Turkey, cranberries, potatos and more on the Thanksgiving table.
Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock
When Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1863, the typical Turkey Day table was stuffed with far more than turkey. Multiple meats were the norm, including unheard-of-today mincemeat pie.
Gradually, as Thanksgiving mythology became codified during the late 1800s, turkey took its place at the head of the table. But some of the side dishes eaten in Thanksgiving's early days rarely make an appearance now.
Here are some menus and recipes from early Thanksgivings, provided to LiveScience by food writer Cynthia Bertelsen, who blogs at Gherkins & Tomatoes. Maybe these old-fashioned meals will inspire something new on your table this year. [Read More: The History of the Thanksgiving Menu]
Pies, Pies, Pies
The French Cook, a 1653 translation of major French cookbook Le Vrai Cuisinier François, including this pumpkin pie recipe, which illustrates a rather more laissez-faire method of cooking instruction than seen today:
Tourte of pumpkin - Boile it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds; let all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste; bake it. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve.
If crust isn't your thing, the 1796 American Cookery has you covered with several options for "pompkin" pudding:
No.1 One quart stewed and strained pompkin, 3 pints milk, 6 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg, and ginger, laid in to paste and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.
No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice, and ginger in a crust, make 1 hour.
Menus for Thanksgiving Dinners from American Cookery magazine, November 1921:
Three-Course Dinner for Small Family in Servantless House:
Roast Chicken, stuffed with Chopped Celery and Oysters
Baked Sweet Potatoes
(Fine chopped apples and nuts in red apple cups)
Mince or Squash Pie a la mode
A Simple Company Dinner of Six Courses
Clam Bouillon, Saltines
Roast, Chestnut-Stuffed Turkey, Giblet Sauce
Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Moulded Cranberry Jelly
Chicken Salad in Salad Rolls
Chocolate Ice Cream
A Formal Company Dinner. Eight Courses
Oyster Soup, Bread Sticks
Turbans of Flounder
Capon a la Creme
(Stuffing of Potatoes, Mushrooms, Chestnuts, etc.)
Green Pea Timbales
Sweet Cider Frappe
Currant Jelly Sauce
Frozen Mince Pie
Hot Chocolate Sauce
Elaborate Formal Dinner. Ten Courses
Oysters on Half-shell
Brown Bread-and-Butter Sandwiches
Clear Bouillon, Oysterettes
Potato Balls in Parsley Sauce
Cauliflower au Gratin
Braised Turkey or Capon
Pineapple Fritters, Lemon Sauce
Granite of Cider and Apples
Cutlets of Duck, with Chopped Celery
Raisin and Cranberry Tarts
Candied Orange Peel
Thanksgiving menu from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.
Onions in Cream
Mince, Apple, and Squash Pie
Neapolitan Ice Cream
Nuts and Raisins