Period Fashions Reference Library
1904 Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Menu, by Josephine Grenier
from Harper’s Bazar, November 1904

The following article was written in 1904 and describes various Thankgiving menus

Thanksgiving Feast

IT is not an easy matter for the housewife to offer her family something new each Thanksgiving day, though doubtless she faithfully tries to do so. Yet is it not something of a mistake to have novel dishes on this occasion when the old staples are the ones we really wish to see on our tables? Turkey seems more appetizing than roast peacock would—if we could get it,and chicken pie than a venison pasty. If we must have novelties, let us at least not permit them to crowd out the good old standbys we have expected to see on the table ever since we first sat there as small children. Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Something Colonial by way of decoration is always in order on this day. A pretty centrepiece may be made of wheat and small artificial pumpkins,—the wheat, bought at the florist’s in a set piece, will need to be opened and rearranged in a small sheaf. Smaller sheaves may be set down the length of the table if it is sufficiently long, and the yellow may be still further carried out in bonbons and in the candles and shades, and the ices may be served either in little pumpkins, or may be moulded in that shape. A tiny card bearing the name of the guest may be tied with yellow ribbon around the neck of a small turkey and put before each cover. These turkeys, by the way, come at all prices and in every variety, from the little feathered fowl which costs but a few cents to a really artistic iridescent bronze bird which will serve as a paper-weight later on. The Colonial idea may be suggested in the sherbet-cups made of black paper in the form of quaint hats, such as John Alden wore; a spray or two of the wheat may lie under each hat with good effect.
The hot mulled cider or claret served with this dinner will be especially nice if offered in the new and cheap but very artistic Colonial pressed glass which may be had in any of our shops. thanksgiving

Oysters on the half-shell; brown-bread tartines; celery; radishes.
Clear soup; grated cheese.
Fish fillets, sauce Hollandaise; potato balls.
Cucumber farci, cream sauce.
Roast turkey; sweet-potato soufflé; glazed turnips; individual moulds of cranberry jelly; mulled cider.
Roman punch in Colonial hats.
Halved quail on toast; celery salad with tiny onions.
Blazing mince pie; cheese.
Ice~cream in pumpkin forms; little cakes.

Pass horseradish and Cayenne pepper with the oysters, and small sandwiches of brown bread and butter. With the soup, a strong, clear bouillon, pass grated American, or, better, Parmesan cheese. The fish fillets may be made of halibut, of small cod, or of whitefish, cut in oblong pieces, dipped in egg and crumbs, and fried in deep fat; cover with the sauce before passing. The entrée is a novelty, but one easily prepared. Get one of the long English cucumbers which are to be had all winter at the fruit-shops from one to two feet in length, peel it, cut in half lengthwise, and remove a small portion of the seeds. Fill with a forcemeat made of delicate veal or chicken, chopped and then pounded fine, and well seasoned, and wrap in a long cheesecloth strip and fasten. Simmer very gently for twenty minutes, remove the cloth, and lay on a long platter; cut in pieces four inches long, but do not separate them; cover with a rich white sauce and serve very hot. Omit this entrée if it is too difficult to manage, or substitute asparagus with butter sauce.
Glazed turnips are such an old-fashioned feature of a Thanksgiving dinner that they should not be omitted, but disregard the other old fashion of having in addition half a dozen vegetables; the dinner is too long and heavy to have more than one. Stuff the turkey with either oysters or chestnuts, and serve with giblet sauce. Set the cranberry jelly in very small individual moulds, and pass on a round, flat glass dish.
thanksgiving hat Sherbet is not seen as often as formerly on the dinner-table, but with so many solid dishes it will be found an agreeable and cooling course for once. A good Roman punch or an orange ice will be excellent, and if not served in the Colonial hats it may be put in glass cups as usual.
The salad which is passed with the quail has a new feature; after the shredded celery has been dressed and chilled it is sprinkled all over with the tiny onions no larger than French pease which come bottled from Germany; the taste is so delicate as to be scarcely perceptible, but still it is enough to give a new ?avor particularly good with game.
Send the mince pie to the table blazing, and in order to prevent the flame from dying down too soon, surround the pie with a circle of overlapping pieces of out sugar, well saturated with the brandy or alcohol. The hot, mulled cider which has been served with the turkey may again appear with the mince pie. After this comes the ice-cream, in pumpkin forms, or in artificial pumpkins, or in one large pumpkin mould. Any rich French cream will do, highly colored with orange.
Instead of serving salted almonds through the dinner try using a mixture of all sorts of nuts-pecans, large almonds, English walnuts, and filberts; it makes a pleasant change. Pass the bonbons with the coffee, and if your table is all in yellow, have only yellow and white, or yellow and chocolate, candies.

Another dinner, which is simpler in some ways than this, may have the same Colonial decorations, but omit the sherbet and the cucumber farci:
Oyster Soup; hot wafers; celery.
Salmon cutlets with pease in sauce tartare; potato balls.
Chicken pie.
Roast turkey; glazed sweet-potato; parsnip fritters; cranberry jelly.
Celery salad with onions; bread-and-butter crisps.
Mince and pumpkin pies; cheese.
Tutti-frutti ice-cream; cakes.
Coffee; nuts and raisins.

To prepare the salmon cutlets, get small slices of the fish and gently simmer in court bouillon (or seasoned water made with vinegar, spice, and salt and pepper). Then make a stiff mayonnaise and stir as full as it will hold with cooked and seasoned French please; add a bit of onion and a teaspoonful of chopped capers, and arrange in a border around the salmon. Make the chicken pie by removing all the bones from two stewed chickens; arrange in layers of light and dark meat and cover with a delicate crust. Do not line the baking-pan with this, but put it only on top. A pint of large oysters dropped in the pie before putting it in the oven is a great improvement. For the ice-cream, make a basis of French cream, and when frozen stir in a heaping cupful of chopped fruits, candied cherries, and angelica, bits of crystallized figs, and just a trifle of ginger; add a glass of wine or brandy and pack in a fancy mould. Serve with a sauce of whipped cream sweetened and flavored; and send to the table on a round platter.
As the Thanksgiving dinner is a family meal when the children are present, it is usually served at some early hour, and then late in the evening a light supper is prepared, often simply arranged on the buffet so that each may help himself. Of course only a few dishes are necessary, but they may be hot and good of their kind. 1890 hairstyles and combs Here is a simple menu:

Creamed oysters; devilled-ham sandwiches.
Chicken terrapin; coffee.
Mandarin salad; cheese straws.
Cups of angels’ food, with ice-cream.

The oysters may be served in green peppers, or not, as one wishes; potatoes may accompany them if a heartier meal is desired than the menu offers. After this course have chicken terrapin, in pretty little terrapin dishes of china; serve with the covers on to insure the chicken being hot. To prepare this, make the usual Newburg mixture—one cup of cream, yolks of three eggs, well beaten, salt, and Cayenne to taste; thicken, drop in two cupfuls of cold roast chicken cut in dice, and last three tablespoonfuls of sherry. 1890 hairstyles and combs
The salad is a new one. Get large mandarin oranges and cut off a section, one-third, from the top of each. Remove the pulp carefully, marinate it with oil and lemon juice, a little salt and pepper, and lay on ice. Scallop the edges of the shells and put yellow lettuce leaves around each. Pour off the juice from the mandarin pulp and put it on as much grape-fruit pulp, which you have also chilled, and mix the two; fill the shells heaping full. For a final course take a cake of angels’ food and cut it into cups and fill with a white ice-cream, or with whipped cream mixed with chopped marshmallows and almonds.

Harper’s Bazar, November 1904

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