Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Army Thanksgiving, 1943.

For those of you who have spent time in the military, or have friends or family members who have done so, or if you are simply grateful for those who have served in this way, I dedicate this post.

I give you a couple of newspaper reports on the plans for Thanksgiving in the army, at the height of World War II.

Washington, Oct 26: The Thanksgiving Day menu for the Army consists of fruit cup, roast turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, buttered peas, corn, tomato and lettuce salad, celery, pickles, pumpkin pie, apples, grapes, candy, nuts and coffee. The War Department, in announcing the menu today, said every effort would be made to provide these courses even in combat zones.
New York Times, October 27, 1943

Army in Italy to Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving.
Allied Headquarters, Algiers, Nov. 14.
United States army quartermasters today promised turkey, cranberry sauce, real butter and pie to American troops in Italy, Sicily, and North Africa for their Thanksgiving dinner. “Only extraordinary battle conditions can interfere with the delivery” of feasts even to troops in the front lines, it was added.
The menu: chilled grapefruit juice, cream of tomato soup, roast Vermont turkey and nut dressing, with giblet gravy, June peas, cranberry sauce, boiled fresh onions, candied fresh sweet potatoes, pineapple and cheese salad, mayonnaise dressing, sweet mixed pickles, hard candy, pumpkin or apple pie, bread, butter, and coffee.
Washington Post, November 16, 1943

Recipes for the Day:

I don’t know how ‘traditional’ pineapple and cheese salad is at Thanksgiving, but the concept certainly intrigued me. I love pineapple, and I love cheese, but there is something about the combination that did not at all appeal. I looked into it, and was surprised by the range of interpretations.

I give you several of these variations, including one from my home state of Queensland, where we do grow a vast quantity of fabulous pineapples.

Pineapple and Cheese Salad
Cottage cheese balls rolled in chopped nuts, served on a slice of pineapple, make a delicious salad.
Farmers Bulletin, Issues 1451-1475 (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1928)

Pineapple and Cheese Salad
Mix equal parts of mild cheese, chopped celery and chopped walnuts. Moisten with cream and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Roll into small balls and place on pineapple or pears.
Cookbook, by the Eureka American Legion Auxiliary (Eureka CA, 1920)

Pineapple and Cheese Salad.
On a crisp lettuce leaf lay one slice of canned pineapple. Fill center with freshly grated Tillamook or Eastern cheese. Add a spoonful of mayonnaise on top, dust with paprika, and serve.
Choice Recipes, by Order of the Eastern Star, (Sacramento, CA, 1920)

Pineapple and Cheese Salad.
Pineapple, Lettuce, Cottage cheese, French dressing, Currant jelly.
Divide each ring of pineapple in segments, but keep in circular shape. Rub a cream cheese through a colander and full the hole in the pineapple. Drop a teaspoon of currant jelly on each mound of cheese. Garnish with lettuce, and serve with French dressing made with lemon juice instead of vinegar.

Frozen Pineapple and Cheese Salad.
Soften 1 tsp of granulated gelatine in 2 tbsp of cold water for 5 min, set over hot water, and stir till dissolved. Mash 2 - 3 oz packages of cream cheese and add 3 tbsp cooked salad dressing, ¼ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp paprika and 2 drops of Worcestershire sauce. Combine 1 c. crushed pineapple, drained of its juice, with the gelatine, and add to the cream cheese mixture. When thoroughly mixed fold in ½ c. cream whipped. Turn into a refrigerator tray and chill until set. Cut into squares and arrange 4 or 5 squares on each individual bed of lettuce. Garnish with French dressing and serve. Serves 10
[note: this is chilled, not frozen!]
Good Housekeeping, Vol 92. Number 2, 1931

Pineapple and Cheese Salad.
INGREDIENTS: 1 small rough-skin pineapple, 2 or 3 oz. cream cheese, 2 tablespoons boiled dressing, savoury cream or mayonnaise, 3 gherkins, red pepper, lettuce leaves. Peel, core, and slice pineapple. Arrange crisp, green lettuce leaves on salad plate and place slices of pineapple in a ring with slices overlapping each other. In the middle of each pineapple slice arrange a spoonful of cream cheese and sprinkle with red pepper. Heap in the centre of the salad the mayonnaise or cream mixed with chopped gherkin. Garnish with sliced gherkin. If you have no cream cheese, grate up two ounces of matured cheese and moisten with cream.
Courier Mail (Brisbane, Queensland) 22 November 1940

For a previous military Thanksgiving menu, see


Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

I have a large container of cottage cheese and pineapple cubes in my refrigerator which I "liberated" from the dining room salad bar where I live. Serves as a great lunch!

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Elise,Alys. 'Liberated' food is extra tasty, I find! I love both cottage cheese and pineapple, I am just not committed to them being mixed on the same plate and covered with dressing. Not sure why, but there it is, one of my food prejudices uncovered.