If you’re stressed out preparing for this Thursday’s Thanksgiving party, take a break and explore some past Thanksgiving meal menus.
The Culinary Institute of America, a culinary University in Hyde Park, New York, maintains a collection of 30,000 menus that illustrate the history of gastronomy in the United States and abroad. These come from all 50 states and over 100 countries, as well as from ships, railways and airlines.
Among the Thanksgiving menus are those of a meal served aboard the ship S. S. Cleveland in 1912, on a cruise around the world. This menu, in both English and German, features sole filet a L’americaine with potatoes, Lamb chair a la President Taft, not to mention roast turkey with cranberry sauce, and plum pudding with chaudeau rum sauce.
According to its handwritten menu, since Thanksgiving in 1931, the Pine Tree Inn in Lakehurst, New Jersey, served local New Jersey turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and minced meat and apple pies, all still popular today. In 1948, after World War II, The Union Station Restaurant in Omaha, Neb., served not only Turkey, but also oysters, chicken, beef. Ham, lobster, trout, duck and steak, plus minced meat and pumpkin empanadas, and English Plum Pudding.
Looking beyond the menus – on display at a recent lunch explaining Thanksgiving dinner to the Foreign Press at Michael Jordan The Steak House in Grand Central Station in New York-and the Thanksgiving celebrations from the past to today is Kara Nielsen, an Oakland, California.- food trends consultant. She predicted that Thanksgiving cooks this year will become more creative with vegetable side dishes, drawing inspiration from flavors from around the world, including the Middle East, with aromatic spice blends, creamy salty yogurts and sweet bursts of pomegranate seeds or dates. Vegetable prep techniques like spiralization, ricing, and roasting will also be more popular, he said, while fall flavors like maple syrup, bourbon, and brown butter will also make appearances in side dishes and desserts. In addition, he predicted that craft cider will play a new role as a flavor enhancer in dishes of all kinds, and will also be presented in cocktails, punches or alone.
Beth Forrest, food historian at the Culinary Institute of America, also suggested that regional food specialties will be popular, as always, this year at Thanksgiving holidays across the country. Among those he mentioned were, in the Southeast, macaroni and cheese, pecan pie and corn bread filling; in Florida, lime pie; in the Midwest, green bean casserole, cherry pie and wild rice filling; in the Southwest, chile-infused dishes; and in the western mountainous region, Frog’s eye salad, a plate of pasta, fruit, Marshmallow and cream.