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The Universal Cake
by Jan Sand
2007-11-22 09:59:12
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My mother was a great cook. I grew up during the depression in New York but food in the USA has always been cheap and my mother was always trying new things. We had regular days of pasta or inexpensive cheese dishes but they always tasted good and it never struck me then that my mother served them to save money.

When my mother cooked she always asked my brother and me to participate and over time there was never any mystery about how to cook. It was just as important to know how to cook as to know how to tie shoelaces and we got pretty professional in both.

Although nobody in the family paid much attention to religion except to wonder why people bothered with it both my parents came from Jewish traditions and my mother's favorite cookbook was "The Settlement House Cookbook" authored by Mrs. Simon Kander who provided a wealth of Jewish recipes. The edition my mother used had a white oilcloth cover with a large heart outlined on the cover and a parade of children in chef costumes marching into the heart. Underneath it quoted the saying "The way to a man's heart".

Cooking is never a problem as you can throw in whatever you like and mostly whatever results usually tastes good. Once I tried scrambled eggs with walnuts and frankly I never tried that again. The basic cooking processes, boiling, broiling, grilling, poaching, frying are easy and in no time you can see what works and how long it should take. By the time I was five I was making pancakes for the family with no supervision.

Another family tradition was to visit, once every couple of weeks, different types of restaurants which were much more affordable in those days. In that way we tasted Chinese, Italian, French, Armenian, Turkish food. One of the critical skills in cooking is to know what tastes good and after each visit my mother would prepare similar dishes at home to make it regular fare.

But baking is something else again.

My mother did a lot of baking, decorated birthday cakes, Christmas cookies, cupcakes, yeast cinnamon buns, etc. but there are much tighter restrictions on the recipes when baking and the wrong variable in either the ingredients or the process can result in a failure. While she was alive, I helped her in the process but she was in charge for the entire process. In the early years there were no electric mixers or refrigerators. We mixed with a wooden spoon and the iceman came and left a block of ice every couple of days.

After she died I started to do the whole thing myself. Even then I was very careful to follow the recipes carefully and usually everything worked out OK. For years afterwards I kept close to the printed recipes but finally I got the nerve to experiment.

There was one recipe from "The Settlement House Cookbook" for a cake called Blitzkuchen which was a very simple, very quick. The basics of most cake recipes is to start with a sugar and butter or margarine mix, add an egg or two and beat, then add flour and baking powder alternately with the liquid making sure the mix is thorough with each addition so that the liquid or the flour never meet directly but only contact the general mixture. If the flour and the liquid meet directly the cake gets lumpy.

To make Blitzkuchen, thoroughly mix, in a large bowl, 125 gms (1/4 pound) butter or margarine with 1 cup of sugar. Add two eggs and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl mix two cups (1/2 liter) flour with two teaspoons of baking powder. Add this dry mixture alternately with 1 cup (1/4 liter) of milk. That's the basic recipe and it should take about 15 minutes to make. For flavor you can add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon or the grated rind of one lemon or a few drops of almond flavoring or any combination of these. You can also add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in the milk for another variation.

To bake you should cut a piece of baking paper to fit the bottom of the baking pan and strips to cover the inside of the side. Paint the inside of the baking pan with melted margarine or butter using a pastry brush. Then insert the pieces of baking paper and paint the inner surfaces of the paper with margarine or butter. Then put in the cake batter and bake in the oven at 180 C (350 F) for about 45 minutes. The cake is done when a cake tester or a clean knife inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the pan and leave it on a cake cooler to cool before frosting.

The simplest frosting is a butter frosting. A lump of margarine or butter is mixed with an electric mixer with about I cup of confectioner's sugar. Add the juice of ½ lemon or a couple of tablespoons of coffee or a tablespoon of cocoa or a couple of tablespoons of vermouth or rum for flavor. If it's too dry, add more liquid. If too wet add more sugar. It's a very flexible recipe. When it's ready use a spatula to apply it to the cooled cake. You can add raisins or nuts or dried fruit to the frosting but fresh fruit must be added carefully as too much liquid makes the frosting runny.

