1887 Thanksgiving Recipes from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year in America.

On October 6, 1941, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution fixing the traditional last-Thursday date for the holiday beginning in 1942. However, in December of that year the Senate passed an amendment to the resolution that split the difference by requiring that Thanksgiving be observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November, which was sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes (less frequently) the next to last.

Thanksgiving Receipts

Oyster Soup
Put two quarts of oysters, liquor and all,in a pan, set them on the stove to heat, but do not let them boil, or come very near to it. Now drain all the liquor into the soup kettle, and put in a pint of water and two quarts of new milk, half a pound of butter,and a little whole allspice and pepper. Have the oysters all this time where they will keep warm, and then salt to taste, just as you are ready to serve the soup, and put into the boiled up soup before the oysters are added. Salt should always be the last thing put into any soup, stew, or fricassee where milk is used, or it is apt to curdle. Oysters should never be boiled, but only scalded; boiling makes them tough and shrinks them up.

Turtle Soup
Boil the turtle until it is tender, then remove the bones, cut the meat into small pieces, season with a tablespoonful of sweet marjoram, sweet basil, thyme and parsley; pepper and salt to taste; add one nutmeg grated, a dozen cloves and the same of allspice; tie up these species in muslin and remove them before serving the soup. Stir a large tablespoonful of brown flour into a quarter of a pound of butter, and add it to the soup; pour over all, five quarts of boiling water, and reduce by boiling gently to three quarts; fifteen minutes before the soup is done add the green fat. To every three quarts of soup add half a pint of wine, a good lemon sliced thin without the seed, and fine meat balls. After simmering five minutes take out the lemon peel; if the turtle is not fat add a good slice of ham in cooking the soup, but take this out before serving. This receipt is for a small turtle.

Dried Pea Soup
Soak the peas over night, using a quart of water to each quart of peas, and putting in about a teaspoonful of soda to soften them; wash them off in the morning and put them in fresh water and boil till tender; boil with a pound and a half of salt pork or beef; lift the peas out and mash through a colander, putting back the paste without the skins; salt and pepper to taste, and boil up well again.

Chicken Pie
Joint the chicken, which should be young; boil them till nearly tender in just sufficient water to cover them; take them out of the liquor and lay them in a pudding dish lined with pie crust, and to each layer of chickens put three or four thin slices of pork, or a couple of ounces of butter cut into small bits; season each layer well with pepper and salt, and dredge flour over the top, and then turn in the liquor in which the chicken was stewed, till you can just see it at the top; cover it with pie crust, cut a slit in the centre, and ornament with strips of pastry. Bake in a quick oven for about an hour.

Force Meat Balls
Chop lean veal or beef very fine, together with a little raw salt pork; season the meat with salt, pepper and cloves; make it up into balls of the size of half an egg; boil part in the soup for fifteen minutes; fry the remainder and serve these up on a separate dish.

Boned Turkey
Remove the flesh from the bone with a sharp knife, scraping it downwards, being careful not to cut it into pieces; begin at the wings and do not tear or break the skin. Loosen the flesh from the breast, back and thighs. Draw the skeleton by the neck from the flesh, then stuff with the same dressing as a roast turkey. If there is any broken places sew them up. Bake about three hours,and serve cold.

Oyster Sauce
Separate the oysters from the juice, and if there is not sufficient juice for the quantity of sauce required put one-third water to it. Set where it will boil, with two blades of mace, salt and pepper to taste. Mix a little flour smoothly with a little milk and thicken the sauce. When it has boiled several minutes, to a pint put half a pint of oysters; as soon as they are scalded through take the sauce from the fire, and add a piece of butter about the size of a hen’s egg, and serve immediately.

Mince Meat
Chop one and a half pounds (when chopped) of nice roast beef, beef suet, tart (greening) apples, Malaga raisins, and pick clean, and add the same quantity of currants. Add one pound of good brown sugar, half of mixed orange, lemon and citron candied peel, shredded small. Put in the juice and grated rind of a lemon, a coffee-cup of sugar, powdered spice to taste, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Mix with a quart of sweet cider reduced to a pint by boiling with maple syrup. Add a glass of raspberry jelly, and more of the cider if the mince meat is too dry.

