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A truly American holiday

Thanksgiving is truly an American holiday

Thanksgiving as a holiday had its origins on American soil. In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of the New World and his first order of business was to thank God for sparing his life from life threatening storms at sea. One hundred and twenty eight years later, the pilgrims arrived after a rough Atlantic journey and landed near Plymouth, Massachusetts, and they also thanked God, and 401 years later in 2021, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. Even though the holiday can be traced to American origins, no other holiday is so taken for granted. Surely it should be a time to have thankful hearts and to count our blessings. We have so very much to be thankful for, and our lives should be constantly lived in a spirit of giving thanks.

Pilgrims gave thanks at Plymouth in 1620

Materialism is the biggest hindrance to giving thanks in America in the year 2021. Oh how far we have missed the mark since the time of the arrival of Columbus in 1492 after a stormy Atlantic journey and the pilgrims in 1620 after a rough journey across the Atlantic in winter and storms. To them, giving thanks was not a ritual, but a priority. Landing at Plymouth in the harshness of winter was not a good situation, but they gave thanks. They praised and worshipped the Lord for sparing their lives. Anyone can sing a song when the sun is shinning bright and the future looks good, but the pilgrims had a song in their heart in the dark of the night facing an uncertain future that seemed as dark as the night. Yet, they worshipped in thanksgiving and praise. Why can’t we in this land so blessed by God offer up praise, honor, and thanksgiving to God instead of preoccupying ourselves with materialism, self-seeking, satisfaction of appetites and watching sporting events and Christmas bargain hunting? The pilgrim fathers took nothing for granted in that winter of 1620, and neither should we in this year of our Lord, 2021. Like the pilgrims, in everything we should give thanks. Over 150 years ago when Abraham Lincoln wrote his proclamation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday, he made a statement: “How long will it be before we forget God’s blessings again? Can we follow Christ without grateful hearts?” How true his words are in this 21st century. Our real desire should be: “Open the eyes of my heart Lord. Everyday, give me a thankful heart so that I will pray and count all my blessings, and sing praises emitting from a grateful heart!” People that are more grateful are more likely to be more positive even when dealing with difficult situations. We need always to remember that gratitude is more a heart situation than a mind situation.

Apples from the Big Apple state

You can purchase apples from North Carolina, Virginia, Washington State, and other places but the very sweetest mellow, moist, tangy and tart, and colorful come from the Big Apple. New York state produces the world’s best apples. It may be the gray loamy soil, the cool spring days or mountain air. We really don’t know what it is about them, but they are unique in flavor and texture. You can choose from McIntosh, Jonathan. Ginger gold, Jona gold, Winesap, and Jona Mac. These are apples that would make Johnny Appleseed proud.

A bowl of turnips for Thanksgiving

The pilgrims may not have had them at their feast, but they can be a part of your Thanksgiving meal and add some contrast to the calorie rich foods that will fill the table. Turnips are one of the simplest vegetables in the cool weather garden plot and one of the most beautiful with their white bottoms and bright purple tops. The best way to prepare them is the way you prepare a bowl of mashed potatoes. All you have to do is peel the turnips, dice them into one inch cubes, cover with water, and boil until tender enough to stick a fork through them. Mash the turnips with a potato masher or use the mixer to whip them up. Add one stick of light margarine (melted), salt, pepper, a little sugar, paprika, and a few strips of broiled bacon (crumbled). Mix all together and add a little mayonnaise for texture.

Making a Thanksgiving dirt cake

This is a no-bake creamy cake that will melt your mouth. You will need one 32-ounce bag of vanilla Oreos or pumpkin Oreos if they are available, one stick light margarine, one eight-ounce pack of cream cheese (softened), one three-ounce box of Jello instant pudding or Jello instant pumpkin pudding mix, three and a half cups milk, one twelve ounce carton of Cool Whip, one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Directions: Run the Oreos through the blender in grate mode and set aside. In a second bowl, mix the cream cheese and softened margarine together. In another bowl, mix Jello instant pudding mix, milk, and Cool Whip. Mix the two bowls of cream cheese mixture and Jello pudding mixture. Add pumpkin pie spice. In a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish or baking pan add a layer of crushed Oreos (you will need three Oreo layers). On the first layer of Oreos, place a layer of the filling, add second layer of Oreos then layer of filling, add third layer of Oreos. Decorate top with cream pumpkins.

North Carolina sweet potatoes

In North Carolina, sweet potatoes have been a tradition at Thanksgiving much longer than turkey. This is because the state produces as many sweet potatoes as it does turkeys. Most of the sweet potatoes in North Carolina are raised in the coastal plain where much of the soil is loamy instead of acidic. From Tabor City to Whiteville and into the Sandhills and northeastern North Carolina, sweet potatoes thrive and are one of the country’s largest producers of sweet potatoes and many are exported to other countries. My Northampton County grandma had baked sweet potatoes in her wood stove oven almost every day in autumn and they were always warm because her wood stove never went out. As children, we would peel a baked potato about half way down the potato and leave the rest of peeling on the sweet potato and eat it like an ice cream cone. North Carolina sweet potatoes are best when bought from a local farm or produce stand on the way back from Myrtle Beach. Fresh-dug sweet potatoes have a dark brown sap that enhances their flavor. Most store bought sweet potatoes have been cured and are dry inside. Sweet potatoes can be fried, baked, made into biscuits, pies, cakes, and casseroles and custards and can be mashed like mashed potatoes, also made into puddings by grating raw potatoes by running through the blender in grate mode or scrapping raw potatoes across an old fashioned “tater” grater.

A simple, quick Thanksgiving dessert

If preparing the Thanksgiving meal is taking a lot of time, you can ease the work load with this simple pumpkin dessert with few ingredients and it requires only a few minutes of time. The recipe is titled, “Key ingredient pumpkin cake.” You will need to box of yellow cake mix, one sixteen ounce can of Libby’s pumpkin, one teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Mix cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin. Pour mixture into a 13x9x2 inch baking pan or dish sprayed with Pam baking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and punch holes in the baked cake. Make a glaze of one and a half cups of 10x powdered sugar, four tablespoons of orange juice, half teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Mix until very smooth and pour over the cake. Simple as well as good!

Thank you for reading Garden Plot!

Our seasonal thanks for reading the Garden Plot each Sunday in the Mount Airy News Lifestyle section. May all of our readers be blessed and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Hoe hoe hoedown

“Heaven bound!” An elderly and ailing man was concerned when he died, he would need money in heaven. The man asked his three grown children if they would each promise to slip a thousand dollar bill in his casket when his time came and each promised they would. The man died a few months later. The older son placed a thousand dollar bill in the open casket. Next the grieving daughter placed a thousand dollar bill in the casket. The other son who is nick-named “Slider,” wiped his face with a napkin, whispered goodbye, deposited a check for three thousand dollars in the casket and picked up the $2,000.



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