I call this cake universal because it can be easily modified for different types of cake. Nuts or ground cloves or frozen blueberries or chunks of pineapple or frozen strawberries or chopped prunes or raisins or chunks of semi-sweet chocolate can be added to the batter to make variations. To make it into a chocolate cake just add about a half cup of cocoa. Instant coffee and cinnamon go well with the chocolate cake. To make a marble cake add ¼ cup of cocoa to half the batter and alternately spoon the chocolate and the white batter into the baking pan before baking. You can also use the batter to make cupcakes. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers and put a heaping tablespoon of batter into each cupcake paper. You can sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on top and then a teaspoon of melted margarine. It's good also to push a quarter slice of plum or a frozen raspberry or strawberry into the batter before baking.

Use your imagination and combine all sorts of stuff to your own taste. You have nothing to lose but your waistline.

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Get it off your chest
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Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 12:43:20
Canada's Ottawa Citizen newspaper recently printed a recipe for Chanterelle Lemon Pasta in its food section, calling for one cup of Chanterelle mushrooms. They even provided a helpful photograph so amateur mushroom hounds could find their own growing in the wild. Unfortunately, the photograph instead showed Destroying Angels, which are deadly when eaten...

Moral of the story? Religion is poison and it should never be mixed with cooking: Christian recipies, Christmas cookies, Jewish recipies, kosher food, Moslem recipies, Hindu recipies, destroying angels, devil's salsa, they all violate the strict separation of religion and cooking and should all be outlawed thus assuring domestic tranquillity and Shalom!

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 12:51:17
P.S. Not to speak of proper digestion and defecation.

Sand2007-11-22 13:47:55
Even the most innocent submission seems to very quickly evoke your monstrous stupidity and nastiness. But, if you're stuck with a one dimensional personality, it's you that has to live with it and can only bring out my compassionate hope some medication might become effective.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 15:01:21

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 15:31:19
P.S. And of course:


P.S.S. Oops, did I just mix religion and food? Apoogies proffered.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 15:35:47
P.S.to P.S.S. There is a typo in the above: "apoogies" should be "apologies."

Sand2007-11-22 15:57:56
Not to worry. I'm fully aware your spelling capabilities are on a par with your other mental capabilities.

Jack2007-11-22 17:15:34
You must be grateful for a mother that took the time to add TLC into her ingredients. It seems to me you had a special relationship with her. The greatest ingredient you listed is "imagination". This is what makes anything sweeter and if the "little helper" contributes, it makes it all the more special.

When most of my children were little (now have grandchildren) they were absolutely thrilled when they participated. They had ownership with the final product, and even as the likely risk of it taking longer and being a bigger clean-up project, I and they would not have changed a thing.

Thanks for bringing back most pleasant memories of when I had the pleasure of being the recipient and the contributor of "kissing the cook". Those were the sweetest confectionaires one could ever taste.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 18:26:03

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 18:53:24
Today being Thankgiving in America, what follows for the Ovi readers' consideration (be they "enlightened" or not...) is a schematic rendition of the nexus between religion and food:

Type of religion Practice or restriction Rationale
Buddhism • Refrain from meat, vegetarian diet is desirable • Moderation in all foods • Fasting required of monks • Natural foods of the earth are considered most pure • Monks avoid all solid food after noon
Eastern Orthodox Christianity • Restrictions on Meat and Fish • Fasting Selectively • Observance of Holy Days includes fasting and restrictions to increase spiritual progress
Hinduism • Beef prohibited • All other meat and fish restricted or avoided • Alcohol avoided • Numerous fasting days • Cow is sacred and can't be eaten, but products of the "sacred" cow are pure and desirable • Fasting promotes spiritual growth
Islam • Pork and certain birds prohibited • Alcohol prohibited • Coffee/tea/stimulants avoided • Fasting from all food and drink during specific periods • Eating is for good health • Failure to eat correctly minimizes spiritual awareness • Fasting has a cleansing effect of evil elements
(continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 18:54:55
Judaism • Pork and shellfish prohibited • Meat and dairy at same meal prohibited • Leavened food restricted • Fasting practiced • Land animals that do not have cloven hooves and that do not chew their cud are forbidden as unclean (e.g., hare, pig, camel) • Kosher process is based upon the Torah
Mormonism • Alcohol and beverages containing caffeine prohibited • Moderation in all foods • Fasting practiced • Caffeine is addictive and leads to poor physical and emotional health • Fasting is the discipline of self-control and honoring to God
Protestants • Few restrictions of food or fasting observations • Moderation in eating, drinking, and exercise is promoted • God made all animal and natural products for humans' enjoyment • Gluttony and drunkenness are sins to be controlled
Rastafarianism • Meat and fish restricted • Vegetarian diets only, with salts, preservatives, and condiments prohibited • Herbal drinks permitted; alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks prohibited • Marijuana used extensively for religious and medicinal purposes • Pigs and shellfish are scavengers and are unclean • Foods grown with chemicals are unnatural and prohibited • Biblical texts support use of herbs (marijuana and other herbs)
Roman Catholicism • Meat restricted on certain days • Fasting practiced • Restrictions are consistent with specified days of the church year
Seventh-day Adventist • Pork prohibited and meat and fish avoided • Vegetarian diet is encouraged • Alcohol, coffee, and tea prohibited • Diet satisfies practice to "honor and glorify God

