Thanksgiving, the tradition of celebrating the harvest in the United States, has a long history. It was first celebrated by Spanish explorers in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565 - or was that the colonists in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1607? Or there again, perhaps it was the “officially recognized” colonists in Plymouth Massachusetts who in 1621 celebrated their harvest with the help of the Wampanoag tribe who showed the pilgrims how to fish and plant and grow crops.
Ah, but what really matters is that the celebration took place.
How this simple bucolic tradition metamorphosed into deep fat turkey fryers and turducken would take a science fiction writer to explain. However, Thanksgiving has become a favorite of writers of another hue - children’s writers, the writers of cookery books, and of course romance writers.
Thanksgiving becomes a background event or a culminating point for many romance novels. A tornado on the high plains, an orphan and a foster mother and a returning love interest - a cowboy named Clay - could there be “A Family For Thanksgiving”? I don’t know, but Patricia Davids tells all in her novel. “Thanksgiving” brings together a potter, a marauding rabbit, a doctor and a baby. Yes, only Janet Evanovich could blend these disparate elements into an enjoyable romantic novel featuring a Thanksgiving meal for the family. For Lee Harris, romance is not in the air; it’s time for a cracking good whodunnit with “The Thanksgiving Day Murder.” A disappearance a year before at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade leads Christine Bennett to investigate a case that has baffled the police and one private detective before her. And if that is not enough, check out “Turkey Day Murder,” one of Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone mysteries. Food and a murder mystery - the perfect Thanksgiving!
Most of us don’t disappear at The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, we watch it on television. Television has created Thanksgiving traditions of its own over the years: Laurel and Hardy’s “March of the Wooden Soldiers” became our Thanksgiving movie, and another staple at our home was (and continues to be) “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” As Charles Schulz and other children’s writers understood, there was a market for Thanksgiving themed books. Some of my son’s favorite titles include “Thanksgiving on Thursday,” “Thanksgiving Turkey Trouble” and “Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims.”
And so to the central element of Thanksgiving (aside from the giving of thanks, of course) - the food. You may have favorites of your own - please tell us in the comments - but the books I have had the pleasure of relying on here have been "The Perfect Thanksgiving Book: Delicious Recipes for a Fabulous Family Feast" and "Chuck Williams' Thanksgiving & Christmas." Both of these have not only a marvelous array of recipes, but recipes that actually work!
So happy Thanksgiving to everybody, and I have included some of some of our favorite Thanksgiving videos for your entertainment. Enjoy!
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