9 Vintage Thanksgiving Side Dishes We Shouldn’t Bring Back

H. Armstrong Roberts/iStock via Getty Images
H. Armstrong Roberts/iStock via Getty Images

We all have that relative—the one who’s been bringing Miracle-Whip-bound pimiento-pea salad to Thanksgiving dinner since time immemorial. Although you may swear the recipe came straight from the devil, it turns out that lime Jell-O salads and their ilk were all the rage back in the day. Here are some more examples of vintage Thanksgiving recipes that should stay firmly in the past.

1. Cranberry-Mayo-Jell-O Candle Salad

Nothing complements the tart, refreshing flavor of cranberry sauce like gelatin mixed with salty, sulfurous mayo. This recipe also tells you to mold the mixture into cylinders, "garnish with real mayonnaise," and shove a real candle in there. Then, light it. Ostensibly, you’re supposed to eat around the melted wax, but we can’t be sure—maybe it’s considered a condiment.

2. Pork Cake

For bakers who are fresh out of eggs and butter on Thanksgiving morning, pork cake is just the ticket. Appearing in the November 1922 issue of Citrus Leaves, a magazine published by Mutual Orange Distributors of Redlands, California, the recipe calls for one cup each of brown sugar, molasses, ground lean salt pork, buttermilk, and raisins, plus flour, baking soda, and a bouquet of spices. Unfortunately, there are no directions for making the cake, but we can guess that it turns out pretty close to SPAM.

3. Creamed Onions

This once-popular Thanksgiving mainstay has been been shoved aside on Thanksgiving plates by sweet potatoes and other veggies. In some households, the idea was to pour creamed onions over the turkey, like gravy, to add a little moisture. This vintage recipe—calling for cream, cheddar cheese, and butter in addition to tiny onions—is definitely not what the cardiologist ordered.

4. Turkey Salad in a Festive Ring of Jell-O

This mid-century Jell-O ad suggests serving leftover Thanksgiving turkey not as a sandwich, but surrounded by a moat of wiggling cranberry gelatin. Surprisingly, this trend did not catch on.

5. Suet Pudding

England, a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving, has nonetheless given Americans a tradition of savory puddings to be served at the celebratory meal. Suet pudding—yes, the titular ingredient is solid beef fat—was evidently popular at early 20th-century tables. This 1910 recipe published in The Delineator magazine calls for flour, spices, milk, and finely chopped suet, which should be blended and packed into a buttered mold for at least three hours before serving.

6. Giblet Gravy

Giblets is the charming euphemism for the edible offal of poultry: heart, gizzard, liver, and so on. But just because you can eat it doesn't mean you should [PDF]. If you choose not to stir up a gravy made with giblets, lard, and turkey neck, at least remember to take them out of the Thanksgiving bird before roasting it.

7. Hot Dr. Pepper

You gotta give the good folks at Dr. Pepper a few points for trying. In the 1960s, Dr. Pepper executives came up with a solution for slumping sales during colder months: hot soda. Served with a thin slice of lemon, the beverage resembled a non-alcoholic hot toddy-slash-cough syrup. According to this vintage ad, it's "deliciously different."

8. Jellied Turkey-Vegetable Salad

A mid-century salad that manages to contain no fresh produce, this frozen Frankenfood blends cooked turkey and frozen mixed vegetables with gelatin, condensed soup, and "salad dressing"—which, in mid-20th century recipes, meant Miracle Whip. There’s only one way to improve on this dish: serve it ice-cold.

9. Deviled Ham Stuffing

A 1912 Underwood Deviled Ham ad featured a recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing with its signature product. Along with the bread crumbs, celery, apples, and walnuts, cooks were told to add the "bewitching, insinuating" canned meat to make enough stuffing to fill a large turkey.

Relax: Fears of a French Fry Shortage Are Probably Overblown

magann/iStock via Getty Images
magann/iStock via Getty Images

Americans love their French fries. According to The New York Times, Americans eat an average of an average of 115.6 pounds of white potatoes annually, "of which two-thirds are in the form of French fries, potato chips and other frozen or processed potato products."

If you’re someone who annually devours the weight of a small child in fries at McDonald's or elsewhere, you’ll be distressed that potato farmers are facing a shortage—one that could create a fry crisis. But these concerns are likely overblown.

According to Bloomberg, a cold snap in October led to crop-threatening frosts at potato farms in Manitoba in Canada, as well as in North Dakota and Minnesota. In Manitoba, 12,000 acres went unharvested, the equivalent to what was left behind in all of Canada last season. Fields in Idaho and Alberta, Canada, were also hit, but some crops were able to be salvaged. Combined with increased demand in Canada for spuds, North America is looking at a potential tuber deficit.

Why are fries facing shortages, but not mashed potatoes? Fry vendors prefer bigger potatoes for slicing, which tend to be harvested later in the year and were subject to ground freezing and other damage.

This all sounds like cause for national alarm, but the spud industry has taken measures to keep the market fed. Potato experts told Bloomberg that while potato shipments will likely have to be rerouted from more fertile farms and into new distribution channels, the consumer may not notice any difference. A plea for rational thought was echoed by Frank Muir, president of Idaho Potato Commission. Muir told The New York Times that while Idaho is down 1 billion spuds, the state still managed 13 billion. His message to consumers is “Don’t panic … You can still go out and order them as you normally do.”

According to Muir, the major fast food chains—McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, among others—have temperature-controlled storage for their potatoes and probably have an inventory to fall back on. Rationing won't be needed—unless, of course, you’re watching your weight.

[h/t Bloomberg]

It’s National Cookie Day! Here’s Where to Score Some Free Treats

UMeimages/iStock via Getty Images
UMeimages/iStock via Getty Images

If you plan on eating as many baked goods as possible this December, now's your chance to get a head start. Today—December 4—is National Cookie Day, and chains across the country are celebrating by handing out free cookies. Here are the best places to snag a treat before the day is over.

    • Great American Cookies, a chain that's concentrated in the southeastern U.S., is marking the day by rewarding members of its loyalty program. If you already have the loyalty app, you can swing by a participating location any time today and pick up your free original chocolate chip cookie without making any additional purchases. The promotion only applies to customers who signed up for the program before midnight on December 3, so you aren't eligible for the free snack if you download the app on your way to the store.
    • The cookie giant Mrs. Fields is also participating in the holiday. Buy anything from one of the chain's stores on December 4 and you'll get a free cookie with your purchase. If you spring for the Nutcracker Sweet Tower, which is made from five festive containers of baked goods, you can send a Mrs. Fields Peace, Love & Cookies 30 Nibbler Tin to a friend for free.
    • But what if you're looking for a free cookie with no strings attached? Surprisingly, a hotel chain may be offering the best deal for National Cookie Day. Throughout December 4, you can stop by a DoubleTree by Hilton and ask for a free cookie at the front desk. DoubleTree provides complimentary cookies to guests at check-in all year round, and every year on National Cookie Day, the hotel chain extends that offer to everyone.

There's no shortage of great cookies across the U.S. If you're willing to travel to satisfy your sweet tooth, here are the best chocolate chip cookies in all 50 states.

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