Sand2007-11-22 20:45:21
I wonder what all this information about the ridiculous acceptances and prohibitions of various foods by religious organizations has to do with the simple baking of a cake.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 21:58:33
"Although nobody in the family paid much attention to religion except to wonder why people bothered with it both my parents came from Jewish traditions... My mother did a lot of baking, decorated birthday cakes, Christmas cookies,..."

Those are your statements, not mine, and whether written consciously or unconsciously they reveal that there is more than meets the eyes behind that simple baking of a universal or particular cake, as the case may be. So, I remain curious: were the Christ-mas cookies made to celebrate or to protest some event, or help others celebrate the event perhaps? Is the universal cake meant to substitute the cooking of the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving Day? Did the Jewish recipies of Mrs. Kander contain Kosher food too or was it purged of all that nonsense? In reality kosher is far from being nonsense and goes a long way in promoting health. But as a Jew you surely know that. Shalom.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-22 22:05:43
P.S. Are you eating turkey today? Be that as it may: happy Thanks-giving. There are many things we can all be thankful for... St. Francis of Assisi and the poet Rumi began with being thankful for the beauty of nature. A good place to begin; wouldn't you say? Shalom.

Sand2007-11-22 22:30:36
I wondered which toe I had stepped on. The fact that my ancestors may or may not have participated in the Jewish religion had no more effect on my religious association than if somewhere in my ancestry individuals had worshiped the Sun or had been cannibals and eaten neighboring tribes. I am neither ashamed nor proud of whatever foolishness possessed my past relations and religion, whatever you or the Nazis or the Israelis may have thought, is not part of genetic makeup. Whatever its origins, Christmas is no longer an exclusively religious holiday and the traditions of trees, gifts, various cooking traditions etc have had origins outside of Christianity and it is, far more than anything else, a commercial celebration that gives a decided positive jolt to the economy. The Christmas cookies were made to celebrate a skill at baking and delight in eating and Jesus was totally irrelevant in our family and demanded no thought whatsoever from our family delight in kitchen skills. The idiocies of Kosher never were paid any attention to and, before I gave up meat because I began to see how horribly cruel the meat industry must be, pork and other non Kosher food was eaten regularly and with enthusiasm. Both my parents were atheists and neither encouraged nor discouraged any feelings I had for religion because the whole business, when it was discussed was seen as an obvious silly delusion of people with little understanding of concrete reality.

Sand2007-11-22 22:40:17
I had heard that St. Francis preached to the birds. Was that before he killed and ate them? One cannot, of course, take such legends seriously but religion does encourage people to do batty things. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Finland.
Although it seems likely nothing can cause movement in your petrified brain it might be useful for you to read how the Christians really behaved towards Native Americans at the time of the inception of Thanksgiving.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-23 02:57:19

Sand2007-11-23 07:06:14
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-23 10:59:23
...A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

--Pete Seeger

Sand2007-11-23 11:18:07
Although Tolstoy amongst others noted you cannot kill an idea some ideas deserve a vigorous tussle. Peace can leave room for other productive things but when dragons stalk the land a proper response is demanded. Whatever my Jewish ancestry, perhaps back a bit further may be a velociraptor with the determination to subdue false beliefs.

