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Want to add a whimsical touch to your Thanksgiving table? Enjoy carving jack-o-lanterns? This idea may be just right for you! Yes, folks, it's the Banana Squash Mayflower: a recreation of the famous vessel and its intrepid Pilgrim passengers, constructed entirely from winter squash and an assortment of other vegetable friends.

This centerpiece has it all -- A) a little humor, B) carving with a sharp knife to satisfy your crafting instincts and impress your friends and family, C) winter root vegetables, which evoke the seasonal and agrarian feel of Thanksgiving, all the while D) paying tribute to American history. I know I'm feeling thankful just thinking about it!

Squash Mayflower-assembly instructions and photos can be found on DIY Network's website. Let me boil it down to the essentials for you.

Step 1: Take a large banana squash and carve out a section in the middle. The squash is your Mayflower. The carved out section is the deck.


Step 2: Use a black marker pen to draw portholes and whatever else you desire on the sides of the "boat."

Step 3: Construct masts and sails. Insert three smallish wooden dowels into the boat and paste or tape little squares to them. These squares are the sails. They can be made from construction paper or whatever you have handy.

Step 4: Make little Pilgrims and Indians from butternut squash or other small gourds. Facial features can be drawn with marker pen or painted on. Clothes, black Pilgrim hats and Indian headdress can be drawn or painted on, too, or you can be creative about it. For example, how about using old dolls' clothes? Alternatively, if you are handy at sewing, perhaps make some little clothes from old scraps of material.

Two things I don't really get about the DIY Network instructions. First up is the dry ice. Good Lord. Don't we have enough to do on Thanksgiving Day without putting on a dry ice display?! Let's keep things simple, people. Second, what the heck is the broccoli for? Maybe they are the green, leafy veggies the little squash pilgrims brought with them on the Mayflower to prevent scurvy... Whatever. All I know is this: broccoli doth not an attractive centerpiece make. Not ever. Those gripes aside, this is a fun little project!

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