It was on this day in 1914, that the last known Passenger pigeon on earth—a female named Martha—died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. A staple food of Eastern Native American Indian groups like the Seneca who called them, jahgowa, meaning “big bread,” Passenger Pigeons could be found in such vast numbers that their flocks blackened the sky. After the arrival of Europeans, this tasty and plentiful bird—eaten at the first Thanksgiving—was eventually hunted out of existence. While newspapers from 1890 were giving tips on the best way to hunt these Native North American birds, by 1910 the same newspapers were offering huge cash rewards for anyone who spotted a bird, or nest, or egg. Witnessing the careless and sometimes sadistic methods used to massacre whole flocks, Chief Simon Pokagon of the Potawatomi, lamented, “our white neighbors …have so wantonly butchered and driven from our forests...the most beautiful flowers of the animal creation of North America.” It is in honor of Americans and our insatiable and sometimes destructive appetites—that we are dedicating today's episode... FOOD!
Tuesday, September 1, 2020