Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in the State of Connecticut, 1817.

I have no idea how many turkeys will be eaten at Thanksgiving this year, nor of the number of pumpkin pies,  nor indeed of the quantities of any other of the standard dishes for the day. I can tell you, however, how many were consumed at Thanksgiving  in Connecticut in 1817 – assuming, that is, that the information in Niles' Weekly Register (Vol. XVI) of 1819 is accurate.

From the New-York Commercial Advertiser. Messrs. Lewis and Hall, - to shew the immense quantity of provisions &c. consumed in Connecticut at thanksgiving, I send you a calculation, made as accurate as possible, calculating the number of families in the state, which I think is not far from being correct.

Bill of fare for thanksgiving dinner in Connecticut, Nov. 1817.

Geese              50,000             DESSERT
Turkeys           5.550               Pumpkin pies               520,000
Chickens         65,000             Apple pies                   100,000
Ducks              2,000               Other pies and
Beef & Pork    25,000 lbs        puddings                     52,000
Potatoes          12,000 bush.    Wine                            gall. 150
Turnips            14,000             Brandy                         150
Beets               4,000               Gin                              120
Onions             5,000               Rum                            1,000
Cheese             10,000 lbs.       Cider, Brandy and     
Apple sauce     12,000 gall.                 Whiskey          600
Cranberry do.  1,000

Which would take 650 hhds. strained pumpkin; 81 do. of molasses; 4060 lbs. ginger; 7000 lbs. allspice; 86,665 hhds. of milk of 100 galls. Each; 1000 nutmegs; 50 lbs. cinnamon; 43,333 dozen eggs – all which would weigh about 504 tons, and would cost about 114,000 dollars.

As the recipe for the day I give you a simple apple sauce from an American cookery book of the same era as the above story.

Apple Sauce, for Goose or roast Pork.
Pare, core, and slice, some apples; and put them in a stone jar, into a saucepan of water, or on a hot hearth. If on a hearth, let a spoonful or two of water be put in, to hinder them from burning. When they are done, bruise them to a mush, and put to them a piece of butter the size of a nutmeg, and a little brown sugar. Serve it in a sauce-tureen,
American Domestic Cookery: Formed on Principles of Economy,

for the Use of Private Families (1823) by Maria Rundell.

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