Monday, 20 December 2010

Two Famous Christmas Menus - Part 2 - 20th Window

Christmas Dinner at Mount Vernon.

The Christmas Menu of George and Martha Washington is a grand feast indeed, with archetypally American delights as squash, homily and cranberry already listed.

Perhaps American readers will tell me if this menu is at all typical of today's grand occasion, even if not all of these dishes would appear on the table at the same meal.

An Onion Soup called the King's Soup
Oysters on the Half Shell   Grilled Salt Roe Herring
Boiled Rockfish
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding   Mutton Chops
Roast Suckling Pig   Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing
Round of Cold Boiled Beef with Horse-radish Sauce
Cold Baked Virginia Ham
Lima Beans   Baked Acorn Squash
Baked Celery with Silvered Almonds
Hominy Pudding   Candied Sweet Potatoes
Cantaloupe Pickle   Spiced Peaches in Brandy
Spiced Cranberries
Mincemeat Pie   Apple Pie   Cherry Pie   Chess Tarts
Blancmange   Plums in Wine Jelly   Snowballs
Indian pudding
Great Cake   Ice Cream   Plum-Pudding
Fruits   Nuts   Raisins
Port   Madeira

A fine dinner, although some of the dishes are unknown to me.
Does anyone know why no wines are mentioned except the two at the end of the menu? Presumably, these two were served at the end of the meal to the men only, after the ladies had left the dining room.


  1. that is a lot of food...and you had me until lima beans...that is actually the only food i can not eat...

  2. wow! what a workout! i'd eat it all - including brian's share of the lima beans! steven

  3. I don't know if the lack of wine was a holdover from the Puritan days. And of course the poor women had to leave before the fun began. Our country was founded on that.

  4. Hi Friko - I can't get to your email address so here's mine:

  5. Oh gosh yes, that is just like my average Sunday dinner here for me and the dog, minus the lima beans of course:))
    That meal would truly be a"groaning board." Where would you even put wine.

  6. Your prior menu reminded me of "The Zookeeper's Wife" Have you read that book? The tragedy to this major zoo in Poland during and after the war was fascinating.

  7. I have so enjoyed your posts lately
    and this poem above was wonderful
    thank you for introducing me to it
    and I'll eat lima benas if they're hidden in something like soup
    Merry Christmas

  8. you make me feel hungry...
    awesome poem,
    delicious dinner.

    I wish I know answers to your question..
    Happy Monday!
    you are blessed.

  9. Greetings!
    Here is the end of the year awards 4 you, enjoy!

    End of The Year Awards 4 Friends of Jingle or Jingle Poetry Community

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    At this time of the year, We wish you all the best !

    Link up a poem to our potluck today, We send blessings all the way to brighten your day!

  10. This menu seems much more appealing than the last one! I was very curious about the "Great Cake," and here is what I found: .

    Interesting stuff in this menu!

  11. If I could throw dietary restrictions to the winds for once , I'd probably eat a bit of it all . Except for the boiled fish and the blancmange .... why were these staples of school dinners included ?
    Barely Hidden Greedy Person Of Leeuwarden .

  12. Well, I've had roast turkey and stuffing for Christmas dinner in the past, and I plan on serving a ham dinner this year. Mincemeat Pie, Apple Pie, Cherry Pie (my husband's family is big on pies -- they had 5 different kinds at Thanksgiving dinner this year), Candied Sweet Potatoes (sometimes called yams), and cranberry relish/jellies are all very common choices. If not serving pie, then cake & ice cream would be nice for dessert.
    As someone has already commented, that would definitely be a "groaning board" but the Washingtons almost always had guests; it was very rare for them to dine alone and fairly common to have at least a dozen extra people to feed for dinner. It's quite the treat to tour Mount Vernon and see the kitchens.

  13. Holy Smokes! That menu is insane (and not just because they forgot the wine! :-)

    Well, let's see if your Yankee friend can decipher? Rockfish, boiled beef and baked celery are the 3 that don't really exist anymore. The rest is pretty common.

    And, that Indian Pudding? It is DELIGHTFUL - molasses, nutmeg, cornmeal and buckets of butter!

    Merry Christmas Friko!

  14. I read back for a few posts I missed and the last menu had too much food for my liking. Probably the Puritans did not drink much wine and of course the ladies, no. Merry Christmas dear Friko to you and all your loved ones.

  15. Well that was a goodly list of the appetizers, bring on the mains!

  16. That is a lot of food! It is interesting how durable a number of the items are. Except for the surfeit of dishes, it could almost be a current menu--though these days, there would definitely be more mention of drink! Here's one that wasn't available then, but de rigueur as part of the modern mid-century (20th) spread: a melange of canned french green beans, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, and canned onion rings. Very important that everything is canned (!@?)

  17. baked celery? sounds nasty. I'm doing a hit and run in blogland. speaking of all this food, four g'kids are wanting breakfast.

  18. Very interesting. Makes me want to go back in time and sample it all. Wonder if it tastes different without GMOs and such.


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