The Vintage Kitchen

1914 Thanksgiving Menu

A photo from 1914. A vase of autumn leaves sits on a table. Next to it sits a round silver tray holding three clear glass cups, a pottery pitcher, and a dish of candies next to it.
Warm mulled cider with ginger, 1914

Every year the magazines tout the best, the simplest, the oldest, the newest holiday recipes. The holiday is irrelevant; they publish recipes for holidays spring, summer, autumn, and winter. You might think this is a relatively new phenomenon. Nope. Today I bring you… a 1914 Thanksgiving Menu.

Just in case you believe that things were easier 100 years ago, I give you this up-to-date 1914 Thanksgiving Menu. Why 1914? Because in many ways 1914 was one of the last years for over the top meals on occasions like this. Menu planning did get simpler in the Twenties, and often the periodicals offered several different menus to match various tastes. Have small children at home? Try this menu. Want something vegetarian? Here’s one for you. Are you strapped for cash this year? Here’s a budget holiday meal.

But in 1914, that sensible attitude towards entertaining was still a few years off. Modern Priscilla, where I found this article, also included very few recipes considering the length of foods on this list.

This 1914 Thanksgiving menu gives you an appetizer, soup, meat dish, fish dish, vegetable sides, salad, and desserts. In short, everything that made a good meal in 1914 appears here. All at one time, course after course. Imagine making all this for say, a dozen guests and family!


Clam Cocktails Brown Bread Sandwiches
Cream of Mushroom Soup Croutons
Deviled Crabmeat on Corn Fritters
Roast Turkey Chestnut Stuffing Giblet Sauce
Escalloped Oysters
Mashed Potatoes Riced Turnips
Smothered Onions Celery
Cranberry Sauce
Cider Frappé
Cabbage Salad Cheese Straws
Indian Pudding Pumpkin Pie
Ice Cream with Maple Walnut Sauce
Fruit Nuts

Mulled Cider in the drawing room for after dinner

Can you imagine? One meal. Twenty four items. I would never survive putting on a spread like this. Of course, this assumes that anyone in 1914 eating meals of this stature had at least two servants in-house. Usually this would be a cook and someone to serve at the table. Otherwise you would spend your entire day cooking the meal, serving the meal, and removing the meal. When would you have time to eat?

When housekeepers started to do more on their own, meals became simpler. Someone finally realized that the average family did not need meat and fish in the same meal. One or the other would do. Soup remained a recommended starter for many years, however. And we still look forward to desserts today, although we usually settle for a prepared dessert or fruit rather than both options at once.

Most of the food options above you will have no trouble finding recipes to make. Indian Pudding is a pudding made from cornmeal and molasses and ginger that takes several hours to make.

If you’d like to offer a dessert other than Ice Cream with Maple Walnut Sauce to go along with the Pumpkin Pie, I suggest this 1917 Mocha Cake for coffee lovers on your guest list. It’s delicious and popular everywhere I take it.

I’ll leave you today with a recipe for Cider Frappé. I would like to give the recipe for Mulled Cider as well, but it contains raw eggs. I cannot imagine raw eggs in warm cider, so I’ll pass.

Cider Frappé for a 1914 Thanksgiving Dinner

Frozen cider to serve alongside roasted turkey or as a separate course, before the desserts.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Freeze in ice cream freezer2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Frappe, iced
Servings: 8 1/2-cup servings


  • Ice cream freezer


  • 1 quart apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 3 inch piece cinnamon


  • Boil all ingredients together for fifteen minutes.
  • Strain and cool.
  • Add to ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions until it reaches a mushy consistency.
  • Remove to the freezer in a covered container to set until needed.


Serve in glass cups with roast turkey or serve as a separate course