Originally, I wasn’t going to post a Throwback Thursday this week, as it is, of course, Thanksgiving. However, when I did a quick glance through the Manchester Historic Association’s archives, I found more than just a Throwback Thursday post, but a #foodiefriday one as well! Enjoy’s this week’s hybrid post and Happy Thanksgiving!
As many Mancunians know, what is now known as the Carpenter Center was formally a hotel–the Carpenter Hotel to be exact. In the MHA’s archives I found three menus from the Thanksgiving dinners of 1924, 1931 and 1954! Dinner increased from $1.75 a plate in 1924 to $3.50 a plate in 1954. The menus aren’t too far off from what we consider to be a ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving dinner in today’s terms.
However, I noticed that on each of the menus were two things listed as hors d’oeuvres: celery and olives. After some research, I learned that celery and olives were actually a huge staple of Thanksgiving. As boston.com writes: “From the late 1800s until the 1960s, these two foods—which usually only come together in the murky depths of a Bloody Mary—were a must on seasonally decorated tables in homes across America.” As celery “transform[ed] from an unusual crop to a profitable industry,” olives did too. “The pairing of the two was both a result of the fact that they were introduced and made readily available around the same time and they served a similar purpose: both celery and olives were palate cleansers, and ones that didn’t require a servant. ” Celery and olives continued to have a place on the table at Thanksgiving until the mid 1970s when American palates seemingly shifted to richer foods including: “shrimp cocktail, cranberry soup, seafood bisque, and endless varieties of dishes incorporating the word “supreme.””