Sand2007-11-23 13:45:18
I have discovered that my Thanksgiving reference is ineffective. It is important historical material. I must submit it in sections as it is long.

November 22, 2007
The Myth of Thanksgiving
Native Blood
It is a deep thing that people still celebrate the survival of the early colonists at Plymouth -- by giving thanks to the Christian God who supposedly protected and championed the European invasion. The real meaning of all that, then and now, needs to be continually excavated. The myths and lies that surround the past are constantly draped over the horrors and tortures of our present.
I originally wrote this article a decade ago, and it has showed up in different places and publications usually around the holiday. Pass it on.
Every schoolchild in the U.S. has been taught that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony invited the local Indians to a major harvest feast after surviving their first bitter year in New England. But the real history of Thanksgiving is a story of the murder of indigenous people and the theft of their land by European colonialists--and of the ruthless ways of capitalism.
* * * * *
In mid-winter 1620 the English ship Mayflower landed on the North American coast, delivering 102 Puritan exiles. The original Native people of this stretch of shoreline had already been killed off. In 1614 a British expedition had landed there. When they left they took 24 Indians as slaves and left smallpox behind. Three years of plague wiped out between 90 and 96 percent of the inhabitants of the coast, destroying most villages completely.
The Puritans landed and built their colony called "the Plymouth Plantation" near the deserted ruins of the Indian village of Pawtuxet. They ate from abandoned cornfields grown wild. Only one Pawtuxet named Squanto had survived--he had spent the last years as a slave to the English and Spanish in Europe. Squanto spoke the colonists' language and taught them how to plant corn and how to catch fish until the first harvest. Squanto also helped the colonists negotiate a peace treaty with the nearby Wampanoag tribe, led by the chief Massasoit.
These were very lucky breaks for the colonists. The first Virginia settlement had been wiped out before they could establish themselves. Thanks to the good will of the

Sand2007-11-23 13:50:10
first year but had an alliance with the Wampanoags that would give them almost two decades of peace.
John Winthrop, a founder of the Massahusetts Bay colony considered this wave of illness and death to be a divine miracle. He wrote to a friend in England, "But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection."
The deadly impact of European diseases and the good will of the Wampanoag allowed the Puritans to survive their first year.
In celebration of their good fortune, the colony's governor, William Bradford, declared a three-day feast of thanksgiving after that first harvest of 1621.
How the Puritans Stole the Land
But the peace that produced the Thanksgiving Feast of 1621 meant that the Puritans would have 15 years to establish a firm foothold on the coast. Until 1629 there were no more than 300 Puritans in New England, scattered in small and isolated settlements. But their survival inspired a wave of Puritan invasion that soon established growing Massachusetts towns north of Plymouth: Boston and Salem. For 10 years, boatloads of new settlers came.
And as the number of Europeans increased, they proved not nearly so generous as the Wampanoags.
On arrival, the Puritans discussed "who legally owns all this land." They had to decide this, not just because of Anglo-Saxon traditions, but because their particular way of farming was based on individual--not communal or tribal--ownership. This debate over land ownership reveals that bourgeois "rule of law" does not mean "protect the rights of the masses of people."
Some Puritans argued that the land belonged to the Indians. These forces were excommunicated and expelled. Massachusetts Governor Winthrop declared the Indians had not "subdued" the land, and therefore all uncultivated lands should, according to English Common Law, be considered "public domain." This meant they belonged to the king. In short, the colonists decided they did not need to consult the Indians when they seized new lands, they only had to consult the representative of the crown (meaning the local governor).
The Puritans embraced a line from Psalms 2:8. "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Since then, European settler states have similarly declared god their real estate agent: from the Boers seizing South Africa to the Zionists seizing Palestine.
The European immigrants took land and enslaved Indians to help them farm it. By 1637 there were about 2,000 British settlers. They pushed out from the coast and d.

