Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bettina's Thanksgiving in the country (and more)

Bettina, the fictional-housewife star of "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband," and her family went to Aunt Lucy's house in the country for their Thanksgiving. That meant, for once, poor Bettina was off the hook for cooking!

An excerpt from the chapter:
Little Dick and Sarah had exclaimed with delight at the place cards of proud turkeys standing beside each plate. In the center of the table was a great wicker basket heaped with oranges, nuts and raisins. ...

The menu was as follows: Turkey with Giblet Gravy, Oyster Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Onions, Cranberry Frappé, Bread, Celery, Butter, Plum Pudding, Hard Sauce1, Nuts, Raisins, Coffee
Meanwhile, another thing tucked away inside my tattered old "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" is a magazine clipping (of unidentifiable date or origin) that features "Menus for Thanksgiving Time" by Katherine Campion. The clipping was folded and glued to edge of one of the book's page.

The menus are themed around where you might be having your Thanksgiving dinner:
  • The Traditional Thanksgiving Feast (including oyster soup, roast turkey, sausage garnish, chestnut stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie)
  • Buffet Supper Dance After the Game (a slightly slimmed-down meal that includes fruit cocktails, lattice potatoes, jellied capon2, hot buttered rolls and thanksgiving cakes)
  • Two Business Girls Entertain Two Others in Their Kitchenette Apartment3 ("May be Served on a Card Table"; see full menu at right)
  • A Dinner Just for the Family (including old-fashioned chicken pie, instead of roast turkey, plus stuffed sweet potatoes, corn pudding, pickled peaches and mince pie)
  • When a Few Old Friends and Neighbors Have Been Invited (including consommé, roast turkey, oyster stuffing, crabapple jelly, creamed onions, sweet potato soufflé and Harvard beets)
  • The Young Man with a Small Apartment Has Friends in for Dinner (see full menu at right)
  • A Smart Little Dinner for Four or Six (including ripe olives, roast stuffed squab, whipped potatoes, broccoli with Hollandaise sauce and Tutti Frutti mousse ... and finishing with coffee in the living room)
  • Holiday Bridge Supper (consisting solely of Turkey á la King on toast triangles, molded cranberry salad, Thanksgiving fruit cake with frozen whipped cream and coffee)4
  • Twilight Supper by the Fireside (including sardine-and-dill-pickle canapés on crisp wafers, tomato bisque in bouillon cups, cold sliced turkey and molded vegetable salad on lettuce)
  • Autumn Tea (including golden cheese sandwiches rolled and toasted, orange marmalade and nut sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, apricot sherbet and chocolate cookies)
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! And may all of your favorite dishes be on the dining room table.

1. According to Wikipedia, hard sauce "is a sweet, rich dessert sauce made by creaming or beating butter and sugar with rum (rum butter), brandy (brandy butter), whiskey, sherry (sherry butter), vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold, often with hot desserts. It is typically served with plum pudding, bread pudding, Indian pudding, hasty pudding, and other heavy puddings as well as with fruitcakes and gingerbread."
2. OK, I really don't want to ruin your Thanksgiving appetite, if you don't already know what a capon is. (I didn't.) If you're curious, Wikipedia will tell you all about it. And if you'd like to acquire a capon, North Iowa Produce Inc. claims: "If you've ever had a Capon here in the States, chances are it was one of ours since we supply over 90% of the birds consumed annually here in America." North Iowa Produce also has a well-written and detailed history of capons on its website.
3. That sounds like a title for something else entirely.
4. I'm definitely passing on that Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, it's for this crowd.


  1. Chris, what a veritable FEAST for Ephemeraologists! Thanks so much for posting this, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! :D

    P.S. I LOVE hard sauce. It's a heart attack waiting to happen, but that's a small price to pay. :D

  2. Two Business Girls Entertain Two Others in Their Kitchenette Apartment

    The most interesting 10 words that I've read today :)