Thanksgiving has many historical roots in American culture. While it is typically a day spent surrounded by family and showing appreciation for what we are thankful for, we would all be lying if we did not admit that our favorite part is consuming an abundance of delicious food until we slip into a food coma. This Thanksgiving, celebrate the tastes of books by incorporating dishes from your favorite Oxford World’s Classic novels. This slideshow provides a complete literary-based Thanksgiving dinner menu for those that are looking for a bit of a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving meals.
As an hors d’oeuvre, start with an elaborate cheese platter. Transport your guests’ olfactory senses to Madame Lecoeur’s cheese shop by incorporating a variety of types, such as those that Zola mentions in his “Cheese Symphony” – just maybe not until the point of nausea.
“All around them the cheeses were stinking…for the most part the cheeses stood in piles on the table. There, next to the one-pound packs of butter, a gigantic cantal was spread on leaves of white beet, as though split by blows from an axe; then came a golden Cheshire cheese, a gruyère like a wheel fallen from some barbarian chariot, some Dutch cheeses suggesting decapitated heads smeared in dried blood and as hard as skulls – which has earned them the name of ‘death’s heads’. A parmesan added its aromatic tang to the thick, dull smell of the others…Then came the strong-smelling cheeses: the mont-d’ors, pale yellow, with a mild sugary smell; the troyes, very thick and bruised at the edges, much stronger, smelling like a damp cellar; the camemberts, suggesting high game; the neufchâtels, the limbourgs, the marolles, the pont-l’évèques, each adding its own shrill note in a phrase that was harsh to the point of nausea…”
Cheese Platter by Linnaea Mallette, Public Domain via PublicDomainPictures.net
Clam Chowder (Moby Dick by Herman Melville)
For your next course, throw your guests for a loop by deviating from the more traditional Thanksgiving dishes and serve them warm cups of clam chowder. Melville’s mouth-watering description proves that it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.
“But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh! sweet friends, hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt….the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we dispatched it with great expedition.”
Clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Public Domain via Flickr
Roasted Potatoes and Eggs (The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett)
Treat your guests like royalty by whipping up an extremely simple, yet delicious side dish of roasted potatoes and eggs. According to Mary Lennox, feel free to eat at least 14 servings!
“Roasted eggs were a previously luxury and very hot potatoes with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a woodland king—besides being deliciously satisfying. You could buy both potatoes and eggs and eat as many as you liked without feeling as if you were taking food out of the mouths of fourteen people.”
Roast potatoes with tomatoes on a decorative table by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Public Domain via Flickr
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey. For your main course, be sure to beat Scrooge to the butcher shop in order to purchase the largest prize turkey that they have!
“‘Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there – Not the little prize Turkey: the big one?’
“What, the one as big as me?” returned the boy.
“What a delightful boy!” said Scrooge. “It’s a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck.”
“It’s hanging there now,” replied the boy.
“Is it?” said Scrooge. “Go and buy it.””
Turkey Food Holiday by Isfara, Public Domain via Pixabay
Seed Cake (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)
Finish off your feast with a warm cup of tea and a slice of seed cake. Even if everyone is stuffed to the brim, be sure to cut generous slices for your guests just as Miss Temple would do.
“Having invited Helen and me to approach the table, and placed before each of us a cup of tea with one delicious but thin morsel of toast, she got up, unlocked a drawer, and taking from it a parcel wrapped in paper, disclosed presently to our eyes a good-sized
seed-cake. “I meant to give each of you some of this to take with you,” said she; “but as there is so little toast you must have it now,” and she proceeded to cut slices with a generous hand.”
Poppy Cake by Einladung_zum_Essen, Public Domain via Pixabay
Featured Image: Thanksgiving by Wokandapix, Public Domain via Pixabay