Eels -Unsung Stars of the First Thanksgiving

wikipedia imageThanksgiving Day 2010 - Turkey is the star of the modern Thanksgiving feast and it may have been the favored food at the first Thanksgiving as well. But the true star should be the food that enabled the Pilgrims to survive, one that engages the gag reflex in many of us at the mere mention of its name: eels.

The following account is from “Mourt’s Relation,” mostly written by a Plymouth resident, Edward Winslow: “Squanto went at noon to fish for eels. At night he came home with as many as he could well lift in one hand, which our people were glad of. They were fat and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and so caught them with his hands without any other instrument.”

Eels don’t like cold water, and spend the winter balled up, bodies twisted together in the mud. In the frigid months they were usually caught with fork-like spears, the eels pinned between the tines. The fish proved essential to the endurance of the Pilgrims, and it is fitting that a river near Plymouth Colony was named Eel River. Here's more from James Prosek NYTimes.