Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24 November 1956 “Thanksgiving Eve”

vintageturkeydayI think I may have shared this video last year, but it is fun to watch. A 1950’s family prepares for Thanksgiving. You will notice how the turkey is obviously Before we genetically made and then hormonally increased Turkey production. By today’s standards it seems almost a ‘weakling turkey’. We need to get back to that for our own health, I think.
Isn’t it lovely how the gentleman help the ladies to their seats. I like that they also point out how to use your soup spoon properly. This was always a pet peeve of mine, not sure why. I guess its the sound of people slurping up great bucketfuls of soup like they are eating their Cap’n Crunch in a vast bowl in front of the TV. This family seems to use the ‘American Method’ of eating with their fork in their right hand. It seems a mixed bag here in the states, but mostly my family eats with the fork in the left hand (that’s why it is placed on the left by the way).Although, later in this video the little boy uses his left hand with his fork (incorrectly I might add). They seem to switch back and forth, I wonder why that is? Who of you uses the left hand fork method vs. the left to cut, right to eat fork method? I wonder why we have that combination in this country. It would be interesting to find out.
I love that mother has her holiday corsage. And interesting that they have their holiday pudding now (or Christmas pudding). At least that is what I think she has lit for dessert set on the holly leaves.
I see they wished on the wishbone right after dinner. We always save ours to dry for the first week of Christmas and then wish upon it, not sure why.
I have made ahead some of my things. I made my Brown Bread yesterday. It steams for about three hours and is very easy to make. I made my cranberry sauce from local Sandwich grown cranberries. The cape and this area is a very large cranberry growing area. They are lovely before they harvest, when they flood the fields and the men in their big waders are out rounding up the floating bright red berries.
I have designed and made a dinner favor/place card and also printed up our menu. Sometimes when I do a longer sit down dinner now, I like to have the menu in front of each plate just to see what is being served and as a fun take home for my guests. Many people scrap book and these are fun ways to have keepsakes. You can write on the back or stick a photo of the day there, whatever you like. I will show how they looked after the table is set, but here is the image before it is printed.
  thanksgivingcard For the Favor/place card I scanned an old Post card and then changed it in Photoshop. I was going to handwrite each person’s name, but I actually liked how the font I used really looked cute for the persons name. Again, a fun thing to save for a scrapbook. (Just as an aside, we call our house 6-A House, because we are the historic King’s Highway, also known as 6A. I don’t know when this started, but we have called it that for years.)
thanksgivingmenu Here is the Menu. I wanted to make a homemade version of the green bean/onion casserole that many people have on Thanksgiving. I have never served it myself and have only ever had the ‘original’ version once. It is made with a can of soup, can of beans and packaged fried onions. I found it rather salty and ‘fake’ tasting. But, I wanted to make my own homemade version. So, yesterday I made some mushroom cream soup with shitake mushrooms and real cream. I also pan fried onions very thin and just lightly coated in flour. I will mix these with fresh beans tomorrow to make the casserole. Since I did so much work, I decided to name the dish in French. So, Green Bean Casserole with Shitake mushrooms became Cocotte de Haricot verte avec les champignons shitake. Some how in French it sounded better and though it seems a bit ‘overdone’ for this big holiday, I think it will be fun. And of course I can watch my guests read it, do their French in their head and then laugh.
Oh, I thought I would share a good site for napkin folding. There are many ways to do it. I prefer the rosebud, as it is simple and I can also insert my Thanksgiving favor in the front, like a little pocket. HERE is the site.
Well, back to work for me. I hope all of you here in the States have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And Happy Homemaking.


  1. Interesting video. Especially since I was a teen and then a married woman/mother, before the 50's were over. :-)

    May you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I cut my meat and eat my food with my dominate hand (right)

  3. I cut and eat like Jenn, with my right hand.

    We're having a green bean casserole from Pioneer Woman that has CHEESE in it!!!! Which is fine with me because I've never cared for the French's green bean casserole. Don't like onions.

