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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ravages of Savages/ Remember Allerton

Really busy day today so I'm going to make this post on the short side. This AM, working on getting my Quickbooks reconciled to the bank so that my accountant can run important reports for the IRS deadline that's looming. Thought I could have it done yesterday - but it's laborious and I underestimated the task. HAVE to have it done today. Then tonight, Josh's long awaited friends from Germany who are here for a few weeks are coming to dinner. He talked me up and they want to meet me and vice versa! Cooking of course (that's one of the things he wants to show off - my cooking). They love Mediterranean food so I'll make a simple meal (given my time restraints) that should please: a kale potato chorizo soup (healthy chicken chorizo from Whole Foods) to start and for the main course, shrimp with oregano, feta and tomatoes. Cornbread and pilaf on the side. Dessert will be homemade apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream.

And ha! You're thinking, tsk, tsk. Sarah=hypocrite to be making pie given yesterday's blog post! And maybe you're right. I should task myself with the health of all my friends when they're in my home at least!  I certainly won't eat the sugary dessert (I'll have vision of apple pie for dessert with a side of fruit). But maybe I should walk the walk and make my home a low glycemic zone!  Friend Pat e-mailed me yesterday about our plans for Thanksgiving. I'm cooking as usual and you can probably imagine what this Pilgrim girl, semi-master chef comes up with on that holiday. That and the Martha monkey on my back makes for a picture perfect holiday. It was Pat's idea to make the Thanksgiving meal low glycemic. Really good idea but I think if there were no pies I might end up being a shrunken head on daughter Elizabeth's keychain.

Reminds me of one Thanksgiving in Plymouth that's worth writing about. It was the early '70's. My parents were bohemian/hippies and were surrounded by like-minded, alternative-thinking friends. The comedian Dick Gregory had just moved his family to Plymouth, seeking a more wholesome lifestyle for them. I was being raised in a rule-free, anything goes house, making my own clothes (psychadelic paisley dresses and maxi skirts). Macrame was big. Paper dresses. Lots of teen sex going on in the corners of my huge house. Crazy time. Anyway, one Thanksgiving my parents got wind of a "Feastless Thanksgiving" being held on the Boston Common. Famous people presided. Indians were represented. It protested the genocide of the American Indian as well as the gluttony of the day when so many Americans were living in hunger.

My sister and I took the bus to Boston to participate. We found the spot - a huge table set with china and crystal in the middle of the park - a table set for a feast but without food. TV cameras were set up - there were several networks covering the event. The ceremony lasted about an hour - we chanted something about "the ravages of the savages", sang mournful songs, vowed to fast the entire day and then went home on the bus. My sister and I took this event seriously - we ate not a bite of the Thanksgiving meal that year. Later we found out that, once the event was over and the press gone, the organizers of the event went home to sumptuous meals. I remember being angry and disillusioned.

When we first moved to Plymouth, Mass, I was about five. That first year we were welcomed by the town elders and invited to participate in the annual reenactment of the Pilgrim's Progress - the marching of the Pilgrims up the hill in the center of the town to the spot where they would have attended services in the fort/church. If you go to Plymouth Plantation today - the reenactment village, the Pilgrim houses accurately are placed on a street on a hill with the fort at the top of the hill. Today that street (Leyden Street) is bustling with cars and shops, but it's still the same street. At the top of the hill, there is an old Unitarian Church I attended as a child, built on the site of the old fort.

Picture today is my family in Pilgrim dress, taken before we took part in the reenactment that first year we moved to Plymouth. We each played one of the Pilgrims who survived the first winter - I was probably Remember Allerton, daughter of Isaac and Mary Allerton who came from Leiden, Netherlands (not all the Pilgrims were English). Here's a YouTube link to a recent reenactment.

Challenge today. It's time to start planning Thanksgiving! Who to invite. What to cook! How to make it meaningful! So much to give thanks for!


In the picture, I'm the girl with the rounded collar - my mother must have taken the picture.  Here's another of me with my older sister.

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