Thanksgiving here to stay …end of Civil War brings embracing of holiday


Thanksgiving here to stay
  • Posted November 22, 2013

While the Pilgrims held the first American Thanksgiving in 1621, its celebration was rather sporadic after that - for more than 200 years! It was finally established as an annual national holiday in 1863.

The Smithsonian Encyclopedia tells us;

Historic-Henry-House-at-Manassas-National-Battlefield-Park.jpg
sarah josepha hale portrait Most of the credit for the establishment of an annual Thanksgiving holiday may be given to Sarah Josepha Hale. Editor of Ladies Magazine and Godey's Lady's Book, she began to agitate for such a day in 1827 by printing articles in the magazines. She also published stories and recipes, and wrote scores of letters to governors, senators, and presidents. After 36 years of crusading, she won her battle. On October 3, 1863, buoyed by the Union victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln proclaimed that November 26, would be a national Thanksgiving Day, to be observed every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), circa

Mrs. Hale's writings inspired homemakers to embrace Thanksgiving and offered up recipes for “new" dishes such as, sage dressing, creamed onions, mashed turnips, and mashed potatoes. She covered desserts as well, including a most interesting apple pudding. Doesn't its ingredient list make you want to re-create a taste of history?

Sarah Josepha Hale's Apple Pudding
SJH Apple Pudding
  • 6 very large green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into slices
  • 6 oz. (2/3 cup) brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 9-inch uncooked pie crusts or 9-inch round puff pastry crusts
  • Candied lemon peels for garnish (optional)

The full recipe, in an interesting article on Sarah Josepha Hale, can be found on Tori Avey's site

Beyond Turkey and Taters

Those first Thanksgiving dinners enjoyed at the end of the 19th century offered up a selection of wild and domestic meats, fish and poultry that varied depending on where the celebrants lived. Vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, beans, beets, peas, onions, radish, apple and pumpkin became go to choices - with regional additions such as cranberries, citrus, pomegranate, collards and more. Why not try a few new dishes yourself this year?


Here are 4 to get you started:

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Thanksgiving here to stay