It’s nearly time for one of the biggest holiday meals of the year, and every year around the holidays I start thinking about what sort of meals our predecessors enjoyed. While many families and cultures celebrate the holiday season in different ways, it’s a bit fun to look back at printed text to see what was being suggested to serve over a hundred years ago.
These suggestions come from The Delineator magazine, November 1908. If you try any of these please let me know how they turn out!
“…The Thanksgiving bill of fare is always much the same, and we would not have it otherwise. In my young days the mince pie was considered a Christmas dainty and was served for that season. Pumpkin pie made its bow, so to speak, at the Thanksgiving dinner, and then, too, we usually had the first turkey of the year.
The only variety in the turkey was his stuffing, and while this was usually the good old dry and buttery bread dressing, we varied it sometimes by the addition of sausage or of oysters. The latter was an especial favorite. Cranberry jelly or sauce we always had, and the stock vegetables, turnips, celery, sweet potatoes and a corn pudding. Then there was a delicious Thanksgiving cake, but this was generally saved until supper-time and served after a salad which stimulated our overworked appetites.
Oyster Stuffing for Turkey – Make a stuffing for turkey of a large cupful of crumbs, seasoning with parsley, sweet marjoram and thyme, and moisten with melted butter. Chop twenty small oysters fine and mix with the dressing. If you prefer you may leave the oysters whole. With this stuffing fill the breast of the turkey.
Fried Oysters lo Garnish Turkey- For this you must select fine large oysters, take them from the liquor carefully and dry on a soft cloth. Dip each oyster in powdered crackers, rolling it over and over un. ti! well coated. Fry them in enough hot butter to cover them when you put them in the frying-pan. Take out the moment they are done and lay around the edge of the hot dish in which the turkey is established.
Cranberry Sauce – Put one quart of cranberries over the fire with half a pint of cold water and let them cook until broken to pieces. Add a pound of sugar and cook until this melts, -no longer, as lengthy cooking tends to make the sauce bitter. Take from the fire and set aside to cool.
Corn Pudding- Chop two cupfuls of canned corn and beat into it two eggs, whipped light, half a pint of milk in which has been dissolved a pinch of baking-soda, a tablespoonful of melted butter, a tablespoonful of sugar, a half. pint of milk and salt to taste. Turn into a greased pudding- dish and bake covered fifteen minutes; then uncover and bake ten minutes longer. Serve as a vegetable.
Filling for Pumpkin Pie- Press through a colander a quart of stewed pumpkin and add to it two quarts of milk. Have this rich and, if you can make it part cream it will improve the pie. Stir in
a cupful and a half of granulated sugar, a teaspoonful each of cinnamon. nutmeg and mace, the yolks of nine eggs, well beaten, and finally the whites of the eggs whipped to a standing froth. Beat all well and turn into pie dishes lined with good paste.
Pastry for Pumpkin Pie-Have your pastry-board, mixing-bowl, choppingknife and other utensils very cold, as well as the ingredients. Chop threequarters of a pound of butter into a pound of flour; when well mingled,-the butter in bits no larger than a pea,-stir into the mixture a small cupful of iced water. : Mix together lightly with your chopping knife and just as soon as blended turn out on your floured pastry board. Roll out lightly, fold in three, roll out again, fold in three and roll out once more. Handle the pastry as little as possible. After the third rolling put the pastry on ice. If you can, it is better to make it the day before it is to be used and leave it in the cold until needed. When you roll it out for the pies, cut it into rounds with a very sharp knife, and when you spread it on the pie plate do not pinch the edges or press them. Press the pastry down around the sides and the bottom of the pie plate but leave the edge untouched.
Thanksgiving Cake– Cream three cupfuls of powdered sugar with one cupful of butter; add one cupful of milk. Sift two teaspoonfuls of baking-powder with four cupfuls of flour and beat stiff the whites of ten eggs. Add the flour and the whites of the eggs alternately to the other ingredients. Flavor to taste with rose-water. Have ready two cupful,, of citron shredded fine and well dredged in flour, and stir this in last. Bake in a loaf or in small cakes.
Turkey Scallop–Remove and chop the meat from the bones of the turkey, rejecting all gristle, though some of the better pieces of skin may be retained, if tender. Butter a pudding-dish and put in the bottom of it a layer of crums, moistening them a little with milk. On the layer of crums put one of the chopped meat mingled with fragments of the dressing. Sprinkle with salt, and pepper and dot with bits of butter. Next come another layer of the milk-moistened bread-crums, and so on until the dish is full. Keep back the last layer until you have poured into the scallop the gravy from the turkey. If there has not been enough left to save the scallop from dryness, dilute what you have with hot water, adding butter, or make more stock from the turkey bones,
The scallop i: further enriched by a crust made of bread-crums soaked in warm milk, seasoned with salt and with two eggs beaten into it. This crust is to be spread smoothly over the top of the scallop, stuck thickly with bits of butter and covered by a deep plate after the scallop goes in until the bubbles begin to boil up at the side of the dish. The dish is then to be uncovered and the crust browned. “