Sand2007-11-23 13:51:41
The Shining City on the Hill
Where did the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies of Puritan pilgrims come from and what were they really all about?
Governor Winthrop, a founder of the Massachusetts colony, said, "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." The Mayflower Puritans had been driven out of England as subversives. The Puritans saw this religious colony as a model of a social and political order that they believed all of Europe should adopt.
The Puritan movement was part of a sweeping revolt within English society against the ruling feudal order of wealthy lords. Only a few decades after the establishment of Plymouth, the Puritan Revolution came to power in England. They killed the king, won a civil war, set up a short-lived republic, and brutally conquered the neighboring people of Ireland to create a larger national market.
The famous Puritan intolerance was part of a determined attempt to challenge the decadence and wastefulness of the rich aristocratic landlords of England. The Puritans wanted to use the power of state punishment to uproot old and still dominant ways of thinking and behaving.
The new ideas of the Puritans served the needs of merchant capitalist accumulation. The extreme discipline, thrift and modesty the Puritans demanded of each other corresponded to a new and emerging form of ownership and production. Their so-called "Protestant Ethic" was an early form of the capitalist ethic. From the beginning, the Puritan colonies intended to grow through capitalist trade--trading fish and fur with England while they traded pots, knives, axes, alcohol and other English goods with the Indians.
The Puritan colonies were ruled by a government in which only the male heads of families had a voice. Women, Indians, slaves, servants, youth were neither heard nor represented. In the Puritan schoolbooks, the old law "honor thy father and thy mother" was interpreted to mean honoring "All our Superiors, whether in Family, School, Church, and Commonwealth." And, the real truth was that the colonies were fundamentally controlled by the most powerful merchants.
The Puritan fathers believed they were the Chosen People of an infinite god and that this justified anything they did. They were Calvinists who believed that the vast majority of humanity was predestined to damnation. This meant that while they were firm in fighting for their own capitalist right to accumulate and prosper, they were quick to oppress the masses of people in Ireland, Scotland and North America, once they seized the power to set up their new bourgeois order. Those who rejected the narrow religious rules of the colonies were often simply expelled "out into the wilderness."
The Massachusetts colony (north of Plymouth) was founded when Puritan stockholders had gotten control of an English trading company. The king had given this company the right to govern its own internal affairs, and in 1629 the stockholders simply voted to transfer the company to North American shores--making this colony literally a self-governing company of stockholders!

Sand2007-11-23 13:53:43
In U.S. schools, students are taught that the Mayflower compact of Plymouth contained the seeds of "modern democracy" and "rule of law." But by looking at the actual history of the Puritans, we can see that this so-called "modern democracy" was (and still is) a capitalist democracy based on all kinds of oppression and serving the class interests of the ruling capitalists.
In short, the Puritan movement developed as an early revolutionary challenge to the old feudal order in England. They were the soul of primitive capitalist accumulation. And transferred to the shores of North America, they immediately revealed how heartless and oppressive that capitalist soul is.

The Birth of "The American Way of War"
In the Connecticut Valley, the powerful Pequot tribe had not entered an alliance with the British (as had the Narragansett, the Wampanoag, and the Massachusetts peoples). At first they were far from the centers of colonization. Then, in 1633, the British stole the land where the city of Hartford now sits--land which the Pequot had recently conquered from another tribe. That same year two British slave raiders were killed. The colonists demanded that the Indians who killed the slavers be turned over. The Pequot refused.
The Puritan preachers said, from Romans 13:2, "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." The colonial governments gathered an armed force of 240 under the command of John Mason. They were joined by a thousand Narragansett warriors. The historian Francis Jennings writes: "Mason proposed to avoid attacking Pequot warriors which would have overtaxed his unseasoned, unreliable troops. Battle, as such, was not his purpose. Battle is only one of the ways to destroy an enemy's will to fight. Massacre can accomplish the same end with less risk, and Mason had determined that massacre would be his objective."
The colonist army surrounded a fortified Pequot village on the Mystic River. At sunrise, as the inhabitants slept, the Puritan soldiers set the village on fire.
William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth, wrote: "Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire...horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them."
Mason himself wrote: "It may be demanded...Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But...sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents.... We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings."
Three hundred and fifty years later the Puritan phrase "a shining city on the hill" became a favorite quote of conservative speechwriters.

