I’ve long thought about various spices and their advantages in our lives. They do play a dramatic role, whether you’ve considered it or not. Turkey, too! Known as the ‘main event’! And what better time of year, than now!
While it’s important to ‘spice up’ a story for the reader, it’s always wise to add a dash of wisdom. Fall brings more than cooler weather. Her beauty surrounds and enfolds us in her autumn arms. Once again, the leaves go through a complete alteration. As this season undresses, unashamedly, in front of us, she tells us, “it’s time to dress for Fall!” Change of color, dress, and food. I’ve always loved this month. My wedding anniversary month. When I worked, it was a favorite because we had three paid holidays! Election, Veterans, and Thanksgiving! It’s also a prelude to Christmas. While Autumn boldly parades her leaves of many colors, our senses and diets are ready for new experiences as well.
First, a few comments about Election Day! It too can be very spicy! I won’t go into the politics of the day! Each one of you can figure out if you’re left, middle or right! Don’t be a ‘loosey-goosey’ vote for what’s best for you and our country. Veterans Day is a day in history that no one forgets. We owe much to our Vets. They’ve shielded and protected us with their bodies; near and far! How many Thanksgivings did they miss so we could remain safe to enjoy this day?
Thanksgiving Day is the hallmark of November! A day to give thanks! We don’t exchange gifts but we do trade our food ideas; our recipes with one another. Nutmeg is a spice that comes front and center for our Pumpkin pies and sweet potato dishes; better known as candied yams! Turkey cooking in all the American ovens; the Thanksgiving Parade, moving along the streets of Manhattan; final destination, Macy’s Department store! If you are invited out for Thanksgiving dinner, and you’re not cooking a favorite dish, why not buy a box of Fall spices? While the words above are my backdrop for my blog, I felt it needed “a shot in the turkey leg!’ Humor me and follow along. Let’s have some fun. With all the news on T.V., newspapers, and magazines filled with BREXIT, I’ve created a new headline for you; TREXIT! All TURKEYS to exit from the American Thanksgiving table! Will there be repercussions? You bet your booty there’ll be!
EXIT ALL TURKEYS
You’ll have a chance to vote! YES=REMOVAL OF ALL TURKEYS-NO=TURKEYS STAY
If you vote YES: Only one Turkey will stay! If NO: all turkeys stay! Do you, the American voter wish to keep your Thanksgiving dinner as usual or do you want to revert to the 1st Thanksgiving Pilgrim/Wampanoag dinner? Waterfowl, lobster, venison, wild turkey, berries, fruit, pumpkins, and squash? No pies; no ovens then. And dinner was cooked mostly by men. All but a handful of women were left. Most of the women died after crossing the rough Atlantic. The New England weather proved very harsh for females but not males! This I find questionable!
Turkeys today can be oven baked or dipped into a deep canister of hot oil. Tried both and I prefer baked in the oven. Each cook has her or his own special stuffing recipe. I prefer my Mom’s. Old bread cubed, onions, celery, combo of herbs and butter sauteed, then stuffed into the bird. The stuffing, cranberry, turkey, mayo on bread or roll is a great Friday lunch! Don’t forget a slab of apple or pumpkin pie! I wonder if our Pilgrims had leftovers?
Doing this Blog is a great way to sift out all the old memories of my mom’s kitchen and her magnificent cooking and baking! I don’t think I complimented her enough about her cooking and baking talents. All we saw and tasted were the end results of her treasured cooking. So, do not forget to compliment and gift your “Thanksgiving” cooks! They are the real gems of Thanksgiving!
Nutmeg is one of our great spices which we use in our Thanksgiving cooking and baking. It rates high during Christmas time, too! Yes, there are numerous spices but I’m going to focus on “Nutmeg!” This spice is embedded in history and mystery. Nutmeg was present for the 1st Thanksgiving; if you could afford it! It was used then like we use black pepper today. Nutmeg was carried by gentlemen accompanied with a nutmeg grinder with a small box attached for the nut ball. They would sprinkle it on their desserts when they dined out. Nutmeg resembles a small nut, so why is it worth its weight in gold? Why did Nutmeg go to war and land in strange countries? What possessed so many countries to fight over her? Was it her flavor, taste, properties to heal or her monetary value? It was money! Nutmeg is a native of the Moluccas Islands in the South Pacific. Better known as the “Spice Islands.” It has an ancient history and mystery of its own and both are real. Nutmeg and its sister, Mace are wrapped in the same ball. Nutmeg, inner and Mace the outer threads. Each has its own flavor and scent. The tale of the two spices Nutmeg and Mace have been with us from the 1st Century. Nutmeg is similar to cinnamon while Mace is stronger. History tells us that Henry the VI had the streets of Rome fumigated with Nutmeg for his coronation.
After Portugal seized the Spice Island, a war ensued with the Dutch. The Dutch then increased the price of Nutmeg 300 times the cost! Even though the Dutch held a monopoly on Nutmeg, the British had control of Run Island, where the Nutmeg grew. Now, it gets more interesting. A treaty was formed between the Dutch and British. The treaty of Breda! What this meant was that the Netherlands gave up their far off useless Island of Manhattan. Also known as New Amsterdam in return for Run Islands. Now, the Dutch held a nutmeg monopoly for at least a century and a half.
Once the monopoly war ended, its mystery exposed, the price of Nutmeg dropped. Now, everyone could afford this wonderful spice! I found this so intriguing that I wanted to share it with you. Did you know that Connecticut is our Nutmeg state? Ships were heavily loaded with Nutmeg coming from Asia and S. Africa headed for Connecticut. All the Nutmeg tree wanted was to remain on its tropical Island and enjoy the sun and wind. But, I’m happy it came to our shores.
If you can, purchase the nutmeg whole and grade it on foods and recipes. It is far fresher and lasts longer. Next time you sprinkle nutmeg in your cooking, baking or top your Holiday eggnog, remember its history; the long journeys on the high seas and its dollar value.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL! May your Thanksgiving tables be graced with family and love.
Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.
Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!