Friday, November 19, 2010

Pilgrim Switchel

We first discovered Switchel when my daughter, Miss Whimsy, was in elementary school. I was her homeroom mother, as usual, and I was in charge of the Thanksgiving party for her class, as usual.

Have I mentioned that I love Thanksgiving?  And that it’s my favorite holiday of the year?   And that I have an unnatural Pilgrim obsession?

Yes, I think I have.

You can imagine how jazzed I was to discover that the husband and therefore daughters are direct descendants of Governor William Bradford. It’s true. In fact, into his line of the family was passed the Geneva Bible which Bradford carried across the ocean on the famed voyage. It was long ago donated to the museum at Plymouth.

That man of mine is the gift that keeps on giving...

One of our favorite family vacations included a trip to Plymouth (Plimoth) Plantation.

You see, we’re one of  *those* families whose idea of a vacation is to haul our kids to historical sites. You know the type.

We’ve thrown the tea
 into Boston Harbor
 and rabble roused
 with the Sons of Liberty.
We’ve given the “huzzah”
to Patrick Henry at Williamsburg
 and danced with Cherokees
in North Carolina.
 We bought poke bonnets
 at Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Home
 and coonskin caps
on a mountaintop in Tennessee.

According to my girls, we’ve visited every log cabin  east of the Mississippi. They inherited their Smarty Pants from that Bradford side of the family...

But of all places, my favorite was Plymouth Plantation. The characters at Plymouth have so studied their roles that they literally become the figures in question. That’s the reason we don’t have photos of the girls posing with them a la Disney World. They have no clue as to the purpose of a shiny red Kodak.

It was at Plymouth that I purchased that cookbook
 full of recipes and tidbits.

This introduction cracks me up.
Click to enlarge.

In it, I found the recipe for Switchel. It's a drink of ginger water which they believed to be safer to drink than plain water in the hot sun.  We first made it as part of that aforementioned party for little Pilgrims and Indians to sample and take home.

It’s a fun Thanksgiving activity and pretty tasty too.

But wait… there’s more.

Quite by accident, we discovered that year that Switchel is also a miraculous cure for a sore throat. I guess it’s the honey and vinegar in it, but it not only soothes the sore throat, it eliminates it completely, stopping any further advance of other cold symptoms in their tracks as well. Seriously. 

I made some this morning. You see, while his family passes down Bibles and Smarty Pants, mine just passes down colds.

So there ya go. How I managed to evolve from travel reporter to tidbit teller to snake oil salesman all in one post, I do not know. 

All I really wanted to do was share this recipe for
 Pilgrim Switchel
(I halved it.)

2 quarts water
1/2 cups molasses (We use honey)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. ginger


Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Love that your husband and children can trace family back so history is fascinating to me. I'm bettin' yours has passed on a lot more than colds :))

Kathleen said...

I loved reading this. Sounds like your husband and therefore daughters are practically royalty! Thanks for the recipe, my husband seems to have a permanent sore throat these days (been to doctor etc but no miracle cure available)so I'm going to copy your recipe and he can give it a try. Thank you. Also, love that expression, "gravy on the taters!. I'll have to remember that one. TTFN.

Kelli said...

We have been studying about William Bradford this week and I love your story. I will share it with my kids!! They will say, "Are you kidding me?" and I'll have to say "No way!" Can't wait to try this concoction next time I feel the infamous sore throat tickle!!

FrouFrouBritches said...

All of the places you listed are places I'm dying to go!!! I love touring historic places. I hate studying history, but I am fascinated by how people used to live. LOVE IT!

My oldest woke me up in the middle of the night with a stopped up nose. I might ought to make a batch of this and see if it cures her!


What great vacations you've had with your kids. Things they will always remember. Thanks for the recipe. We all need a little switchel now and then.
Have a great day!
~ Julie

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

I love your creative and funny way you write my friend. I also am going to try the recipe. My allergies make my throat feel like sand paper.
Thanks for sharing.

Sonja said...

you make me smile, laugh out loud and think... all good things!!

The 'smarty pants' reference cracked me up... honestly, you are sounding like me on that one!

Wonderful, historical things you've chosen to do with your children... things they will value and want to repeat with their own.

Sarah said...

What a wonderful heritage! Thanks for the switchel recipe. ;-)
Happy Turkey Day!

Denise said...

Well Deb, or should I say Priscilla, I'm sure the Duchess appreciated the switchel you brought her for her cold. If only she'll TRY it so she would feel better!!

Such fond memories of our wonderful vacations we have shared. I only hope our daughters will carry on the historical vacation passion we inherited from our parents. (See we do pass down something besides colds).

I really think we SHOULD be able to trace our family back to those Mayflower folks. You've only got about 10 years to find, don't you? Then perhaps you could really be Priscilla!

Chatty Crone said...

What great times you have had. I love this kind of American History. My GS is studying it in school too. Happy Thanksgiving. Sandie

Sharon Kirby said...