Sand2007-11-23 13:55:54
Discovering the Profits of Slavery
This so-called "Pequot war" was a one-sided murder and slaving expedition. Over 180 captives were taken. After consulting the bible again, in Leviticus 24:44, the colonial authorities found justification to kill most of the Pequot men and enslave the captured women and their children. Only 500 Pequot remained alive and free. In 1975 the official number of Pequot living in Connecticut was 21.
Some of the war captives were given to the Narragansett and Massachusetts allies of the British. Even before the arrival of Europeans, Native peoples of North America had widely practiced taking war captives from other tribes as hostages and slaves.
The remaining captives were sold to British plantation colonies in the West Indies to be worked to death in a new form of slavery that served the emerging capitalist world market. And with that, the merchants of Boston made a historic discovery: the profits they made from the sale of human beings virtually paid for the cost of seizing them.
One account says that enslaving Indians quickly became a "mania with speculators." These early merchant capitalists of Massachusetts started to make genocide pay for itself. The slave trade, first in captured Indians and soon in kidnapped Africans, quickly became a backbone of New England merchant capitalism.

Thanksgiving in the Manhattan Colony
In 1641 the Dutch governor Kieft of Manhattan offered the first "scalp bounty"--his government paid money for the scalp of each Indian brought to them. A couple years later, Kieft ordered the massacre of the Wappingers, a friendly tribe. Eighty were killed and their severed heads were kicked like soccer balls down the streets of Manhattan. One captive was castrated, skinned alive and forced to eat his own flesh while the Dutch governor watched and laughed. Then Kieft hired the notorious Underhill who had commanded in the Pequot war to carry out a similar massacre near Stamford, Connecticut. The village was set fire, and 500 Indian residents were put to the sword.
A day of thanksgiving was proclaimed in the churches of Manhattan. As we will see, the European colonists declared Thanksgiving Days to celebrate mass murder more often than they did for harvest and friendship.
The Conquest of New England
By the 1670s there were about 30,000 to 40,000 white inhabitants in the United New England Colonies--6,000 to 8,000 able to bear arms. With the Pequot destroyed, the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonists turned on the Wampanoag, the tribe that had saved them in 1620 and probably joined them for the original Thanksgiving Day.
In 1675 a Christian Wampanoag was killed while spying for the Puritans. The Plymouth authorities arrested and executed three Wampanoag without consulting the tribal chief, King Philip.

Sand2007-11-23 13:57:46
As Mao Tsetung says: "Where there is oppression there is resistance." The Wampanoag went to war.
The Indians applied some military lessons they had learned: they waged a guerrilla war which overran isolated European settlements and were often able to inflict casualties on the Puritan soldiers. The colonists again attacked and massacred the main Indian populations.
When this war ended, 600 European men, one-eleventh of the adult men of the New England Colonies, had been killed in battle. Hundreds of homes and 13 settlements had been wiped out. But the colonists won.
In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The "Praying Indians" who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with "hostiles." They were enslaved or killed. Other "peaceful" Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts--and were sold onto slave ships.
It is not known how many Indians were sold into slavery, but in this campaign, 500 enslaved Indians were shipped from Plymouth alone. Of the 12,000 Indians in the surrounding tribes, probably about half died from battle, massacre and starvation.
After King Philip's War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan's New York colony: "There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts."
In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a "day of public thanksgiving" in 1676, saying, "there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled."
Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.
The descendants of these Native peoples are found wherever the Puritan merchant capitalists found markets for slaves: the West Indies, the Azures, Algiers, Spain and England. The grandson of Massasoit, the Pilgrim's original protector, was sold into slavery in Bermuda.
Runaways and Rebels
But even the destruction of Indian tribal life and the enslavement of survivors brought no peace. Indians continued to resist in every available way. Their oppressors lived in terror of a revolt. And they searched for ways to end the resistance. The historian MacLeod writes: "The first `reservations' were designed fo

