Happy Week After Thanksgiving, y’all!
I hope all of you had wonderful and feasty Thanksgivings. I have just returned to my lair from NYC, and I am fully prepared to share this years Thanksgiving menu with you. This year was my 2nd Annual Brooklyn Thanksgiving (remember last years?), in which I decamp from DC to NYC to make an insane amount of food with my twin, Alice. This year, however, had a bit of a twist.
Foodbuzz is a "social network for foodies" that helps create a community for food bloggers all over the world. Each month they sponsor Foodbuzz 24,24,24 (24 meals, 24 blogs, 24 hours). Bloggers submit a proposal for a unique meal/experience/whatever that will be featured by Foodbuzz. This month, mine was selected!
I proposed a Thanksgiving menu comprised of recipes from the 1964 Nashville Junior League Cookbook. My mother gave me this cookbook one year for Christmas, both for the fun of looking back at how people ate in 1964 and for the presence of many of my relatives and their included recipes. The dishes from this cookbook run the gamut from delicious to perplexing (Grape and olive salad? Tuna Princess? Congealed beet salad?).
The menu I ended up with was based on assumed level of tastiness and our ability to find the ingredients. They are also mostly from the kitchens of my relatives. Per usual, this year's gathering would be taking place in my sister's spacey Bushwick apartment in Brooklyn, NY. It is a fourth floor walk up in an old belt factory, and filled with artists and a plethora of young people– the perfect place to mix up with the civilized '60s of the South with modern day living and eating.
Here are few examples of some of the menus from the book. They are categorized by season, and all the recipes (and more) come after. How fun do either of these parties sound? I'm positive the women in attendance were were wearing white gloves. (If any family reading this knows more, tell me!)
This meal was unique because of the dishes themselves. They are from another era, a time when cooking from cans was all the rage. The way we eat, cook and think about food has changed so drastically since then. Back then it was the era of convenience- now it is all about eating fresh, local and trumping each new fad as it comes along. I love that these recipes came from the kitchens of the ladies of Nashville, in a time when restaurants were not the temples of gourmet food that they have now become, and the Food Network was inconceivable. This book is a marker of times past, but also a treasure trove of Southern favorites; I often turn to it for something new (and old) to make.
Baked Apples Filled with Spiked Sweet Potatoes
Wash and core, without cutting all the way through, the required number of Winesap apples. Pare apples, making certain to leave some skin around the bottom. Place apples in a baking dish, preferably one in which apples can be served. Fill each center with sugar, lemon rind (grated), and a lump of butter. Pour into dish one tablespoon of water for each apple. Cook uncovered in a hot oven until they are tender, basting often. Test with straw after 35 minutes. Do not overcook. Mash cooked and peeled sweet potatoes. Beat potatoes until fluffy. Beat in butter, salt, a little nutmeg, cinnamon, cream or sherry, molasses orr brown sugar. Fold in chopped pecans and raisins. Fill apple with sweet potato mixture, leaving a tablespoon or so of the mixture on top of apple. Place marshmallow on each apple. Bake again in moderate oven until hot. Turn on broiler to toast marshmallows the last thing.
Mrs. Livingfield More (My second cousin, Aggie)
Fruit Compote10 winesap apples
1 small can of apricot halves
2 tbsp crushed pineapple
2 tbsp seedless raisins
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
juice of one lemon
Peel, core and quarter apples in a casserole dish. Add apricot halves, crushed pineapple, seedless raisins and simply syrup (water and sugar cooked together until it thickens). Sprinkle with grated nutmeg and bake in moderate over for about 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Serves 8. May be prepared in advance.
Wild Rice Supreme3- 12 ounce cans of pre-cooked Nokomis all-purpose wild rice
2 small cans button mushrooms
1 medium can water chestnuts
3 tbsp butter
Combine wild rice, mushrooms, water chestnuts and butter. Put into pyrex dish and bake just until it’s piping hot, or heat in double boiler. Light topping of grated cheese if desired. Serves 8.Can be done in advance and reheated. Unbelievably good to be so simple.
4 cups flour, sifted
2/3 cups lard
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cream
½ cup milk
Mix together and roll until dough blisters and pops. Dough should be slick like marble. Cut out biscuits, prick twice with fork on tops and place on the middle rack of a 300 degree oven, preheated. When biscuits begin to brown on the bottom, turn oven to 250 degrees and continue to cook until a little color appears on the top of the biscuits…slightly pinkish. Turn off oven, open door but leave biscuits in to continue to dry out. This is not an original recipe but is very good. Makes about 4 dozen.
Mrs. Walter Stokes, Jr. (No relation, just a good recipe!)
Caviar Sour Cream Egg HalvesCaviar (we used paddlefish caviar)
½ pt sour cream
1 tbsp chives
1 dozen small eggs, hard-boiled
This is to be served in a frozen mold. To make mold, fill large silver bowl with water, place in center of bowl a plastic bowl for the sour cream and one for the caviar, or use a divided container. Weight the container and freeze. When ready to serve loosen the container and replace with caviar and sour cream. Place on silver tray with glass liner if possible. Put halved eggs around the edge and garnish with parsley. Spread sour cream and caviar on eggs and eat.
Mrs. Louise Fort Linton (Second cousin)
In addition to these retro treats, friends brought lots of goodies, such as turkey marinated in duck fat, green beans and lots of yummy desserts. All in all, I had a great time making family dishes, and reexamining the recipes from 1964 Nashville. And no matter where you are and what the year is, the combination of food, family and friends is always in style.