The date of Thanksgiving was determined in a proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The proclamation read, in part:
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise … Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
A matter of weeks later, at three o’clock in the afternoon of November 26, a group Americans in London, England held a Thanksgiving Dinner “in accordance with the above Proclamation”, at St. James's Hall, Regent Street. The menu to which these patriotic expatriates sat down included roast turkey and pumpkin pie – along with so many other dishes that it surely makes even the most exhausting modern dinner seem like a pale imitation of the real thing.
A la Condè. Brunvillier. Bisque aux Écrevisses.
Turbot, Sauce Hollandaise.
Cabillaud, Sauce aux Huîtres.
Turbans de Filets de Merlans au Gratia.
Petites Bouchées garni de Coq de Bruyère.
Fricassée de Poulet à la Washington.
Côtelettes de Lièvre aux Truffes.
Ris de Veau piqué à l'Oseille. .
Pâté chaud de Poulardes aux Champignons.
Quenelles de Gibier à la Lincoln.
Dindons rôtis farci aux Truffes.
Poulardes braisé à la Prairie.
Oisons rôtis, Sauce aux Pommes.
Selle Mouton. Quartier de Beeuf.
Faisans. Perdreaux. Canards sauvages.
Gelée à la Macedoine. Crême d'Amérique.
Gelée à la Victoria. Suedoise d'Orange.
Crême de Maizena à la Glen Cove.
Abricôt a la Régence. Meringues Suisses à la Chantilly.
Gateaux à la Napolitaine. Patisserie assortie.
Pumpkin Pie à l'Americaine. Mince Pie à l'Anglaise.
Pouding à la Diplomatique. Pouding glace à la St. James.
I have chosen one of the simplest dishes on this menu to inspire the recipe for the day:
Smelt is a small fish much esteemed; but only a short time in season during the spring; has a beautiful green, silvery, shining colour; and a strong odour of violets, or cucumbers.
To fry Smelts. Eperlans frits.
Scale, gut, and wipe a sufficient quantity; if very small, pass a skewer through the eyes; dip them iu milk, and flour them; fry, and serve upon a napkin.
The Art of French Cookery (1827) by Antoine Beauvilliers.