Bake and embrace Thanksgiving this year

Bake and embrace Thanksgiving this year

November can be a grey, cold and difficult month. Apart from Bonfire Night, there’s not much to celebrate about the onset of winter and the thought of huge energy bills.  Meh.

But the fourth Thursday in the month is one of the biggest holidays the Americans celebrate: good, old Thanksgiving.  A positive, non-materialistic holiday where all the family get together around a Turkey-centered feast and take stock. 

What we love about Thanksgiving (as opposed to Christmas) is that it's all about giving thanks and baking up a feast.  Whether you’re one of the 13+ million Brits that celebrate it or not, it’s good for the soul to find time to be appreciative of what we do have with our nearest and dearest with some homemade goodies.

Today our stateside friends will enjoy a day off work, roast a turkey, bake plenty of sides and puds and share with each other what they are thankful for.  Seeing as Thanksgiving is closely followed the next day by the commercial juggernaut that is Black Friday (Risen will not be partaking in it), it seems even more important to be grateful for what we have; not to be whipped up in a frenzy to buy what we don’t. 

The history of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dates all the way back to 1620, when colonists, later known as the Pilgrims, left England to start new lives in America. When they arrived, they struggled to grow and harvest food. They were helped by local Native American Indians, who taught them how to use the land. In response, in November 1621, the pilgrims invited the Native Americans for a big feast as an act of thanks, where they all ate the food the successful harvest had produced.  

Why has it become so big in the UK?

These days, we have a sizeable expat community living here who we’re sure are to thank for the appearance of pumpkin puree on British supermarket shelves.  Plus, with all of us clued to social media, it’s hard to avoid all the Thanksgiving posts bulging with recipes galore.  Who’d not like to give pumpkin pies with whipped cream a go mid-week?  And the sentiments behind Thanksgiving are ones that in today’s age of uncertainty and unrest, are even more important than ever.  Post-Covid, aren’t we all still grateful that we can see our loved ones face to face without relying on Zoom?

What to cook

Whilst a turkey is absolutely the centre piece, Americans go mad over all the sides.  From mashed potato to green bean casserole, cornbread to pies aplenty, there’s so much to go round.  Perhaps the strangest dish on the table is sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows.  This peculiar side, dating back to 1917, is perhaps better suited to an American palate.  Who knew that the two could go together but this popular dish has nearly as much a guaranteed place on the Thanksgiving table as pumpkin pie.

Let’s be thankful for flour

While it's likely that pumpkins were among the crops that the local Indians had introduced the pilgrims to all those years ago, if they were eaten at the feast it certainly wasn't in a pie. The settlers didn't have butter, sugar or flour in their pantries, so any pastry or desserts would have been out of the question. Their pumpkin was most likely boiled! Urgh: we’re certainly giving thanks for those basic baking ingredients these days. A world without flour?!  Unimaginable.

With that in mind, and the Thanksgiving spirit to enjoy, check out our mini Pumpkin & Maple Syrup pies made with Risen’s Super White Spelt Flour and create your own Thursday night feast of gratitude for the UK’s newest and completely unofficial holiday. 

For all your thanksgiving flour needs, head over to our shop now.