It may be a surprise that I created one of my whackiest culinary creations for a Thanksgiving dinner. Not that American Thanksgiving dinners do not already come with their own weird food offerings, such as jellow and marshmallows. See my article on Thanksgiving Dinner.
Our mother loved Thanksgiving. Modern interpretations of Thanksgiving reflect a more realistic analysis of the true sequence of events and provide a more balanced view of all sides of the story. But for my mother, the traditional version of the story was true and good and locked in stone. Each year at Thanksgiving, with a full table seated and ready to eat – before grace – she would recite the Thanksgiving story in great detail. This included the catastrophic failure and hardships of the first harvest – represented at each setting bya a little muffin case full of 13 grains of popping maize (all the settlers had to eat on the first Thanksgiving). She continued to tell us that happily the Native American Indians make friends with the settlers and taught them how to plant corn seed with fish (to act as a fertilizer) and this lead to the bounty of the second harvest, which is celebrated to this day by Americans everywhere on Thanksgiving day.
We didn’t mind waiting for the story – or even hearing it for the umpteenth time – mom was a brilliant story-teller. But I could never really understand the point of the dried corn seed on the table – inevitably we would end up trying to eat it or build little trebuchets to send the seeds to the other side of the table. I therefore decided to dispense with the 13 grains and instead combine the ideas of both corn and the fish into a new ‘fish&corn’ starter. Early years were easy – clam chowder and corn bread, fish taco (on corn tortilla) – but then I thought hmmm, I wonder is popcorn and caviar would go together….