Canadian Thanksgiving has always been a celebration of thanks – thanks for the harvest, but also thanks for our family and friends, and the community that supports us. Thanksgiving is all about sincerity, authenticity, taking time to savour the moment. It’s no wonder that it’s also all about the food! Whether it’s a gala meal or a simple offering, the main event of Thanksgiving is when everyone gathers around the table together. Many such dinners even include an invitation before the meal begins for everyone to state what they are thankful for this year.
In 1930, Maclean’s magazine printed a featured article about Thanksgiving, including a suggested menu for the meal. It’s interesting because the meal is not much different than today, with the exception that raisins and nuts were often set out as part of a meal in small dishes, reserved for that purpose.
The description of “the feast” is also a reminder to us all about the need to remember simplicity, nutrition, and the reason behind the occasion – to give thanks.
“It should be typical of the feast – festive enough to suit the occasion but not so elaborate that it taxes the purse unduly or makes too many demands upon the housekeeper’s strength and time. Even for “company” meals, dietetic principles should not be entirely overlooked.
“Sometimes on holiday celebrations we eat “not wisely but too well,” but the dietary habits of the present generation have made the groaning board less common. The simpler meal is now more welcome. But it must be well chosen, well prepared and served; each course delicious and combining to make the whole satisfying and appealing.”
The 1930s Menu
- Honey Dew Melon Balls
- Cranberry Jelly Relishes
- Roast Stuffed Turkey
- Sweet Potatoes en Casserole
- Creamed Cauliflower
- Molded Beet Salad
- Pumpkin Pie
- Clear Soup
- Roast Chicken
- Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Squash
- Spiced Cranberries
- Jellied Fruit Salad
- Ice Cream & Caramel Sauce
Some simple substitutions are provided, another reminder that everyone’s celebration should suit their own needs and budget:
- Chicken may be substituted for the turkey
- Soup may form the first course, omitting the melon cup, or soup may be served as a second course if a more elaborate meal is desired. If soup takes the place of the melon, a fruit salad may replace the molded vegetable one.
- Instead of the pumpkin pie, mince pie or carrot pudding is acceptable and ice cream is always well liked.