What’s cooking for Thanksgiving Dinner in 1889 New Orleans?

Since it’s Thanksgiving week, right now I’m thinking about FOOD—smoked turkey, oyster stuffing, and gravy; sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce; and, one of my very favorites, fluffy ambrosia.

My food thoughts made me wonder what Fanny Newcomb and her friends (and even her enemies, since Fanny is hunting down the Irish Channel Ripper in 1889 New Orleans) ate for Thanksgiving dinner. And then I wondered—since it was President Lincoln who officially proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving—did New Orleanians actually celebrate Thanksgiving in the 1880s?

from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, c1888

Oh, yes they did. With morning church services and an evening family feast, New Orleanians joined the rest of the country in giving thanks.

And what a feast! The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book of 1901 provides a complete menu for Thanksgiving Day Dinner (or as the Creoles called it le Jour d’Action de Graces) for New Orleanians. If you look closely (because there are an amazing twenty-one courses), you’ll see that—just like today—turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce were served.

Interested in recreating some of these late 19th century dishes? Check out the online 1922 version of the The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book.

A Thanksglving Menu.

Menu Pour le Jour d’Action de Graces.

DINNER.

Oysters on Half Shell.

Cream of Asparagus Soup.

Spanish Olives. Celery. Mixed Pickles.

Radishes. Salted Almonds.

Baked Red Snapper a la Creole.

Mashed Potatoes.

Lamb Chops au Petit Pois.

Chicken Saute aux Champignons.

Cauliflower, Sauce Blanche.

Pineapple Fritters au Rhum.

Pates de Foies Gras.

Stuffed Tomatoes.

Turkey Stuffed With Chestnuts, Cranberry Sauce.

Endive Salad, French Dressing.

Pababotte a la Creole.

Plum Pudding, Hard or Brandy Sauce.

Pumpkin Pie.

Lemon Sherbet. Assorted Cakes.

Assorted Fruits. Assorted Nuts. Raisins.

Neufchatel.

Quince Marmalade. Crackers.

Cafe Noir.

 

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