Flashback Friday: Thanksgivings past, part 2


Welcome to Flashback Friday, where we continue our glance back at Thanksgivings past.  Last week, we talked about football, and President McKinley’s Thanksgiving proclamation.  If you missed it, click here for that post.

Today, we’re talking turkey.  Here’s a November 25, 1880 New York Times article, which details the abundance for sale – enough to make feast tables nearly groan with the weight of it all:

For the rest of the article, click here.

How can you spot a good turkey?  The “marketman” has some advice:

Norman Rockwell print, first published in “The Country Gentleman,” 1917. Image via best-norman-rockwell-art.com


Don’t you just love the part about the turkey’s “pleasant expression”?

What about slicing up the bird once it’s cooked and on your table?  Catharine Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, provides us with detailed instructions, along with hostess etiquette, in her 1843 Treatise on Domestic Economy:

Links for more Thanksgiving-related stuff, past and present:

Vintage Thanksgiving Postcards

Menu from Thanksgiving 1895

What do workers in Chinese restaurants and the Thanksgiving holiday have in common?  Jan Whitaker’s post explains.


Do you enjoy turkey on Thanksgiving, or do you have a less-traditional meal you prefer?  Whatever you serve, enjoy your holiday!

Until next time,


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16 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Thanksgivings past, part 2”

  1. KaraKara

    I have enjoyed reading your history of Thanksgiving. I love looking back and seeing what people ate during the holidays:)

  2. celeste schillerceleste schiller

    what will folks in the future think of us and OUR current day menus and celebrations? Good week to THANK you for your interesting and entertaining posts, Kath!!!

  3. J HolmesJ Holmes

    Hi KB. The post cards are cool. I didn’t know that people were sending Thanksgiving cards in 1895. sadly that means I am 116 years behind the times. Oh well.

    A happy Thanksgiving to all.

  4. Susie LindauSusie Lindau

    So awesome! I still need to order mine, but I did start hanging my Christmas lights today! Love the flash back idea!

  5. Julie GloverJulie Glover

    Fascinating flashback! Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday. I enjoy a traditional meal with turkey and southern cornbread dressing. Yum!

  6. Kerry MeachamKerry Meacham

    We always buy a deep fried Cajun turkey from “Bros” on Charlotte Avenue in Nashville. You have to order them at least a month in advance, or you won’t get one. When you go to pick it up, people are literally lined up out the door. Just getting the turkey is a fun experience. When you finally get in the small restaurant, the smells just ooze from the place. Damn, now I’m going to have to wipe the drool from my mouth. Then we get a Honey Baked Ham, too. All the other foods are made by family members. Dressing, cranberry sauce, turnip greens, cornbread, sweet potato casserole, cream corn, twice baked potatoes, deviled eggs, green beans, and then desserts of fudge pie, chocolate oatmeal cookies, coconut cake, ambrosia, and peanut brittle. Man, I can’t wait.

  7. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Interesting! Thanks, K.B.! I’ve enjoyed both feast varieties… One year I had a to-furkey picnic on the beach. I’m looking forward to a traditional turkey dinner this year… though I’ll miss lefse—Norwegian bread my family has each year. (I won’t, however, miss the lutefisk—aka “liquid fish.” blech! ;))

  8. Renee A. Schuls-JacobsonRenee A. Schuls-Jacobson

    I love this series! How funny that it was considered an “accomplishment” to know how to carve a turkey properly. Glurg.

    So happy to leave that chore to the guys! 😉


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