The First Thanksgiving
One of the most notable explorers and colonists was Pedro Menéndez de Avilés who, in 1565, was ordered by Spain’s king to destroy the French Huguenot colony. When he took over the fort, his troops acquired large quantities of flour, barrels of biscuits, bushels of wheat, a flourmill and some hogs. Menéndez founded Saint Augustine and named it in honor of the saint whose feast day it was when he first sighted land. This happened 42 years before Jamestown was settled in 1607, and over 50 years before the Plymouth landing in 1620, making it the oldest European settlement in America. Menéndez is responsible for the first permanent settlement of Saint Augustine and, possibly, the first Thanksgiving dinner with the Timucua. The Sunshine State’s first Thanksgiving dish might have been a Spanish stew with pork, garbanzo beans, sausage, fresh local vegetables, garlic and olive oil. Timucuans likely contributed local game and fish such as mullet, catfish, tortoise, oysters or clams. Eminent Florida historian Michael V. Gannon wrote, in his book The Cross in the Sand, “the feast day observed…after Mass, the Adelantado (Spanish governor to the area) had the Indians fed and dined himself. It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent settlement in the land.” A Culinary History of Florida
A Thanksgiving soup of garbanzo beans, olive oil, pork and garlic might have been part of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Florida, long before the Pilgrims broke bread with the Native Americans up the coast. Why not serve this along with traditional Thanksgiving dishes on the 4th Thursday of November?
Ham and Bean Soup
from Easy Breezy Florida Cooking
1⁄2 pound dried garbanzo beans
2 quarts water or more if necessary (divided use)
1 chorizo sausage, sliced and removed from its casing 1 ham bone
8 ounces ham, cut into chunks
1 small onion, chopped
3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
1⁄8 teaspoon saffron
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
- Wash garbanzo beans thoroughly, then soak overnight with enough water to cover.
- Drain beans and place in an 8-quart stockpot. Add 1 quart of water along with chorizo, ham bone and ham. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat; simmer, covered, 11⁄2 hours. Remove ham bone and discard.
- Add onions, potatoes, saffron, bay leaf and salt.
- Return to a boil, reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 1 hours.
- Remove cover, and then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf before serving.Servings: 6