Wednesday, November 25, 2009

25 November 1955 “Thanksgiving Eve”

I thought this home movie from 1950’s Thanksgiving very sweet. I love the clothes and that dancing is part of their tradition. We might need to add that to ours next year!

I am planning on doing as much today as I can to make tomorrow easier on myself:

 roasted chestnuts I roasted the chestnuts last night and Gussie helped me shell and separate them over tea.

Today, I made my cranberries (from our local farm, grown right here in Sandwich MA!) to which I added clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg and of course sugar. I cook mine in Orange Juice, as I really love the scent of orange with it. It is actually amazing how easy it is to make. I know many of you like the canned, but along with the canned you should make some fresh as it is so easy and SO GOOD. I mean you literally put 1 lb of washed whole berries in a pot, add one cup O.J. one cup sugar and then spices as you like. Then, after 10 minutes or so (you can hear the little devils pop!) you just pour it into the pretty container in which you wish to serve them and ta-dah! You’re done. I then quickly zested some orange rind on top of it as it really mellows the flavor and will mirror the glaze for the turkey. (I reserved some of the juice from these cranberries to make the glaze for the turkey.) So that is done for tomorrow, just a reheat needed.

I am sampling my johnny cake (corn bread) right now, which I baked to make my stuffing. I am not sure if this is called Johnny cake anywhere other than New England, but its name goes back to the Colonial days. Here is the history of it from my 1950’s New England Cookbook.johnnycakes1 You should be able to click on it and get the history and recipe. Basically, our Colonial Grandmothers baked ‘Journey Cakes” of corn for our grandfathers to take with them. Journey became Johnny, I think this is because our accents were once English and Journey sounds rather like Johnny to our later ‘Americanized’ accents. However, if you did not have the time nor inclination, you could certainly mix up a quick batch of Jiffy corn mix. It is, I believe, still made by a smaller company. And, honestly, much better than just buying a bag of ‘cornbread stuffing mix’ as you can season it as you like and of course, do as I am doing now and take a little break to sip coffee and nibble a hot piece of ‘Johnny Cake’ while you plan the next item on your list!

1940s woman with rolls I am also going  to attempt, for the first time ever, Parker House rolls. I am using my Boston Cooking School book from the 1950s for this. I am going to make these up today and put them in the ice box and then bake them fresh tomorrow. It seems not too complicated, but we shall see. I couldn’t find if any prepackaged dough rolls were available in 1950s. I know the Pillsbury rolls didn’t appear until the 1960s. Do any of you know if they had pre-packaged dough rolls to bake in 1955? Well, I just didn’t feel right buying a package of Pillsbury rolls, since I should really try some homemade anyway. I cant imagine the packaged could compare to homemade, but we shall see. I will share the recipe.

I am also roasting an acorn squash and sweet potato and apple in maple syrup with rosemary. I am going to cut up and peel those things today and let them soak in their ‘juices’ tonight and just roast them fresh tomorrow afternoon.

I will even prepare my mashed potatoes today, which I will whip with garlic, chives, and sour cream. And of course, homemade gravy will come tomorrow with all those delicious drippings from the turkey.

I also made the trip to my local fishmonger today. Though I do not have a butcher close by, we are lucky to have so many wonderful fish markets as we are on the ocean. I purchased some mussels, a lovely haddock filet with skin and one lobster. I am going to make my bisque today and decided to include the other seafood as well to ‘stretch’ it. I am going to boil the lobster this evening and then hubby and I can ‘sample’ some of the hot fresh darling tonight and the rest will go into the bisque.

It was a very lovely New England moment, as the fish market is right on the water, and there was a cool grey mist hung in the air and the scent of the tide stung my nose. I was wearing a dress and the wind caught it up, but my hands were full of my bounty and I was thankful for petticoats, as those in the parking lot got a fine show of those crinolines. The gulls cried. The air had that thick wet briny  feel that I could wrap myself in. It is not a joke that I am most comfortable on the water and can only nap on boats. Hubby always laughs that the rougher the sea the more likely I will be down below snoozing away with the puppies! It is true.

I had forgot I was going to talk about centerpieces, as there are some interesting bits in my books. I did not get flowers, but will most likely make up something from the yard. We have holly and there are a few hydrangea blooms still holding tight to their branches.

I thought this sort of sweet, using what you have. 

centerpiece 1This also has such a simplistic innocence. centerpiece 2 There is also talk of placement of centerpieces from the center of the table to one end. There is one mention, where they balance the ends of the table with an arrangement on one end and bright dessert (in this case a cherry pie), which I thought a fun idea to use your pretty dessert as decoration. This, of course, left no one at the head or foot of the table, therefore making a more informal seating arrangement.

thanksgiving post So, lets remember those who have gone before us, even fought and defended our country for us. In this image I see two past heros, not only the soldier, but the grandmother, the silent holder of eons of women’s history. Let us remember both of these figures tomorrow and do all we can to make a future they would be proud to live in.

thanksgiving dinner photo So, Happy Thanksgiving to all, and those of you who do not celebrate, eat a Turkey sandwich in our honor tomorrow and we can all silently toast the APRON REVOLUTION!apron revolution


  1. You sound very prepared for tomorrow, hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Cheers to the Apron Revolution!