OK, comments, here ya go:

1) Not sure that any of my relatives came over on the Mayflower, but Bradford is the boys' dad's first name.

2) The pilgrim play-actors look kinda glum. Maybe it's better they don't know about photography...just sayin'

3) I don't cook much - does that mean that I have no judgment? Or because I don't have judgment - is that why I don't cook? I'm confused...

4) Switchel - never heard of it. But, also heard of another good cure for a sore throat - I think it's called moonshine - (TOTALLY kidding!)

5) My family just passes on intelligence and good looks - MY side - (Again, TOTALLY kidding - well, maybe not!)

Love your weird pilgrim fixation - Can just picture you in a little black-and-white ensemble. And some good, sensible, buckled shoes...


bj said...

O, thanks so much for the recipe.
Have a really great Thanksgiving.

Mary said...

I'm still chuckling at "while his family passes down Bibles and Smarty Pants, mine just passes down colds"! Loved this post and the introduction to the cookbook! Hope you & your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving Pilgrim-style :-)

Sue said...

Oh! Debbie you have such a fun way of teaching us, and I learn so much, no wonder you are so loved by those precious children you teach. What a joy to know you. I love this recipe for sore throats.
I did enjoy reading the intro. to the book, it sounds like a fun cookbook to read. As always I leave so blessed, enjoy this most thankful season with your family.

Angel said...

I think I would fit nicely into your family. I also happen to be one of those "weird" ones that loves to travel to historical sites. In fact, my husband still laughs that so many of our honeymoon photos are of cemetery visits. Can I help it that we went to New England and some of the greatest men and women in history are buried there?? You understand, I just couldn't resist paying a visit while we were in the area.

I haven't been to Plymouth but would love to go! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I can make that drink and pretend I'm a real pilgrim for Thanksgiving. :)

CAL said...

Hey this recipe is just in time for the cold/flu season - thanks!!

My ancestors came over on the 'boat' - I guess my hat style would be a babuska.

Ms.Daisy said...

I think we dragged our kids to every museum on the East Coast, not to mention old forts too! They do remember and talk about it now, though, so it couldn't have been all bad! LOL!
I hope you all have the most delicious Thanksgiving ever!


myletterstoemily said...

i just read your comment at sonja's, and it made me
laugh. once i had to pick up a gift at the jewelers,
and the salesman tried to show me some sparklies.

i said, "get behind me, satan." and he died
laughing, thank goodness.

Jennie said...

These sound like precisely the kinds of trips my dad would have *loved*, but that my mom would have, in her infinite power, vetoed. I love that you have a pilgrim obsession. It makes me feel less weird about some of my, umm, weird quirks. :) The recipe sounds intriguing, and given my passionate avoidance of doctors, I am going to keep this one in my back pocket! Thanks - and hope you have a *wonderful* Thanksgiving!

Lynn Richards said...

I have always heard boiling ginger root for a tea and adding honey is good for a sore throat. Now I'll just add vinegar!
Feel better!

Jennie said...

By the way - LOVE the quote you chose for this post.

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

I'm back home and my guy woke up with a sore throat this AM. I read your post and whipped this up and we are waiting now on results. Snake oil or not, we have faith in you! Thanks Debbie.

PS Does Debbie know she is a no-reply blogger? I would like to reply to her comments and can't. She may need an intervention!

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

Tired today...does Denise know????

Miss Merry said...

What a wonderful Thanksgiving post. I think we have similar parenting styles. Although we were not able to travel far with our children, we could always find a museum, or historic site or monument, or even an old cemetary to visit on our "one tank trips". I think it is wonderful to instill a sense of history in our children. It helps them to make better choices for all our future. And I love the "judgement" story!

Dayle said...

Debbie, I laughed out loud more than once. Always a good sign. :) Loved this post. The Man and I were at Plimoth Plantation (never did figure out why they spell it different there) last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Of course, we were alone. LOL! Had our daughter been along, she would probably have been whining. I had my picture taken right there on that main path. Loved the whole experience.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend! You are a blessing.

Miss Char said...

I have followed many of the same footsteps as you in visiting historical sites. One of my best stories was when a coworker called me with a problem and expected me to fix it by faxing some documents to a vendor, I informed him I was at the time being lodged in an Indiana teepee and they didn't have fax machines.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Debbie, your post is a fun one! While stuck in holiday traffic while passing through Dallas, I read it to my "captive" hubby and even got a couple of big smiles out of him. Thanks! Happy Favorite Holiday to you!

P.S. I echo the wish to communicate with Debbie. She's so kind go visit and comment, and on a few occasions I've wanted to comment back.
Many thanks to you both for so warmly welcoming me to Blogland!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh Debbie, it doesn't matter what you write about, I love to read it! You are so witty and your writing always entertains. I'll have to try your cold remedy the first time I get a cold. I think you must make everything so interesting for your family. laurie


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