Giving Thanks to the French

There are at least a few items on your Thanksgiving table for which you can thank the French.

First, if you like to sip fermented apple juice, or cider, you should know it was brought to the Americas from Europe. In the early days of the colonies, it was drunk more than water because it was considered safer. How did it get here? Medieval Normans (the French) took cider with them across the English Channel, where it became a common drink. And then the people they conquered on their own quest for new lands brought it across the Atlantic.

Also, the marshmallows on your sweet potatoes reached their modern form in French candy shops in the early nineteenth century. French confectioners beat the roots of the marshmallow plant and mixed the sap with egg whites and sugar to make a gooey delight or “guimauve” in French. Gelatin, which was more widely available, replaced the marshmallow plant, and “marshmallows” were mass produced and popularized in North America.

Merci beaucoups!


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