Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving Day As many of you are aware, Americans are celebrating their traditional Thanksgiving Day this fourth Thursday of November. It is a time for gathering with friends and family and quite frankly, making pigs of ourselves! We eat and eat and eat some more! And take a break and eat some more! The focus is on food and plenty of it! And so we give thanks for the bounty as people have for ages and ages, by gathering together to FEAST! The menu, while it varies somewhat from one end of the country to the other, has a great deal of consistency. The central feature being the Turkey, a bird native to North America, and a great blesing to the earliest colonists from Europe as it was large and somewhat easy to hunt. Second to the Turkey is the potatoes, also native to the Americas and equally appreciated by the modern world. (Can YOU imagine the world without the potato?) Third in universality would be the Pumpkin pie, and if I am not mistaken, the pumpkin is also an American native vegetable. And the Cranberry is native too, and is made into a lovely jelly sauce for the meat. Corn, yet another native to America, plays its part in many menus, sometimes as the bread for stuffing the Turkey, sometimes served on the ear dripping with butter. It seems as though the greater part of the traditional menu consists of foods that are native to the Americas, which makes sense after all, as the Holiday is considered to be a remembrance of the first feasts of thanksgiving held by the early colonists who survived their first year on these shores.
And because this is a blog about miniature dollhouses, it would stand to reason that I would want to show my miniature friends celebrating this Holiday along with us big people. Yet, when I took inventory of my supplies and ingredients for such a post, I became aware that my dollhouses still had almost NO FOOD AT ALL in their pantries and larders and buttries! THIS was something I was going to have to remedy right away. So I pulled out my sculpey and paints and went to work. You are going to have to be easy on me, dear readers, because I have not made any mini food since I made some salt dough pieces way back in my teen years!

Here below you can see the beginnings of the sculpey food I have made.
I even had to make some dishes as I had no serving pieces!
Most of the foods for the traditional Thanksgiving Feast were native to the American Continent, which means they were unknown to the Medieval Europeans. In the Middle Ages, Europeans had no potatoes, no corn, (maize, not wheat) no pumpkins or squash, no turkeys. If I wanted my Castle dolls to celebrate a "thanksgiving" feast, I had to think about what foods they WOULD have had! Fortunately, I have a wonderful book all about medieval foods and recipes, and it reminded me that just because WE can't imagine a world without potatoes or corn, they had plenty of variety and delicious foods to feast on! Nonetheless, being a beginner with sculpey food, I stuck to the simple very basic foods. The Medieval people ate a great deal of bread and cheese and meat. They had cabbage and onions and turnips and beans, beets, carrotts, lettuce and kale and many other greens. They had apples and pears and berries, grapes, figs, nuts and spices, to name just a few! Plenty of food for a feast!
So I started with a roast goose on a spit (my fire is not quite set up to show it BEING roasted, so I show it finished.) Fresh baked bread and a wheel of hard cheese were easy enough to make. The onions and cabbage were a little harder to make look realistic, so I have put them in the back of the picture!

Belle is getting ready to serve the meal.....

A slightly closer shot..... Old Meg is hungry!

Henry has been out hunting and brought home a pair of pheasants....... it is his contribution to the meal.... but Belle will serve them another day since the goose is cooked already!

Meanwhile, in the Modern doll world, Pollyanna has been out hunting too, and she came home with a basket full of vegetables from the market!
(These were not made by me - they are plastic and none of them were Medieval foods!)

Pollyanna also had to run to the nearest Flea Market to pick up some dishes to use because she really has no china to serve a feast!

(All but the platter at the back are my sculpey creations... please don't laugh! Or rather, go ahead and laugh loud and long! They are very rough, novice examples, and I would never have tried to do "china" except in these dire circumstances!)

Now that Pollyanna has her dishes all chosen, she can get to work on the preparations for the meal! Starting with peeling and chopping all those potatoes and squash.... maybe I shouldn't have made quite so many!

Oh, and I had to dig out the pots and pans for cooking all this food!

Helen is here to help! She is an old pro at the Thanksgiving meal and will make sure Pollyanna does it all just right!

Here is a sneak preview of the pies for dessert! One Pumpkin and one Apple.
Sally May and Skip brought them, so Pollyanna didn't have to bake them herself.

And after HOURS and HOURS of cooking, the food is all ready and laid out on the table for serving.

There is an ENORMOUS roasted Turkey..... I have to get my "scale" adjusted a little bit!

The white things that look like carved icebergs is supposed to be the mashed potatoes...... and the bright orange ones are the butternut squash.......
There is a gravy boat with gravy and a dish with cranberry jelly......
And a dish with green peas dripping in butter....

Someone needs to start carving the Turkey... and call everbody in to dinner!

Here's to Family and Friends and loved ones Far and Near!
(Oh dear, I seem to have forgotten the drinks!
Pretend they are lifting their glasses of wine in toast!)

And I will lift my glass and Give Thanks for all my Family;
far flung though they be, they are close in my heart!

To my Uncle and Aunt and Cousins in the Northwest!
To my Father and Brothers and Nephews in the Southwest!
To my Sister and Niece in the South!
To my Mother and Niece and Great Niece in the East!
To my Cousins and Uncle in the Hills of New England!
And to my Sons, One in the Far North, one at home!
May Bounty and Good Fortune be ours!

And to all my new Blog Friends I raise my glass in toast!
Far flung though you be, in distant corners of the Globe, perhaps never to meet face to face, yet you are become important to me!
Your generosity and creativity inspire me!

I am blessed by your acquaintance!
Thank you for being part of this blog journey!

So please join in the FEAST! Dig in! And remember to save room for some pie!

Giving Thanks


  1. What a wonderful post! Many happy blessings to you and yours on this Thanksgiving! I LOVE your big turkey and pies! Great job!

  2. You are a very talented Lady Betsy! I can't believe there were your first miniature food and dishes! Great work!
    And Happy Thanksgiving!:)

  3. I echo the others, Betsy! Amazing results for the 1st time! Your fruits and that turkey especially!

    I happen to like your China. As usual, your painting is excellent! So much details!

    This is a wonderful thanksgiving post and you git me wiki-ing potato ..LOL! :)

    Happy Thanksgiving, *clink clink

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Betsy, and many blessings to you and your widespread family! You did an amazing job on the food, especially the turkey and the pheasants, it's almost unbelievable it's your first go at this!

  5. Thank you Kathi! One year a long time ago we actually had a turkey almost that big.... it was 24 pounds and fed a huge crowd! I think my dollhouse people will be having leftovers for a long time!

  6. Thank you Ewa! You are so kind about my first food.... I just try not to look too close!

  7. Thanks, Sans! I am glad you can see something nice about my dishes! The painting covers a "multitude of sins" as they say! LOL! I really need to read up on some of the techniques "Real" sculpey food artists use!
    Did your Wiki-ing teach you something new about potatoes?

  8. Thank you Helene! You are very generous with your praise of my food making.... I am happy with it for my first food! I just hope that I will learn some of the "pros" tricks before I make more.... Painting those apples and potatoes got more paint on my fingers than the food! LOL! And they roll around while you are waiting for them to dry!

  9. To be honest, I couldn't fathom how there was no potatoes in Medieval Europe. LOL Wiki said it was 1st introduced to Spain in 1700s. So yes, I learnt a bit more about potatoes :)