New Jersey

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