Do you remember harvest festivals when you were at school?

No doubt many of you recall bringing in tinned goods that had sat at the back of your parents’ cupboards for decades (obviously there were no best before dates back then!).

Harvesting has, of course, been around for a long, long time!

Once mankind stopped following the herd and put down roots, the importance of the harvest became a matter of life and death and in many countries communities would come together to celebrate a good crop.

Saxons in Northern Europe would hold a gathering after the harvest had been collected and offer the first sheaf of barley, oats, or wheat to fertility gods. The last sheaf was kept over the winter and returned to the soil with the new seeds the following year. You can find similar rituals in earlier Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures.

Thanksgiving Day in the United States is perhaps the most famous such celebration, dating back 400 years this November.

Edward Winslow, one of the pilgrims who travelled on the Mayflower, wrote an account of this first Thanksgiving in 1621 describing how wild fowl was gathered for the meal. Written accounts also tell of the sweet berries used to accompany the meat. That custom of turkey with cranberry sauce lives on with the national Thanksgiving Day holiday held on the fourth Thursday of every November.

But 20 years before the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock an event took place in Texas in what that state now recognises as the first thanksgiving dinner.

After a 50 day northern trek across the desert of central Mexico an exploration led by Juan de Oñate finally arrived on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Many of the original party had perished in the burning heat and the final five days were completed without water before the glistening waters came in to view and  offered salvation.

Ten days later Onate invited the local Manos tribe to join them in a magnificent feast that began a fusion of the cultures of Texas and Mexico.

Our foods embrace the true spirit of ‘Tex-Mex’ combining the traditional Mexican flavours such as jalapeno, chipotle and lime together with the more American smoked pulled meats, BBQ and spicy buffalo.

It’s perfect for this Thanksgiving Day, not that it is technically our celebration, although if you consider the first settlers to the good old US of A came from these good shores of ours, then there’s no reason you can’t mark it – especially when the centrepiece is food!

About Sean Flint
Development & Innovation Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.