turkey-in-a-top-hat

Thanksgiving is probably not the most Steampunk of holidays. Halloween, sure, it’s come-as-you-aren’t night. Christmas? Yeah, maybe if we imagine a steam-powered sleigh with reindeer automata pulling it. Valentine’s Day? Absolutely, given Steampunk’s high quotient of romance mixed in with the technology. But Thanksgiving? Not so much.

Okay, but if the world had wandered down a different happentrack, if steam-powered technowizardry had come to pass in the late 19th century as we like to imagine, what might people be eating as they gave thanks?

Well, Vintage Homemaking posted what they call Victorian Thanksgiving Menus, albeit from a 1921 cookbook, so slightly post-Victorian. In addition to turkey, we find oysters, flounder, venison, chicken, and halibut.

Ephemeral New York has posted a Thanksgiving menu from 1899. This one features an astonishing array of things that could be considered main courses long before getting to the turkey. After the salmon, lobster, ham, prime rib, and “roast quail on toast”, I’m not sure how people would have had room for what’s become the traditional bird.

The suitably focused Pilgrim Hall Museum has a nice article covering the history of Thanksgiving menus since the 1870s, looking more at menus as art then dealing with the foods themselves.

And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that our friends over at posted a Victorian Thankgiving menu a couple of years ago.

For our own part, Mrs. Steampunk.com has dug up a nineteenth century recipe for pumpkin pie, flavored not with allspice or nutmeg, but with molasses. It is not yet clear if she intends to make it, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

If you are planning on integrating any Victorian or Steampunk elements into your Thanksgiving this year, please let us know all about it.