What did the Pilgrims eat?

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving on a nutrition blog than learn about what the Pilgrims ate!  I came across this book at the library while searching for Thanksgiving books for my own kids.  Wow – this is a great book!

Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners
by Lucille Recht Penner

A lot of what the Pilgrims ate, they ate because they had to.  They didn’t want to starve.  Aboard the Mayflower, supplies were limited and were largely infested with bugs.  The book mentions that some Pilgrims preferred to eat at night so they couldn’t see what might be crawling on their food!  (This garnered a round of “EEEW” and “YUCK! from my kids!)  They couldn’t risk a stray spark from an open fire burning down their ship, so they mostly ate cold foods.  And while they kept a goat, chickens, and other animals on the ship, they weren’t used for food.  They were merely bringing the animals to the New World with the intent of starting a new herd or flock there.