  2. Well, Lily, I am in the PROCESS of being prepared. I actually have found this Thanksgiving, though I am making so much MORE from scratch, to seem not as quite a production. I think it is because so much of what was only done for 'special times' such as ironed linens, abilities in the kitchen, etc. Honestly, it almost feels like a dinner party more than a big production, it is amazing what a difference a year makes!
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  3. What do any of you think of the slogan? "changing the world one apron string at a time?" I think I will use it on my website if it makes it into being in the coming month or Jan.

  4. I love the slogan and the image you have posted is great! Looks perfect together. Is there a website in the future for us to look forward to????

  5. Yes, I hope. I have purchased a domain name and have a host but am trying to use dreamweaver, but I don't want to use it too much as of yet, as it is still 1955, but I want next year to have another aspect to my blog. A place for all of we vintage gals to forum, post ideas, recipes, share ideas, link our blogs together etc. I just want there to be a 'virtual headquarters' for we gals to coffee klatch at, so we shall see.

  6. Loved the home movie, made me think of my parents and their parents almost looked like their family :) Too bad there was no sound, would have loved to hear what they had to say.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all

  7. I don't know how you have time to do all that and still put together these wonderful posts, but my hats off to you! I really enjoyed reading this, and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  8. It's funny, but it seems the more that I do and learn the more I CAN do. I also think, honestly, the distraction of tv takes up more time in our lives than we realize.
    How many of you are preparing today/tonight to make tomorrow a little easier, or more time to visit with friends and relatives?

  9. 50's Gal- Thank you for finding the time to post, with all the cooking you've been doing in preparation for tomorrow. Picturing you in the parking lot of the fish monger, petticoats bustling in the wind, arms full of the raw ingredients of a delightful meal- just made me smile. :)

    The centerpiece with the Corningware is just too cute. I have those pots- my Mother had a whole set.

    Here's to a Happy Thanksgiving to all! (And for those who don't celebrate this American holiday have a wonderful Thursday!!)


  10. Happy thanksgiving to you, dear! :)
    Today is my birthday, so I'm having guests tonight for layer cake and cupcakes, home made of course. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Denmark, but we do gather family and friends for 10 November, which is Saint Martin's Day. Much like your Thanksgiving, only we eat roasted ducks - uhm! :)

  11. Oh, forgot to mention the Apron Revolution logo - SO NICE! :)

    Have you looked at It requires no it-skills and is very easy manage, I think it will be perfect for your future network/website.

    PS: Have you received my letter?

  12. happy thanksgiving.
    reading your post made me realize Hubby got his gravy, but forgot his cranberry sauce. I don't eat the stuff, but he does love that can of goop! I also realised that, for a 'let's not spend too much time in the kitchen' holiday, I think I'm gonna have both ovens-a-roasting. oh, well...just stick the stuff in and pour the wine, I guess. ;)
    jen (my profile won't load)

  13. Happy Thanksgiving all!
    Sanne-I just received your letter yesterday, but am saving it as a 'treat' for monday! And I ADORE roast duck!
    I hope all have a great day and try NOT to be lured by 'black friday' tomorrow. I heard there are stores, such as Toys R Us that are opening at 3 AM! Now, what could you possibly need to buy for your child's Christmas at 3 am! And think of the poor sales staff! My goodness, I believe we have actually gone consumer mad. Well, today be thankful and as 'vintage' as you can, ladies.

  14. My mouth simply waters with delight! *^_^*

  15. What a fun post - and a fun blog. I remember 1955 - I was 9 - and the old photos and movies remind me so much of those times.

    One question - is it an east coast thing, did they always put garlic in the mashed potatoes in 1955? I can't remember that on the west coast, but maybe we were behind the times. :-)

    I'm going to explore more of your wonderful blog.

  16. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Greetings from the Netherlands

  17. Actually, I realized that garlic was most likely not use, maybe by the Italians in the North End of Boston, but I realized too late. But, I think they will be good anyway. I am just doing a quick check, turkey is in the oven, table set, things ironed and I am just out of the bath. Time to prepare for my guests, have a wonderful day all!

  18. Actually, I realized today that Garlic was most likely only used by the Italians in the North End of Boston (I am not Italian) but it is too late. I do know it shall be good, however.
    I am just doing a quick check in. My turkey is in the oven, table set, things ironed and ready and I am just out of my bath. Now, time to go and prepare myself for our guests, I hope you all have a wonderful day.

  19. I hope your thanksgiving was a resounding success! I started preparing the food on Monday, making the after dinner candy, and it's now Friday lunchtime and I'm only just finishing up! The last load of dishes are in the dishwasher now and the table cloth is waiting to get in the washer once the sheets finish. Laundry has been a bit neglected this week between the busyness of thanksgiving and the fact that my hubby has been off work so I haven't had that pressure to get his work things cleaned and pressed. Today includes 6 loads of laundry (3 clothes, one table linens, 2 sheets) and the final clean up of the kitchen.

    I thought you might like to know that I put out the water glasses :-) I had my hubby ask his mother what type of sparkling juice she would like rather than asking if she'd like some juice, little subtle psychology there. In the end she drank both the juice and the water but I did catch her fixating on the glasses a few times.

  20. Rhonda-that is so funny and brava for you and the water glasses. I, too, am still in clean up mode, luckily for me I now have the house to myself and am busy getting to it. My fine china can not go into the dishwasher, so I have the dining table spread with the drying bits of china. I am so sad, as I forgot, after all my work and how lovely everyone thought it looked, to get any pictures of the table with all the food! I felt bad and hope my followers will not be disapointed, I know I am!
    Well, back to work.

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