Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Search challenge (Nov 24, 2010): What's the original cranberry recipe?

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and we're all pondering the origins of our national holiday.  Whether or not you believe it was a celebration of pure survival or a celebration of the domination of capitalism over socialism (you can go look it up!) matters not.  

Today's question, which I'm sure we've all thought about at one time or another is this: 

What recipe for cranberry sauce that was used at the first Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth in 1621?  

Just curious...  

Search on! 


  1. Searching for [cranberry history] I used Google's Timeline tool to narrow down the results to the 1620's and kept seeing a reference for pemmican. It sounds like a type of jerky that the American Indians made. They in turn passed it along to the pilgrims.

    After reading several references, I'm going with this as the most likely use of cranberries in relation to the first Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for constantly challenging us in our thinking.

  2. What seems clear is that no one knows -- that there is no record of cranberries being served (or not). But the sources I managed to find suggested that it was most likely pemmican, which is a jerky that can have dried berries included. Is that close?

  3. Although multiple sources about the history of cranberries state that in 1620, the "Pilgrims learn to use cranberries from the Native Americans", the primary sources on the WEBSite MayFlower discuss corn quite a bit but the word cranberry does not appear in any search of these sources. Therefore I believe it will most likely not be possible to find an original recipe from the 1620s. I have to say that it was quite interesting to review these historical books on Thanksgiving!