To make puff pastry satisfactorily, allow one pound of butter to a pound of flour; break a quarter of a pound of the butter into little bits, and rub well into the flour, in which a little salt and baking powder has been put; mix to a paste with water and lay it on a well floured board; roll it out once lightly, place bits of butter at short spaces all over the surface, sprinkle with flour, fold in four and roll out lightly again; repeat this process four times and the pastry will be very light.

Grape Preserve
The grapes must have the pulp slipped from the skins, one by one, the skins laid by themselves and the pulp stewed in very little water, and strained through a sieve in order to get rid of the seeds. Then put skins and pulp together and allow three-quarters of a pound of sugar to each pound of fruit weighed before skinning, and boil till the skins are tender.

Sweet Potato Pudding or Pie
One pound of sweet potatoes boiled and mashed fine, six eggs well beaten, three-quarters of a pound of sugar, the same of butter, a grated lemon rind, half a nutmeg,a wine glass of brandy or milk, or half of each together. Line the dish with paste, fill with this mixture and bake. Sprinkle it with pulverized sugar before serving.

Lemon Pie
Dissolve one tablespoonful of corn starch in a little water and pour on it a cup of boiling water, put it on the fire, and when it boils up pour it on one cup of sugar, and a tablespoonful of butter. When cool, add one egg and the yolk of another well beaten and the peel and juice of a lemon. Put in a pie plate lined with paste and bake; when done, spread over the top the white of one egg beaten up with sugar and let it stand in the oven a few minutes

Orange Pie
Take one tablespoonful of butter, rub to a cream, add one cup of sugar, beat well together. Grate the rind of one large sweet orange, also one lemon; squeeze the juice, two eggs beaten separately, the whites to a stiff froth. Add to the sugar and butter, first the yolks, afterward the juice and rind of the lemon and orange, lastly the whites. Beat quickly. Have ready an open shell of paste into which turn the mixture and bake. This makes one pie and can be doubled as required.

Orange Cake
Two cups of sugar, two of flour, one-half cup of water, two teaspoons of baking powder, a pinch of salt, yolks of five eggs, whites of two, the juice of grated rind of one large orange. Bake in jelly tins on greased paper. This makes six layers. For icing use the whites of three eggs, one pound powdered sugar, juice and grated rind of one orange.


Pumpkin Pie
Take off the rind and take out the seed of a small pumpkin. Cut the rest into small pieces and stew over a moderate fire with just enough water to keep from burning at the bottom of the pot. When stewed soft, turn off the water and steam over a slow fire for fifteen or twenty minutes, taking care not to scorch. Then remove from the fire and strain through a colander when cool. If the pies are to be very rich, to a quart of strained pumpkin put two quarts of milk and ten eggs; if plain use only a quart of milk to one of pumpkin and three or four eggs. Add sugar, salt and ginger to taste. Mace and the grated rind of lemon can also be added if wished. Pumpkin pies require a very hot oven and long baking unless there are many eggs in them. Heat the mixture before filling into the paste, or the crust will bake too hard before the pumpkin is done.

A West Indian Dessert
Cut bananas into very thin slices, slice oranges, and canned pineapple slices; lay them alternately in a deep glass dish, with the orange and pineapple slices quartered, and sprinkle between each layer grated coconut and sugar.

Put half a pound of loaf sugar into a large porcelain jug; add one pint of cold water; stir the sugar till it is dissolved. Pour over it half a bottle of hock and one bottle of sherry wine. Mix them well together, and grate in half a nutmeg with two drops of essence of lemon; then set the jug in a bucket of ice for an hour.



Collection: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Publication: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Date: November, 1887
Title: Thanksgiving Receipts
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Happy Thanksgivings from Accessible Archives!

Happy Thanksgivings from Accessible Archives!

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