Old Fashioned American Thanksgiving Menu And Recipes | 1890

The Thanksgiving Dinner

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving HolidaysIt seems absurd to print a complete bill of fare, in the expectation that anyone would adopt it for the annual Thanksgiving dinner. Every good housekeeper prefers to have her own taste and individuality appear in the selection and arrangement of the dishes which are served at this justly popular feast. She is glad to have hints and suggestions, but she has no use for anything beyond: consequently, these are all that we shall offer our readers.

Do not attempt too much. It is better to have comparatively few dishes, well cooked, rather than a great variety, no one of which is satisfactorily served.

Make all the preparation if possible the day beforehand, leaving nothing but the actual cooking of the dinner for the day itself. By this means, it may really BE for you as well as for the others, a time of thanksgiving and enjoyment.

Arrange the table with all the taste you possess, taking pains to have flowers or plants in the center. A pretty way is to have a pot of flowering plants, the pot decorated as directed in the October number. Use parsley and watercress to garnish the meats; bring out your pretty china – and see to it that there is an abundance of bright, cheerful conversation mingled with the different viands.

There are two or three things which are almost always served at this time, but seldom in their perfection. To begin with the roast turkey, if that has been frequently basted, carefully turned, and browned evenly and richly, and that it is tender without being dry and tasteless, the chances are that the dressing is moist and soggy, or so closely packed as to come out in solid masses. Or, the cranberry sauce, the standard accompaniment of roast turkey, is thin and watery, with the berries half cooked. Scalloped oysters is another dish which often suffers at the hands of the cook, being sometimes served in a pasty, unattractive mass, and at other times cooked until all flavor has been lost. Since a little care is all that is necessary to ensure success in these particulars, we print directions which are thoroughly tested and may be relied upon for good results.


Use stale bread, and have it broken into very fine crumbs. For a quart of crumbs, take a tablespoonful of salt, a little pepper, sage (or other flavouring if preferred), and nearly half a cup of butter. When these are thoroughly blended, fill the turkey very carefully, as crowding prevents the dressing from being light and delicate when served.


Cook a quart of cranberries in a pint of water till tender. Mash thoroughly, and add two and a quarter cups of granulated sugar. Boil ten minutes, stirring constantly. Strain through a colander (though this is not necessary), then pour into molds, or the dish in which it is to be served.


Butter a deep dish, and sprinkle on the bottom a layer of finely powdered cracker or dried bread crumbs. Cover with oysters, seasoned with salt, pepper, and butter. Now another layer of crumbs, then oysters, and so on till the dish is full. Then add just enough cream or milk to thoroughly moisten the crumbs, and bake twenty minutes in a quick oven.—M. C. RANKIN.

Orchard and Garden, 1890

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