Shannon here: Linda Shenton Matchett shares how her family’s untraditional Thanksgiving celebrations over the years contrast with her character’s wartime meal, recipes for Country Vegetable Soup and Butterscotch Pie, plus a chance to win a copy of her Historical Romance, Love’s Allegiance. Paperback for US winner or e-book for international.Deadline: Nov 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Linda:
Thanksgiving Date – The Great Debate by Linda Shenton Matchett:
For me Thanksgiving is all about time with family (sometimes just two or three of us), lots of yummy food, and football. I was blessed to grow up visiting my maternal grandparents to celebrate that holiday. A farmer’s wife, my grandmother, and her sister put on a spread that truly exemplified the “groaning board.” In addition to turkey, there was always ham and meat loaf or roast beef, sweet potatoes, mashed white potatoes, gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, homemade rolls, and a plethora of vegetables. Anyone under fourteen sat at the kids’ table, but there was just as much food there.
Over the years, my husband and I have had many non-traditional Thanksgiving meals. My sister-in-law is vegetarian, so when she joins us we create a dinner that is totally meat free. One year, my brother’s family came from Florida and we served lobster (we live in New Hampshire) because they’d never eaten it before, and we wanted to share the experience. The adults loved it, the kids not so much! Another year we grilled hamburgers.
In 1942-America’s first wartime Thanksgiving-homemakers were challenged to put on a traditional meal. Granted, only sugar was rationed at that point, but shortages of meat, butter, and other items meant the typical dishes weren’t possible. In addition, many of the spices normally used were not available or difficult to get because they came from areas in the world under Japanese occupation. By 1943, even more foods were rationed, and because most of the turkeys raised were shipped overseas for servicemen, families had to come up with alternatives, often going meatless or using “variety meats,” code for organ meats or parts of the bird/animal not regularly eaten.
In my latest release, Love’s Allegiance, Rochelle works in the kitchen of a mental hospital where she helps provide meals for the residents. Here are a couple of recipes (a starter and a dessert) from Better Meals in Wartime (Crown Publishers, copyright 1943) she might have used:
Country Vegetable Soup (for 4)
½ C vegetable oil
6-8 onions, chopped fine
3 carrots, diced
1 C shredded cabbage
2 C tomato juice or freshly stewed, strained tomatoes
3 potatoes, chopped fine and cooked
2 stalks celery, chopped
Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
Cook onions in vegetable oil until browned. Cook cabbage, carrots, and celery in just enough water to cover. Check for doneness after 10 minutes. Continue cooking until soft. Combine cabbage, carrot, celery mixture, and water with onions. Add the tomato juice, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add the potatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Do not boil. Serve piping hot. This soup is rich in color and delicious in flavor due to the oil base.
1 ¼ C brown sugar
4 T margarine
2 eggs, separated
2 C milk
6 T flour
½ t vanilla
Baked pie shell
Melt the sugar and margarine on top of a double boiler (2019: or your microwave). Be sure the sugar is firmly packed to make 1 ¼ cups. Stir the flour to a smooth paste with a little cold milk. Add remaining milk to sugar and stir in the flour mixture. Cook 20 minutes over hot water, stirring to keep smooth until mixture thickens. Beat the egg yolks with salt and stir into the hot mixture. Cook for only 1 minute. Cool and add vanilla. Turn into a baked pie shell, and cover with the following meringue:
Beat the egg whites stiff, then beat in with a spoon four tablespoons of brown sugar. At this point, a little lemon extract or lemon juice made be added to the meringue. Pile the meringue lightly on the butterscotch mixture spreading unevenly with the back of a spoon. Run the pie under the broiler to brown the meringue lightly.
About Linda: Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. Her books are regularly praised for their accuracy and realism. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a lecturer with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Granite State College. She was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Now located in central New Hampshire, Linda’s favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Love’s Allegiance: With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.
Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.
Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?
Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.
Question for Readers: As much as Thanksgiving is about the food for me, it’s not necessarily about a specific meal. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Come back Nov 19th for Andrea Chatelain!