Historical Cooking Books – 77 in a series – Menus for the Christmas dinner (1927) by United States. Department of Agriculture

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Historical Cooking Books – 77 in a series – Menus for the Christmas dinner (1927) by United States. Department of Agriculture

Historical Cooking Books - 77 in a series - Menus for the Christmas dinner (1927) by United States. Department of Agriculture

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Housekeepers’ Chats


Thurs.,Dec. 22, 1927

Subject: “Menus for the Christmas Dinner.” Information, .including menus and
recipes, from Bureau of Home Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture,


Last night, after the dishes were done, and I had settled down to plan
Christmas dinners, who should call me up “but my Next*-Door~Neighbor .

“Aunt Sammy,” said she, “please invite me over. I’ll promise not to say a
wo rd , all evening,’ if you’ll let me come over and sew, while you plan your radio
program. “

Of course I told her to come on over, and “bring her sewing. Her sewing.,
proved to “be a sampler, which she is making for her kitchen.

“Don’t you like it, Aunt Sammy?” asked rny Neighbor. “It will lend a touch of
decoration to my plain kitchen walls, and besides, I like the motto, Howts this,
to hang above the sink?

” ‘”Then we on simple rations sup,
How easy is the washing up,
But heavy feeding complicates
The task, by soiling many incites, 1 “

“Quite appropriate,” I said, ‘”since you never were particularly fond of wash^-
ing dishes,”

“You are right,” said my Neighbor. “I do not really mind washing dishes, but
still and all, I can’t say that I get an authentic thrill, out of doing them, I
shall have plenty of dishes to ?/ash, on Christmas day, for I have invited seven
people to eat dinner at my house, I’m planning my work ahead of time, for, as I
read somewhere recently, ‘, . . the hostess should remember that her serene, un-
troubled, presence, at the dinner-table, means more to her guests than an elabor-
ate menu, or service,’ I knew that I would not be a ‘serene and untroubled’
hostess, unless I used a little common sense. So I planned my work ahead of time,
and selected dishes which can be made Friday and Saturday. I don’t intend to
spend my Christmas day in the kitchen. Want to hear my plans, Aunt Sammy?”

“Surely,” I said, “begin with the fruit cocktail, and describe each course.”

“The fruit cocktail,” repeated my Neighbor. “I’m not having a fruit cocktail.
I’m going to start right in with the main course, who needs a fruit; cocktail,
or soup, before turkey and fixings? I shall eliminate the first course. This
means fewer dishes to serve , and fewer dishes to wash. Besides, if I start with
the main course, there will be more room for the festive plum pudding dessert.

“Turkey heads my menu. I shall prepare the turkey for roasting, and make the
stuffing, on Saturday, Then, on Christmas day, I can stuff the turkey, and sew
it up, ready for the oven, in a short time. Most any kind of Christmas meat can

be prepared the day “before. Take a fat fowl, for instance. It might “be simmered
until tender, on Saturday. Then, about an hour before dinner time, heat up the
dressing, ‘which was also prepared the day before, stuff the chicken, and brown it
quickly, in the oven. Or, if baked ham holds the place of honor, boil it a day
or two beforehand and let it stand in a cold place, in the liquor in which it was
boiled. On Christmas day, reheat the ham, in the liquor in which it was cooked,
skin it, cover it with bread crumbs and sucrar, stick in a few cloves, and put it
in the oven for a final browning, just before dinner.

“Letts see, what next? Fotatoes, White potatoes to be s calloped , or sweet
potatoes to be candied, may be cooked the day before, and arranged in a baking-
dish, ready for the final cooking. .The green vegetable — spinach, cauliflower,
Brussels sprouts, or ‘what hove you . — may be washed and prepared for the pat, a.
day ahead of time,

“Cranberry sauce, or jelly, can be made two or three days before Christmas,
and set away in a cold place. Celery can be washed, wrapped well, and put in
a cold place.

“The salad — I’ll have either tomato aspic or grapefruit — can also be
fixed on Saturday. The lettuce and salad dressing will be all ready for last-
minute combination. I’ve found that lettuce gets crisper, and more attractive,
if it’s washed, covered, and allowed to stand, in a very cold place, for a few .
hours before it is served.

“How, the dessert. My plum pudding has been made for days. I shall reheat
it, just in time to serve. Mince pie, also, could be baked a da^r or two early.
Or a mousse of cream and shredded pineapple, or other flavoring, might be packed
down in ice and salt, the day before* and turned out in a frozen mold at dinner
time. If the weather is very cold, the mousse could be set outdoors, and the
weather will do the rest. Of course, the fruit cake, to serve with the mousse,
was baked some time ago.

“Coffee, candy, a.nd nuts, conclude my menu, and I hope to present a ‘serene
and untroubled countenance 1 — even while my husband carves the turkey. Speak-
ing of husbands,” said my Neighbor, suddenly, “I’d better go home and see whether
mine. has bought the holly and tinsel he promised to get.”

“Without more ado, my Neighbor picked up her sewing, and went home, I was
glad she came, because she really has excellent practical ideas about meal plan-*
ning, and cooking.

If you’re ready to write them now, I’ll give you two Christmas dinner menus
— neither one of them “different” — but who wants to be “different”, at
Christmas time?

Menu Number One includes: Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts,
Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Jelly, Celery Hearts, C-rapefru.it Salad, Plum Pudding
with Orange Plavored Hard Sauce, Coffee, and Nuts.

The recipes for Cranberry Jelly, and Plum Pudding, are in the Radio Cook-
book. A liquid sauce, a foamy sauce, or a hard sauce is suitable for plum
pudding. I’m going to use a hard sauce, made of 4 ingredients:

l/4 cup of butter l/2 teaspoon vanilla, -and

3/4 cup powdered sugar l/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Perhaps I’d better repeat that, i?or the Hard Sauce, use: (Repeat in-

Cream together the butter and sugar-. Add* the vanilla and nutmeg. The
secret of creamy hard sauce lies in long beating. Chill the sauce, before you
serve it. To vary the flavor, grate in the rind of an orange. That makes a
delicious sauce, If you don’t care for a sauce on ycur plum pudding, serve
a spoonful of vanilla ice cream, or mousse, on the plate wijbh the hot pudding.

My second Christmas dinner menu is as follows; Roast Goose, Browned Onions,
Scalloped S?/eet Potatoes and Apples, Currant Jelly, Celery Hearts, Caramel
Ice Cream, Fruit Cake, Coffee, and Nuts.

The recipe for Sweet Potatoes, with Apples is in the Radio Cookbook, but I
shall broadcast it, for those who do not yet have their cookbooks. Pour in-
gredients, for Sweet Potatoes with Apples:

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes l/2 cup sugar, and

4 medium-sized apples. 3 tablespoons butter,

Wash the sweet potatoes, and cook them in their skins, in boiling water.
Cool and skin. Cut the potatoes and apples into slices. Place in alternate
layers, in a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle sugar over each layer. Add a-
little water, and bake until apples and sweet potatoes are soft, and brown on

That’s all, till Friday.

See More:

Publication date 1927
Topics ChristmasMenus PlanningFormulas, recipes, etcCooking
Publisher [Washington, D.C.] : United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Radio Service
Collection usda-housekeeperschatusdanationalagriculturallibraryfedlinkamericana
Digitizing sponsor U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library
Contributor U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library
Language English
Volume 1927

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