Thursday, November 22, 2012

A 100 Years of Thanksgiving Dinners

Norman Rockwell's cover for Literary Digest 1919
I was pondering the tradition of the "Thanksgiving Feast" and was rather curious to see how it has changed over the years. I was very surprised how it HAS NOT changed! Here are a few menus from my cookbook collection.
"The Original Fannie Farmer 1896 Cookbook" copyright 1896
Oyster Soup      Crisp Crackers
Celery      Salted Almonds
Roast Turkey
Cranberry Jelly      Mashed Potatoes
Onions in Cream      Chicken Pie
Fruit Pudding and Sterling Sauce
Mince, Apple and Squash Pie
Neapolitan Ice Cream      Fancy Cakes
Fruit      Bonbons
Nuts and Raisins      Crackers and Cheese
Cafe Noir
"White House Cookbook" copyright 1899
Grapes      Oak Flakes
Broiled Porterhouse Steaks
Codfish Balls      Browned Potatoes
Buckwheat Cakes and Maple Syrup
Wheat Bread      Coffee
Oysters on Half Shells
Cream of Chicken Soup
Fried Smelts   Sauce Tartare
Roast Turkey      Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes      Baked Squash
Boiled Onions      Parsnip Fritters
Chicken Salad      Venison Pastry
    Pumpkin Pie      Mince Pie
Charlotte Russe      Almond Ice Cream
Lemon Jelly       Hickory Nut Cake
Cheese      Fruits
Cold Roast Turkey
Scalloped Oysters      Potato Salad
Cream Short-cake      Eclairs
Preserved Egg Plums
"Good Housekeeping's Book of Meals" copyright 1930
Menu #1
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Roast Turkey      Giblet Gravy
Buttered Spinach      Mashed Potatoes
Cauliflower with Hollandaise Sauce
Cranberry Jelly
Romaine Salad and French Dressing
Individual Pumpkin Pies
Nuts      Whipped Cream
Raisins      Coffee
Menu #2
Halves of Grapefruit
Roast Duck      Apple Stuffing
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Creamed Turnips      Cole-Slaw
Baked Squash
Cider      Ginger Pudding
Foamy Sauce      Coffee
"Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook" copyright 1954
"American Traditional"
Roast Turkey with Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes      Giblet Gravy
Creamed Onions
Mashed Rutabagas
Cranberry Sauce      Hot Rolls
Celery Hearts
Mince Pie      Pumpkin Pie
Isn't that interesting?! I thought it was fascinating that Turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries have all stayed consistent. One can also see as the years have gone by how the menu has been simplified. I thought it was very interesting that the updated Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1922) had the same dishes as the earlier edition.
Happy Cooking!!
And don't forget your Apron!!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Heide! Great post. I sewed a new apron for this Thanksgiving, and we have been cooking up a storm. : )

    1. Thank you Sarah! I hope you had a lovely time with your family.
      What fun, a new apron! That always makes cooking a bit more special.

  2. How did I miss this post? This is so cool to see the comparisons and all the oysters. I think most of these cookbooks were from the east coast and people ate more seafood back in the day.