Sand2007-11-23 14:00:20
the `wild' Irish of Ulster in 1609. And the first Indian reservation agent in America, Gookin of Massachusetts, like many other American immigrants had seen service in Ireland under Cromwell."
The enslaved Indians refused to work and ran away. The Massachusetts government tried to control runaways by marking enslaved Indians: brands were burnt into their skin, and symbols were tattooed into their foreheads and cheeks.
A Massachusetts law of 1695 gave colonists permission to kill Indians at will, declaring it was "lawful for any person, whether English or Indian, that shall find any Indians traveling or skulking in any of the towns or roads (within specified limits), to command them under their guard and examination, or to kill them as they may or can."
The northern colonists enacted more and more laws for controlling the people. A law in Albany forbade any African or Indian slave from driving a cart within the city. Curfews were set up; Africans and Indians were forbidden to have evening get-togethers. On Block Island, Indians were given 10 lashes for being out after nine o'clock. In 1692 Massachusetts made it a serious crime for any white person to marry an African, an Indian or a mulatto. In 1706 they tried to stop the importation of Indian slaves from other colonies, fearing a slave revolt.
Looking at this history raises a question: Why should anyone celebrate the survival of the earliest Puritans with a Thanksgiving Day? Certainly the Native peoples of those times had no reason to celebrate.
A little known fact: Squanto, the so-called "hero" of the original Thanksgiving Day, was executed by the Indians for his treacheries.
But the ruling powers of the United States organized people to celebrate Thanksgiving Day because it is in their interest. That's why they created it. The first national celebration of Thanksgiving was called for by George Washington. And the celebration was made a regular legal holiday later by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war (right as he sent troops to suppress the Sioux of Minnesota).
Washington and Lincoln were two presidents deeply involved in trying to forge a unified bourgeois nation-state out of the European settlers in the United States. And the Thanksgiving story was a useful myth in their efforts at U.S. nation-building. It celebrates the "bounty of the American way of life," while covering up the brutal nature of this society.
Previous pieces by Mike Ely here at Counterpunch included the stories and experiences of immigrant strikers at the Smithfield pork plant in North Carolina. Email: m1keely (at) yahoo.com

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-23 14:25:54
It can be reasonably assumed that this indeed was the real agenda behind “the universal cake,” de debunking of the religious aspect of Thanksgiving. Jung and Dostoyevsky had it on target: those who reject the world of the spirit will invariably end up transferring their internal dragons exteriorly and create a world of strife and stridency. Without copying their entire texts here see “The Possessed” by D. and “Modern Man in Search of a Soul” by J. Shalom.

Sand2007-11-23 14:48:40
One judges the character of others by one's own. I submitted the article purely on the basis of encouraging people to experiment in the kitchen. The reference to my parents' ancestry was a mere side mention of no real consequence to me or to the main thrust of the article. But Paparella, eager to leap onto his favorite hobby horse, dumped huge amounts of religious data of no relevance and twisted the discussion in that direction. That I replied in like manner seems to have disquieted him. So be it. The Pilgrims were irretrievable Christian and the historical message of their behavior is obvious.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-24 03:20:03
Indeed, Jung called it "projection" and Cicero "argumentum ad hominem." Both are destructive of any kind of intellectually honest operation. A much more challenging but more fruitful approach is that of trying to really understand an opposite viewpoint beyond immature caricatures and biased ideological stances. Even more challenging is that of corageously synthesizing what at first glance may appear as a dualism, such as art/science, theology/science, humanism/political science. All great minds have engaged in that kind of synthesis while puny minds shun from it. For example, to understand the mind-set of the Puritans who indeed shape the political character of the US one has at the very least study Calvinism and its theology. When one has understood that theology then one can take an unbiased approach toward the Puritanism and perhaps challenge it and reject it without being unfair and biased. There is an enormous difference between a publication dedicate to peddling its own pet ideology (rationalism, or Marxism, or religion bashing)and one that attempts to bridges dicothomies such as religion/science. An example of the latter is the Metanexus Institute and its publication organ: The Global Spiral. I attach a link below to let intelligent unbiased readers judge for themselves. There are hundreds of well researched articles listed, almost any will do to prove the point.


Sand2007-11-24 06:03:31
Rest assured, Paparella, I did not expect you to reject Christianity in an epiphany over my information that Christians regularly behave horribly towards each other and the rest of humanity by warping their dogma to conform to their baser attitudes. I am well aware that whatever brainwashing you have undergone has thoroughly scrubbed away any capacity for you to acknowledge that two thousand years have well established that a very large percentage of the miseries of the world have been justified by Christian scholars who are adept at brown nosing their masters. After all, although they cannot look forward to seventeen virgins, they seem to derive some sort of artistic pleasure at the anticipation of wearing white mother hubbards and singing in chorus while God strums a banjo and St. Peter does a buck and wing.

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