Grandma’s 1914 Thanksgiving

The home Grandma lived in when she kept the diary.


Almost seven years ago I began this blog as a place to post my grandmother’s diary entries a hundred years to the day after she wrote them. She kept the diary for four years when she was a teen living on a farm in central Pennsylvania. After I completed posting all the diary entries, I changed the format to its current focus on food.

On this Thanksgiving day, I thought you might enjoy reading (or, for long-time readers, re-reading) what my grandmother wrote on Thanksgiving Day, 1914:

Thursday, November 26, 1914: Thanksgiving, have been having quite a long vacation. We had a Thanksgiving dinner for one thing. My taster was lacking due to a cold and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have. Carried a sassy goose down from town last Monday. The remains are in the pantry awating further digestion for the morrow. Wonder if that goose will keep me awake tonight.

Helena Muffly

Hundred-Year-Old Silver (25th) Wedding Anniversary Tablescape

Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1911)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1911)

Milestone wedding anniversaries are a cause for celebration both now and a hundred year ago. Here’s an old-time suggestion for a lovely silver (25th) wedding anniversary tablescape:

Inverted in a fern dish of the same metal a silver vase forms the fountain, the falling water being strands of silver tinsel. Feathery moss, violets, and lilies-of-the-valley are arranged in the top of the fountain; also border the “pool” which is a mirror. The silver dishes contain bonbons in violet, white, and pistachio.

Ladies Home Journal (November, 1911)

Children’s Easter Hats a Hundred Years Ago

Ladies Home Journal (March, 1913)
Ladies Home Journal (March, 1913)

This blog addresses mostly food-related topics, but the subtitle of A Hundred Years Ago says Food and More, so today I’m focusing on the More.

I found some awesome pictures of children’s Easter hats from a hundred years ago that I just needed to share. Amazingly, readers of Ladies Home Journal were encouraged to order patterns from the magazine so they could replicate these hats. Enjoy!

Ladies Home Journal March 1913 bA pretty feature of the hat is the plaited lace joined with tiny flowers at the brim edge.

Ladies Home Journal March 1913 aFine Tuscan straw was used for the pretty poke bonnet trimmed with flowers and bows of velvet ribbon.

Ladies Home Journal March 1913 cThis cap shades the eyes, fits snugly and only needs one good tug to put it on in the most secure manner. Then it has the additional attraction of being soft and small enough to slip into a boy’s pocket when necessary, all of which endears this peaked cap to the little man of the family. Lightweight cloth is the best material to use, with or without a thin sateen or silesia lining.

Ladies Home Journal (March, 1913)

Valentine Salad (Heart-Shaped Tomato Aspic with Hard Boiled Egg)

Valentine Salad 4

Several days ago I posted a list of food suggestions for a Valentine’s Day party from a hundred-year-old issue of Boston Cooking School Magazine. The magazine included the recipe for one of the suggestions –Valentine Salad–so, I decided to make it for my sweetheart.

Valentine Salad actually was an old-time tomato aspic  cut into heart shapes, with hard-boiled egg slices. The aspic is a jellied savory mixture of homemade tomato and other vegetable juices.

The presentation was a bit much with the heart-shaped lettuce and aspic, but the Valentine Salad had a surprisingly nuanced and sophisticated tangy tomato flavor. My husband said it tasted like a Bloody Mary without the alcohol.

Here’ s my adaptation of the original recipe for modern cooks:

Valentine Salad (Tomato Aspic with Hard-Boiled Egg

  • Servings: 2 - 3 servings
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

3 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 medium onion

3 cloves

1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)

3 parsley stems

1 stalk celery (chopped)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (1 packet) gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 hard-boiled egg (sliced)

Romaine lettuce leaves, cut into  heart shapes

mayonnaise (optional)

Combine tomatoes, onion, cloves, parsley, celery, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Reserve the juice.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the cold water. Then add to the gelatin mixture to the hot vegetable juice. Pour into a flat pan approximately 6″ X 6″. Refrigerate until firm.  Briefly dip bottom of  pan in hot water, then slide the jellied mixture onto a plate. Cut part of the jellied mixture into hearts about two inches in diameter. With a smaller cutter, cut the same number of hearts about 3/4 inch in diameter.

To  assemble – For each serving, place a lettuce leaf on a plate, top with a large heart. On top of the heart place a egg slice, followed by a small  heart. Garnish with small pieces of hard-boiled egg.

If desired serve with mayonnaise.

*The cooked vegetable mixture can used in a different recipe. For example, I served it over  rice.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Boston Cooking School Magazine (February, 1913)
Source: Boston Cooking School Magazine (February, 1913)