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Traditional Christmas Dinner, 1920s

By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 12/15/2020

Lucknow dining room set for dinner and decorated for Christmas

Anyone else a foodie? As a foodie and an obsessive planner, I spend outrageous amounts of time planning holiday meals (for instance in a non-quarantine year, I would start planning Christmas dinner in October). Some aspects of the meal are based on familial tradition, like the turkey on Thanksgiving or having a roast beef and béarnaise sauce on Christmas but for other pieces, like side dishes and desserts I like to play around on Pinterest, look through cookbooks and take inspiration from our travels.

This week, I’d like to share with you some traditional Christmas foods that were popular in the 1920s (the period that we interpret Lucknow as). We don’t have the diary of Tom or Olive so these menus and recipes are based on general traditions of the time.

A traditional Christmas meal for a middle class family would include plum pudding, a fruit cake, and a roasted chicken. Dessert would be an assortment of cakes and cookies, and stockings would be filled with apples, oranges, walnuts, candy canes and raisins. Perhaps as a special treat, champagne would be served with the meal![1]

A wealthier family may celebrate Christmas with deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, cheese boards, olive and seafood platters, spiced ham, roasted nuts (enter singing voice “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”), salmon mousse, Waldorf salad, turkey and gingerbread. Cocktails made from champagne and gin would be a common pairing with this meal.[2]

Since Tom was raised in a French Canadian family, perhaps he and Olive celebrated “réveillon”. This French tradition dates back to the 1700s. After attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve, families would return home and feast until dawn. Food was the main focus of this celebration, and the menu often included tourtière (a meat pie), ragout de boulettes (meatballs in brown gravy), les pattes de porc (pigs’ feet), and potatoes. Dessert was often a homemade, jam-filled donut or a bûche de Noël. At réveillon, men would indulge in a hard liquor drink like rum or whiskey and women would have sweet wine or a higher quality French wine if it were available to them[3].

Enjoy some recipes for the foods mentioned above, linked below – maybe you can try something new this holiday season! What’re you planning on cooking up?

Tiny Tim’s Plum Pudding

Salmon Mousse Cups

Jazzy Gelatin (for your Jell-O mold!)

Réveillon Tourtière

Ragout de boulettes

Bûche de Noël

[1] https://blog.wooga.com/christmas-in-the-1920s-a-junes-journey-holiday-party-guide-db6b16fa02ba

[2] https://blog.wooga.com/christmas-in-the-1920s-a-junes-journey-holiday-party-guide-db6b16fa02ba

[3] https://www.tvo.org/article/why-french-canadians-kick-off-christmas-with-an-all-night-feast#:~:text=The%20main%20focus%20of%20the,incredibly%20tender)%2C%20and%20potatoes.

 

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Winter dining and snowmobile access to the Carriage House are not available this winter. Click here to learn about other ways to enjoy the trails!
Please be sure to read this note on our limited hiker parking.

Winter dining and snowmobile access to the Carriage House are not available this winter. Click here to learn about other ways to enjoy the trails!
Please be sure to read this note on our limited hiker parking.