Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1 December 1956 “ Thanksgiving Photos and Lessons for Children Also Good For Adults”

I haven’t posted any Thanksgiving photos as of yet, so I thought I would today. As usual, while in the midst of enjoying the day, I forget to take more photos. The turkey was so lovely and I have no picture of it. There were other things as well including my guests who, for the most part, dressed vintage or else dressed up.
 thanksgivingcard[6] I shared with you before the little name cards I had made for place-settings. You can see how I used them here.thanksgivingdinnersettingI made my ‘rose bud’ or ‘Bishop’s Hat’ folded napkin and placed these inside. What you can’t notice here is the little menu card, which sits above the plate above the dessert spoon and fork. It looked like this.thanksgivingmenu[3] We had no salad, so there was just a dinner fork and soup spoon and dinner knife. I used bread plates and knives and we had champagne, wine and water glass. I used my antique Sandwich glass water glasses (the red ones) and dark green napkins, to sort of hearld the coming Christmas holiday.thanksgivingdinnersetting2 Here is another view of the table. I served most dishes from a sideboard, so the table was free to have arrangement, candles and not too much fuss.
We had nibbles before hand and some lovely vintage 1950’s punchpunch I also served egg nog (spiked or not) in my mothers hobnail set of white glass pitcher and glasses. I also used milk glass punch cups.
     brownbreadWith dinner, besides rolls, I served Brown Bread. This is a traditional New England bread. It is often served with franks and beans. Many buy it ready made at any grocer in a can and heat it up. It is then sliced. I wanted to make homemade version and it could not have been easier. I shall add this to the list of things I will no longer buy pre-made. 
I used a pudding tin, but if you hadn’t one you can steam it (as is often done) in a coffee can. You simply butter it, fill it about 1/3 of the way with the batter and tie tin-foil over the top.
I, however, have a few pudding tins. So, I used my ‘bundt’ shape. brownbread2 Here it is ready to be covered and steamed. You only fill it that little way, as it steams about 3 hours and fills up the tin nicely.brownbread3Here it is all closed up and ready for its steam. Here is the recipe I use, it was from my Fanny Farmer Cookbook. I also used our locally ground rough corn meal, which was lovely and rather pretty in the cut bread.
Here is the recipe: brownbreadrecipe I also made local cranberries. They are so pretty that I had to share them in their natural state.cranberries1cranberries2 I know many people buy canned cranberries, but honestly they couldn’t be easier to make. You literally place them and sugar in a pot to boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Add what you like, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange or lemon zest, even frozen blueberries are wonderful in them. And the color is amazing. One guest even commented on the true red color (and how they matched the cranberry water glasses-planned on my part I might add, a homemaker is always thinking ahead) and asked if they were dyed. No, of course not, just by nature.
I also used Shitake mushrooms in my stuffing as well as in my homemade version of Green Bean Casserole. The Casserole was lovely. As I said, I have never liked the canned soup, canned fried onion casserole, when I have tried it, but this was lovely. I made homemade cream of mushroom soup with butter and cream and shitake mushrooms and even made my own little battered and fried onion rings. It was really delicious and very hearty.
mushrooms   I had to share this close up of the mushrooms, as I couldn’t help getting a photo. These things were all prepared before the actual day, so I was more camera-ready, then on the actual day. No pictures of me, rather bad on my part.
I wore a grey wool pencil skirt and grey and blue plaid blouse with ruffles down the front and my blue pearl 1950’s earrings. It was really a lovely day and we all had such fun. And, of course, no TV, just music laughter and great conversation.
Now, to continue on our Christmas Preparations path, I thought I would share these great little hints about children at Christmas. I really believe this is good advice for all of us, child or not.xmaslesson4Of course, making a Christmas fund is always a good idea. Since our voyage to the 1950’s we have set budgets on our Christmas buying, which we really never did before. I often didn’t know what I had spent until January, very bad indeed. And, as this is our second Christmas in the 1950’s, we have even reduced our Christmas spending budget. This  has encouraged us to spend less time in the stores and more time anticipating our time together. We shall have a cocktail party, a tree trimming party and of course our Family Christmas Even Party to look forward to. I will also be making some gifts this year.
 xmaslessons1 xmaslesson2Here we can see that indeed, making our own gifts and decorations can be fun and really mean more in the end. When we think of each day as building good memories for the future, we can see how heartfelt or even silly but well thought gifts will mean more in our older days.
 xmaslesson3 I like this advice about gift wrapping and allowing the children, no matter if it is a ‘mess’ to do it. Good advice I think, though helping a child to do a good job, is of course a good idea in any task. xmaslesson5This last advice to allow the child to take his time to deliberate on his gift buying is also a good adult bit of advice. If we take more time over less gifts, they will be better received for having been better considered, in my opinion. The fast quick ‘in and out’ buying  is exactly how we over-spend and no time more than at Christmas is this likely to happen.
So, let’s keep working towards our Home-Made Christmas and as always, Happy Homemaking.


  1. Your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful. What a kick, that you added a gourmet-modern twist to the classic 1950s green bean casserole ... vintage meets 2010!

  2. Your set table is a thing of beauty, and I heartily agree that fresh cranberry sauce is a snap to make and MUCH better than that jellied stuff from a can.

  3. Donna, what a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner you prepared. It must have been so fun.
    I have never even thought of making Boston Brown Bread before. I love that stuff. I will save your recipe and give it a try. I have made home-made Cranberry sauce before and it was very easy and tasted so yummy.
    I think the article for children was such a good one. In our family we never made or bought presents for each other until we were grown up. We did make alot of Christmas decorations though and that was so fun.
    Julie in Wa

  4. Wow, you did a lot! I love that you wrote your menu in French.

    DH cooked this year. He brined the turkey and it came out so good! I made a beet orange salad and a pumpkin roulade, both recipes from Ina Garten.

  5. Wonderful! No wonder you got so many compliments. The family and dear friends who appreciate the time you spent in the kitchen, baking with love. You made me rethink consumerism at Christmas, this year I'm going to cut costs and do more things at home with family, thanks for that point of light in me.

  6. It all looks beautiful - I'm not sure you can get fresh cranberries over here though, more's the pity

  7. Freaky my grandmother had that exact same punch bowl they must have been giving it away at the local A&P back in the 60s

    Is that Anchor Hocking?

  8. Your table with the red water glasses and green napkins looks beautiful. And very elegant menu cards. I wish I was invited! :)


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