Ah, the American Thanksgiving Day is only a few days away, along with all its turkey goodness.
In honor, here are some bits I like from an 1829 cookery book. (All odd spellings or punctuation are the cookbook author’s.)
TOMATAS OR LOVE-APPLES:
These have gone down in France, but are just (like other fashions) coming into vogue among us. Tomatas are used both in sauces and soups, and are pickled.–See Tomato Catsup.
The French put grated nutmeg or minced parsley to stews of cucumber, and thicken the sauce with beat yolks of eggs. Nutmeg is indeed a very suitable condiment with this watery vegetable, so is cayenne.
So many fatal accidents happen every season from the use of poisonous mushrooms, and it is so difficult to distinguish between the edible kinds and those that are deleterious…
Those who are more solicitous about the appearance of their tables than the quality of the dishes, have their potatoes mashed, or boiled peeled, all the year round.
The French, among our other insular distinctions, speak of us as a nation “with twenty religions and only one sauce,”–parsley and butter, by the way, is this national relish,–and unquestionably English cookery, like English manners, has ever been much simpler than that of our neighbours.
For stuffing to fill the craw [of a turkey], take a breakfast cup full of stale bread finely grated, two ounces of minced beef-suet, or marrow, a little parsley parboiled and finely shred, a teaspoonful of lemon-peel grated, a few sprigs of lemon thyme, a little nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Mix the whole well in a mortar, with a couple of eggs.
So… What’s your favorite holiday food? And if someone offered you a dish of stewed cucumber with nutmeg, would you try it?
Cara King, author of My Lady Gamester, in which some jellies are eaten, but (luckily) no mushrooms
Hi Cara, I love that reference to the 20 religions and only one sauce! One of the Two Fat Ladies riposted that English meat was of such good quality, they had no need of sauces to disguise the flavour. Not sure if that’s true, but highly entertaining, anyway. We don’t have Thanksgiving in Australia, where I live, and it’s hot at Christmas so the less traditional among us eat seafood rather than turkey. Yum! Have a great Thanksgiving!
Sweet Potatoes are my favorite holiday foods. Mashed. Candied. With marshmellows on top. Without mashed potatoes on top. Mashed Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmellows.
I adore them so, I’ve made them a proper noun.
No stewed cucumbers for me, thankyouverymuch. Ew! Some things were never meant to be sauced. 🙂
Sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce are two of my favorite T-day dishes, in addition, to the turkey, of course.
Christine I love that line, too! “20 religions and only one sauce.”
I think I might like that cucumber dish….
From my husband’s Italian family comes a holiday favorite. Green peas in tomato sauce. My version, naturally, is a cheat..brown a couple of cloves of garlic in a little olive oil, add a bag of frozen peas, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and chopped onion. Cook on the top of the stove a long time until it is done.
I MIGHT try the cucumbers–I’ll try almost anything once, except for some of the stuff I see Anthony Bourdain eat on “No Reservations.” 🙂
my holiday favorites are, well, everything! Turkey, stuffing, potatos, cranberries. And pies. My mom makes a delicious pecan/cranberry pie (pecan pies are usually too sweet for me, but the cranberries fix that)
Diane, I think even I could make the peas! I may have to try it…
riposted that English meat was of such good quality, they had no need of sauces to disguise the flavour.
Yes, I’ve heard that argument, Christine! And my mother always did think that if one had a good cut of meat, it was a crime to put sauce on it…
(Personally, I’m not the biggest meat eater myself, so I don’t have much of an opinion here!) 🙂
Seafood at Christmas, though — interesting! And it makes perfect sense. Todd and I were discussing a while ago about how so many of the traditional English Christmas foods are preserved foods — mincemeat, sausage, pudding, brandy sauce, preserved fruit, etc — merely because December in England didn’t provide much fresh food in the old days. So why not?
Santa, I think I will join your proper nouning of Sweet Potatoes. They are, indeed, Worthy of such an honor…
My holiday favorites are sweet potatoes, pumpkin and mincemeat pie, and stuffing.
And I’d try the cucumbers…though the stewingness would put me off much more than the nutmeg.
Diane, you’re a chef after my own heart. (And sounds like a good recipe!)
I would try those cucumbers, although I am less brave than Amanda, although No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain is to my taste: Tall, thin, acerbic. Yum!
My favorite food this holiday is, well, sleep, and not having to make dinner for just a few days. And the pie. I like pie.
We loooooooove the stuffing. It’s always the first thing that we go for. LOL 🙂 It’s almost like the turkey’s just there so you can have the stuffing! 🙂
But I’m not a fan of cucumbers, so anything with it, I’ll skip.
Lois, who hopes to get caught up on computer stuff on Thanksgiving! 🙂
It’s almost like the turkey’s just there so you can have the stuffing!
I’m with you there, Lois! Turkey’s there to make the stuffing taste better, or to give one something to put the gravy on. 🙂
And the reason I feel this way may be because, when I was growing up, we hosted Thanksgiving for our whole extended family — which meant between 30 and 45 people for dinner.
Lots of turkey.
LOTS of leftover turkey.
Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I’m always rather ho-hum about it.
Pie rules! And stuffing. Stuffing and pie rule! And sweet potatoes.
Okay, better stop now.
Yeah, I’m just OK with turkey but love everything else: the stuffing, any vegetable on the side (I’d even try that cucumber dish…at least once) and the desserts. Pecan-cranberry pie sounds divine, Amanda!
Sleep is great, too. 🙂
Actually, I’d try anything Anthony Bourdain told me to try – there’s just something about that tall, lean form and cigarette and whiskey soaked voice of his….
Turkey and sleep go nicely together.
A giant slab of turkey breast with gravy is a great way to sedate one’s relations. ;-j
Me, I’m a cranberry girl.
And cucumbers should be cold and crisp.
“Pie rules! And stuffing. Stuffing and pie rule!”
Yummmm, pie. Maybe that’s why I enjoy Pushing Daisies so much, I get to imagine there’s such a place as the Pie Hole. 🙂
Stuffing for me–I always considered all the other traditional Thanksgiving dishes optional, but stuffing is a requirement.
Diane, you’re a chef after my own heart.
Wait a minute, your heart is a chef?? Sheesh! I wish I’d known that years ago…we should make it do all the cooking…