The original Thanksgiving meal

Beverly Cox

This year, let’s give it up for the originators of our favorite meal of the year: the Native Americans.

“Most all of the foods that we associate with Thanksgiving are Native American foods,” says Beverly Cox, the co-author of the recently reissued “Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking.”
“Sweet potatoes, corn (like cornbread stuffing), the turkey (a native animal to the Americas), cranberries, green beans, pumpkin pie — pumpkins originated in the Americas as well — virtually our whole dinner came from the Indians.”

And while we celebrate Thanksgiving just once a year, in earlier times, giving thanks was a regular occurrence.

“Thanksgiving ceremonies, for most Native American tribes, were very much a part of their lives,” she continues. “There were Thanksgiving ceremonies periodically throughout the year to punctuate the different harvests. There would be a Thanksgiving ceremony for the first buffalo, or the first salmon that were caught — they’d treat it with a great ceremony to thank the salmon for giving themselves to feed the people.”

So before you stuff your face this year, we recommend giving thanks to the Native Americans for helping your mom come up with that awesome pie.

Weekend Recipe

Hidatsa stuffed sugar pumpkin

Serves 6

Many of the Plains tribes originated near the Great Lakes and in the northern woodlands, and thus were familiar with wild rice. It became and important trade item, finding its way from Woodland to Prairie tribes. It was then traded for buffalo hides and dried meat from the hunting peoples on the plains, who were long removed from their ancestral rice marshes.

The Mandan and Hidatsa villages along the Missouri River in what is now central North Dakota were major trading centers for both indigenous and non-Indian foods. These tribes raised pumpkins and squash and also traded with tribes to the east and the north, and thus had a more varied diet than their nomadic neighbors.

Ingredients
1 4- to 5-pound sugar pumpkin
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil or rendered fat
1 pound ground venison, buffalo or beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup wild rice, cooked
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon crushed dried sage
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the top from the pumpkin and remove seeds and strings. Prick cavity with a fork and rub with 1 teaspoon of salt and the mustard. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add meat and onion and saute over medium-high heat until browned. Off the heat, stir in wild rice, eggs, remaining salt, sage and pepper. Stuff pumpkin with this mixture.  Place ½ inch of water in the bottom of a shallow baking pan.

2. Put pumpkin in the pan and bake for 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Add more water to the pan as necessary to avoid sticking. Cut pumpkin into wedges, giving each person both pumpkin and stuffing.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.