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A little bit of this and that

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From Levy County Schools Food, Nutrition & Wellness Department

By Becky Tyson

Food, Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator

I spent my Labor Day weekend in Atlanta visiting my almost 108 year old grandmother and aunt who provides her care.  When asked what she attributes her long life to, she said “God, my parents, and family.”  I’ll add to that the healthy food she kept in her diet over the years! Grandma has always been a champion of a good breakfast which I prepare for her on my visits.  On this visit, I used duck eggs – a first for me, provided by my cousin who raises chickens and ducks.  I’m usually successful with my pancakes – but this time they were like Ellie May Clampett’s flapjacks – I’ll blame it on the duck eggs!

During my visit, Grandma shared a story about her grandfather, Thomas David Chivers Parfitt, who immigrated to the United States from Wales in May, 1887, at the age of 29.  He arrived at the Port of New York and petitioned the government to become a citizen of the United States.  One day, he decided to visit the produce market and happened upon a tomato.  Having never seen or tasted one before, he purchased one for his supper.  When he cut into it, he thought it was rotten because of its texture and seeds.  He felt this “fruit” (remember, we talked about this in a prior issue – tomatoes are a fruit!) should be like an apple or pear, firm – so he went back to the market and purchased another.  Coming back to his room, he once again cut into the tomato with the same results.  Now clearly frustrated, he returned to the market and relayed to them they had sold him rotten fruit.  The owner had to enlighten my great-great grandfather about the tomato, what to expect, and how it should be eaten and more importantly, it wasn’t rotten!

Before coming to the United States, young Thomas was put to work early in the coal mines of Colliery, England as a young child.  He tells the following story of an experience in his early childhood… “While living in Wales, I was in a mountainous section and used to think if I could only get to the top of the mountain near my home, I could see the end of everything.  One day, my father took me by the hand and told me we were going to climb the mountain.  Every step brought gladness to my heart as it brought me nearer to my goal.  Imagine my joy, when I neared the top, taking a tighter hold upon the hand of my father and saw not the end of everything as I supposed I would but had a vision of a larger and more beautiful world than I had ever dreamed possible.”

Did you know…  

Did you know that the first Thanksgiving was held in Florida and it was in September?  Florida actually hosted the first Thanksgiving more than 50 years before the famous Thanksgiving at Plymouth took place.

“When on Sept. 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his 800 Spanish settlers founded the settlement of St. Augustine in La Florida, the landing party celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving, and, afterward, Menéndez laid out a meal to which he invited as guests the native Seloy tribe who occupied the site.  

What was the meal that followed? Again we do not know.  But, from our knowledge of what the Spaniards had on board their five ships, we can surmise that it was cocido, a stew made from salted pork and garbanzo beans, laced with garlic seasoning, and accompanied by hard sea biscuits and red wine.  If it happened that the Seloy contributed to the meal from their own food stores, fresh or smoked, then the menu could have included as well: turkey, venison, and gopher tortoise; seafood such as mullet, rum, and sea catfish; maize (corn), beans, and squash.”  (By Michael Gannon, Ph.D. as published in the St. Augustine Catholic in 2002)

September is Awareness Month…  Stay in touch with your health by visiting Health Events and Observances at http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/september.html.