Monday, November 23, 2015

A 19th Century Thanksgiving menu

In prep for this Thanksgiving holiday. I thought some Thanksgiving tidbits from the 19th Century would be in order.
This tidbit comes from Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book and Household Physician. ©1887

Thanksgiving is almost here, and how shall we celebrate the day?, I for one believe in the old-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. The following bill of fare may be of use to some of your readers:
Oyster Soup. Celery, Pepper Sauce. Roast Turkey, with Currant Jelly. Baked Potatoes. Mashed Turnips. Roast Pig. Carrots with Cream. Baked Beans. Chopped Cabbage. Pumpkin Pie. Plum Pudding. Apples. Nuts. Cheese. Tea and Coffee.
For the table I prefer a white cloth with fancy border, and napkins to match. A dash of color livens up the table so, in the bleak November, when flowers cannot be had in profusion. Casters in the center, of course, flanked by tall celery glasses. At each end, glass fruit dishes filled with apples and nuts. A bottle of pepper sauce near the casters, and a mold of jelly by the platter of turkey, and small side dishes of chopped cabbage garnished with rings of cold : boiled eggs. The purple cabbage makes the handsomest-looking dishes. Serve the soup from tureens into soup dishes, handing around to the guests. After this comes the pi├Ęce de resistance, “Thanks iving turkey.” A piece of dark meat with a spoonful of £ and one of white with a bit of jelly and a baked potato (I should prefer a spoonful of mashed) should be served on each plate, leaving the other vegetables to be passed afterward with the roast pig. After this the salad, and then the '' should be taken away and the dessert served. Then come the apples and nuts, the tea and coffee, well seasoned with grandpa's old-time stories, grandma's quaint sayings and kind words and merry repartees from all.
Below I give some recipes for these old-fashioned dishes, hoping they may because to some young housekeeper, preparing, perhaps, her first thanksgiving dinner:
Oyster Soup.–Pour the liquor from 1 qt. of oysters, set over the fire with
1 pt. of boiling water; skim when it boils up, and add 1 qt. of sweet milk; when it again boils up, stir in 2 tea-spoonfuls of butter rubbed in 1 of flour; then add the oysters, and salt and pepper to your taste; let it boil only a minute or two, and serve in a hot tureen. See, also, that the soup dishes are well warmed before sending to table.
Roast Turkey.—Make a stuffing of moistened bread-crumbs, rubbed smooth, with salt, pepper and powdered ": Fill the breast and body, and sew it up with a needle and coarse thread. Put in the oven in a pan with a little water, basting it often. A turkey weighing 12 lbs. should roast at least 3 hours. Having washed the heart, liver and gizzard, boil them an hour or so in a saucepan; to make the gravy chop the # fine; put them back in the water in which they were boiled; add flour, rubbed smooth, in a little water; boil a minute or two, and serve in a gravy boat.
Roast Pig.–Sprinkle inside with fine salt an hour before it is put into the oven; cut off the feet at the first joint; fill it very full of stuffing, with plenty of sage in it; tie the legs; rub it all over with butter to keep it from blistering; baste very often while roasting. It will require about 2% hours to roast. Make gravy as for other roasts.
Carrots with Cream.—Boil very tender with plenty of water, when done slice into a saucepan with a gill of cream; let them boil up once; salt and pepper to taste, and serve in hot nappies (side dishes).
Boston Baked Beans.—Take # of white beans, wash and soak over night in 2 or 3 qts of water; in the morning pick them over and boil until they begin to crack open; put them in a brown pan; pour over them enough of the water in which they have been boiled to nearly cover them. Cut the rind of a pound of salt pork into narrow strips; lay the pork upon the top of the beans and press down nearly even with them, bake some 4 or 5 hours.
"Pumpkin Pie.—Stew a kettle full of pumpkin and press it through a colander. For a quart of the stewed pumpkin use about a pint or a little more of sweet milk, 2 cups of sugar, 3 eggs and a tea-spoonful of ginger; bake in a crust in a deep pie plate.
Remarks.—The plum pudding will be found in another part of the book; also salads, sauces or any other thing that may be desired upon Thanksgiving, or most other important occasions.

1 comment:

  1. Much of it sounds delicious, but I'm not a fan of oysters. Unfortunately oysters seem to be a main component of fancy 19th century menues.