    We have a 20 pound turkey, with 11 people total coming tomorrow. For hor's d'oevres we're having cheeses and wine. It's going to be a fun day! Our next door neighbors are joining us and they're a hoot.

  4. To answer your question 50sgal, I hold the food steady with the fork in my left hand and cut it with the knife in my right, and then bring it to my mouth with my fork still in my left hand. This is typical of Australian dining although more recently we see an increase in the 'American' style with the use of the fork in the right hand.

    Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.


  5. the fork in the left hand/knife in the right is a much more british style of eating.

    I also find it interesting that what you term a 'rosebud' folded napkin, I would term a 'bishop's mitre'

  6. Elise-I have heard it called this as well, though it does resemble both, doesn't it. I wonder if because we are so far East and old in this part of New England, I often see both the 'american' and 'British' style. Some of my family even add a slight 'r' on the end of some words ending in 'a' as British people do, though it is still an American accent, though a Yankee action to be sure. Though I don't say PAHK (for Park) I don't really focus the R either as they do as you travel to the Western parts of our country. Dialect is SO interesting. Though, many regional dialects are starting to fade. I shall quietly pay attention to my fellow Thanksgiving guests tomorrow and see who eats 'English' and who 'American'.

  7. Oh and Elise, which way do YOU hold your fork knife? Is the 'british' style more prevalent in AU?

  8. Most Americans eat with the fork in the dominate hand, usually the right. Then in order to cut your meat, you have to switch your fork to your left hand, using the right to cut with the knife. When I first started working on ships, there were only three U.S. citizens working there. I got so tired of having everyone make fun of the way I ate, that I switched to the continental style which surely is more logical as one always uses the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right. No switching back and forth. I'm wondering if we eat using this different style in the States since we were such rebels to come over here and start a new country - trying to do things our own way. Does anyone else have any ideas about why we make eating more difficult than necessary? I've tried on occasion to eat "American" style so as to fit in a bit more now that I'm on land, but just manage to make a mess of it all. lol

  9. I have used both styles in the past. I like American style, but it can get cumbersome to switch back and forth.

    One thing I don't like about Continental use is that many people use the knife to push food onto the fork as well. Yuck! I see that a lot in South America.

  10. The British style is definitely the more prevalent in Australia. Though I sometimes eat things that don't require any cutting (like pasta for example) with the fork in my right hand, if I have anything on my plate that requires cutting I will eat the whole meal with the knife in my right and the fork in my left.

    It is interesting what Mei said about using the knife to push the food onto the fork. In the British style, it is extremely poor form to use the fork to shovel or spike food, like peas for example. Peas should either be sort of 'gathered together' with something else from the plate or if eaten by themselves they should be mashed onto the back of the fork using the knife.

    The American way of cutting the food and then transferring the fork to the right hand often results in the eater 'spiking' the piece of food. In the British style this is avoided by the use of the fork in the left and the knife in the right.

    Something that does seem to have fallen by the wayside here in Australia is the buttering of bread/rolls. Traditionally, one should not use a knife to cut a piece of bread or a dinner roll that is on one's side plate. It should be broken by hand and you should break off bite size pieces and butter them as you want them, not all at once. How does everyone else eat their dinner rolls/bread?

    Aussie K

  11. Hi Aussie K.. what can and can't be "spiked"?

  12. Hi, Aussie K. The proper way to butter bread or dinner rolls over here is to break off a piece and butter it when ready to eat it. So much of "proper" eating has fallen by the wayside. I think the bread thing might be in conjunction with the non-usage of bread plates and butter knives. My brother and I went to a very expensive buffet (Thanksgiving at the Don Cesar is a Thanksgiving ritual for us)and one of the things I noticed was the fact that there were no bread plates, butter knives or seafood forks. Except for the seafood forks, these are an everyday thing at my house.


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