It’s Thanksgiving Time Again at Aunt Lil’s Kitchen

It’s the night before Thanksgiving and as I write this I’ve made two pumpkin pies (there’s a story which you will hear when I blog about dinner) and a cranberry molded jello salad. Tomorrow Dan will tackle the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, while I complete the line up with a very vintage green bean casserole.

I love looking for vintage recipes for Thanksgiving dinner and used old recipes for the pumpkin pie and cranberry salad. I also love reading the suggested menus printed in my cookbooks and magazines.

November issue, 1937

A new addition to my collection is the November 1937 American Cookery Magazine. This was the Food Network Magazine of its day and was published by the Boston Cooking School of Fannie Farmer fame. Whenever I see these magazines for sale at antique stores I grab them. They are filled with great recipes, household hints, and other fun tid-bits that bring the life of housewives of the period to focus.

Three potential menus are outlined for the hostess depending on what she chose as her main course, either Duck, Chicken, or Turkey. Here’s the suggestions:



If you prefer Duck…..

The recipe page

  • Cranberry Cup
  • Clear Mushroom Soup with Melba Toast
  • Thanksgiving Duck
  • Brussels Sprouts and Celery
  • Steamed Wild Rice
  • Carrot Straws and Olives
  • Golden Thanksgiving Salad
  • Steamed Fig Pudding with Hard Sauce
  • Coffee


If you prefer Chicken……(which by the way was an expensive item back then)

  • Thanksgiving Pumpkins
  • Clear Tomato Soup with crisp crackers
  • Chicken with Pecan stuffing
  • Diced turnip and peas
  • Candied sweet potatoes
  • Pickled honeydew rind
  • Radishes
  • Popcorn salad
  • Cranberry pie
  • Cheese
  • Coffee

And finally if you prefer Turkey…..

  • Old Colony Soup
  • Celery curls
  • Stuffed olives
  • Roast stuffed turkey
  • Giblet gravy
  • Mashed potato
  • Buttered onions
  • Squash with peanuts
  • Cranberry and avocado salad
  • Tiny pecan rolls
  • Orange sherbet in pumpkin molds
  • Nuts, raisins, coffee

Nary a pumpkin pie in sight! Two of the mentioned recipes caught my eye and they were included in the magazine. So in case your interested:

Thanksgiving Pumpkins – for a first course

  • Stamp circles from slices of bread that are 1/4″ think.
  • Saute lightly on one side (do they mean toast?)
  • Spread other side with an orange colored cheese (I’m thinking cheese wiz though that didn’t exist in the 30s…..)
  • Mix a little dark brown food coloring with 1/3 c. cream cheese that is softened and pipe the outside of the canape with it. Also use the dark brown to mark off sections like a pumpkin
  • Simulate a pumpkin stem from green pepper
  • Serve on a paper doily on a small plate

I’m so sorry I don’t have any Cheese Wiz and Cream Cheese on hand to try this for you……Although this isn’t quite what it would look like, here’s a similarly creative approach from

The other recipe is Popcorn Salad. As we all “know” the Pilgrims ate popcorn at Thanksgiving, so no doubt this unusual recipe is in homage to this food which was never served.

  • Pare and dice two good eating apples such as Golden, Jonathan, or one that is tart and tender
  • Cover the diced apples immediately with French dressing to which has been added one tbs. of grapefruit juice
  • Add a dozen white grapes
  • Six prunes, which have been cooked, drained, pitted and sliced
  • Let all of this stand until serving time
  • Lightly fold in 1 cup of fresh popped corn, measured after its popped
  • Garnish the salad bowl with lettuce

I will leave you with these tantalizing recipes and with you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. May all your food be home-cooked from scratch.


2 Responses to “It’s Thanksgiving Time Again at Aunt Lil’s Kitchen”

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  1. Melinda says:

    That popcorn salad is MOST unusual sounding! Have you tried it? And do you have the recipe for clear mushroom soup? Yum!

  2. Lisa says:

    No, I didn’t try the salad. I found it after planning the meal. But I might try it for fun. I;ll get back with you on the soup recipe. Its in the other room….

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