Thanksgiving Dinner 1944

I thought I’d share some traditional Thanksgiving recipes with you, courtesy of TM 10-412 – Army Recipes – 15 August 1944.  Sadly, the holiday snuck up on me, so I didn’t have time to see if I had an original menu from WW2 in our collection.  I will make sure to go ahead & start looking for Christmas menus soon!

Very few, if any combat troops got a Thanksgiving dinner this nice.  (probably NONE!)  I’m sure there were more than a few soldiers who did get a meal like this, especially soldiers serving stateside.  FYI, all recipes are for 100 servings.  If your family gathering is smaller, you will need to adjust accordingly!

No. 364.  Roast Turkey

Substitute 100 pounds young fat turkeys for chickens in recipe for roast chicken.  Reduce salt to 6 ounces (12 mess kit spoons) and pepper to 3/4 ounce (three mess kit spoons).  Bake turkeys weighting up to 16 pounds in moderate oven (325° F.) approximately 4 hours, turkeys weighing 16 to 20 pounds in slow oven (300° F.) and turkeys over 20 pounds in slow oven (250° F.).  Bake turkeys until all traces of pink juice have disappeared from the meat.  Allow turkeys to stand at least 30 minutes before carving.

I’ll now include the Roast Chicken recipe so you know the rest of the steps mentioned above.

No. 362 Roast Chicken

  • Chickens, young fat – 100 pounds
  • Salt – 8 ounces (1/3 mess kit cup)
  • Pepper – 1 ounce (4 mess kit spoons)
  1. Clean chickens.  Wash inside and out; dry thoroughly.
  2. If chickens are large, tie legs together and tie string around chicken to hold wings close to body.
  3. Rub cavity with salt and pepper; stuff with poultry dressing (recipe No. 365) if desired.
  4. Brush chickens with melted fat;  place in baking pans without stacking or crowding.
  5. Bake, uncovered and without water, at constant temperature in moderate oven (350° F.) 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until thoroughly cooked and juice is no longer pink.  Turn chickens frequently to insure even cooking.  Baste at regular intervals with the juice.

No. 365 Poultry Dressing

  • Celery, chopped – 5 pounds (5 No. 56 dippers)
  • Onions, finely chopped – 2-1/2 pounds (2-1/2 No. 56 dippers)
  • Fat (for frying) – 3 pounds (1-1/2 No. 56 dippers)
  • Bread crumbs, soft – 24 pounds (48 No. 56 dippers)
  • Poultry seasoning – 1-1/2 ounces (3 mess kit spoons)
  • Salt – 2 ounces (4 mess kit spoons)
  • Pepper – (1/2 ounce (2 mess kit spoons)
  • Parsley, finely chopped – 8 ounces (1 mess kit cup)
  1. Fry celery and onions until partially cooked.
  2. Add bread crumbs, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley; mix well.
  3. Place in greased baking pan; cover with buttered parchment paper.
  4. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

No. 562.  Green Beans and Bacon

Yield: 100 servings, approximately 1/2 cup each.

  • Beans, green – 25 pounds* (20 No. 56 dippers)
  • Meat stock, boiling – 1-1/2 gallons (6 No. 56 dippers)
  • Bacon rind or ham hocks – 1 pound
  • Bacon, diced – 12 ounces
  • Butter – 8 ounces (1/4 No. 56 dipper)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

*Note: 3 to 4 No. 10 cans green beans may be substituted for the 25 pounds fresh green beans.  Omit ham hocks.

  1. Wash beans and remove ends.  Cut into pieces or leave whole.  Add boiling stock and bacon rind or ham hocks.
  2. Heat to boiling point; reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or until beans are tender.
  3. Remove bacon rinds or ham hocks.  If ham hocks are used, remove meat from bones an return to stock.
  4. Fry bacon.  Combine bacon, bacon fat, butter, salt, pepper and cooked beans; mix well.

No. 629.  Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Yield: 100 servings, approximately 1/2 cup each.

  • Potatoes, sweet – 32 pounds
  • Salt – 2-1/2 ounces (5 mess kit spoons)
  • Water, boiling
  • Sugar, brown – 2-1/2 pounds (2 No. 56 dippers)
  • Apples, tart, sliced – 8 pounds (8 No. 56 dippers)
  • Butter – 6 ounces (1/4 mess kit cup)
  1. Wash sweet potatoes; pare and cut into crosswise slices 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Cover sweet potatoes with boiling salted water.  Cover and heat to boiling point; reduce heat and simmer until tender.  Drain.
  3. Arrange potato slices overlapping one another in well greased baking pans
  4. Sprinkle with salt and 1/2 the sugar.
  5. Cover potato slices with a  layer of sliced apples.
  6. Sprinkle apples with remaining sugar.  Place pieces of butter on top of apples.
  7. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) until apples are tender.

No. 515. Giblet Gravy

Wash the liver, heart and gizzard of poultry; remove any portion of the liver which may have a greenish color.  Cover gizzard with cold water.  Cover and heat to boiling point; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the heart and continue simmering 10 minutes.  Add the liver and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer.  Drain chop.  Add the chopped cooked giblets to recipe for brown gravy.  Substitute the liquid in which giblets were cooked for part or all of the water in the gravy.

No. 432.  Lettuce and Tomato Salad

Yield:  Approximately 25 pounds, 100 servings, five mess kit spoons (4 ounces) each.

  • Lettuce – 24 heads
  • Tomatoes – 10 pounds
  • French dressing – 1 quart (1 No. 56 dipper)
  1. Chill lettuce until crisp; cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Cut tomatoes into quarters or eights depending on the size; add to lettuce.
  3. Serve with French dressing (recipe No. 474).

No. 474. French Dressing No. 1

Yield: 2 quarts

  • Oil, salad – 3/4 quart (3/4 No. 56 dipper)
  • Vinegar – 1 quart (1 No. 56 dipper)
  • Salt – 3 ounces (6 mess kit spoons)
  • Sugar, granulated – 1 ounce (2 mess kit spoons)
  • Onion juice (optional) – 1-1/2 ounces (3 mess kit spoons)
  1. Mix all ingredients together.  Shake before using.

No. 475. Catsup Dressing

Add 1/2 pint (1/3 mess kit cup) catsup to recipe for French dressing.

No. 17. Plain Rolls

Yield: Approximately 300 rolls

  • Milk, evaporated – 1  – 1-1/2 ounce can
  • Water (for milk) – 1 gallon (4 No. 56 dippers)
  • Yeast – 6 ounces
  • Salt – 5 ounces (10 mess kit spoons)
  • Sugar, granulated – 1 pound (1/2 No. 56 dipper)
  • Flour, sifted – 15 pounds (15 No. 56 dippers)
  • Shortening, softened – 1 pound (1/2 No. 56 dipper)
  1. Mix milk and water.  Scald; cool to 80° F.
  2. Soften yeast in milk; add salt and sugar.
  3. Add flour and shortening; mix about 10 minutes to make a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Place dough in a warm place (80° F.); allow to rise 2 hours.  Punch dough; allow to rise 20 minutes more.

Divide into pieces weighing 3 to 4 pounds each.  Roll each piece into a long strip.  Cut strips into pieces about 1 inch thick; shape into rolls.  Place 1/2 inch apart on greased sheet pans.  Cover pans; allow dough to rise until double in volume.  Handle rolls carefully after rising as jarring will cause them to fall.  Protect rolls from drafts to prevent formation of a crust on the dough.  Bake in hot oven (425° to 450° F.) about 20 minutes.

 No. 393. Pie Crust (two crusts)

Yield: Crust for eighteen 9-inch pies.

  • Flour, sifted – 7-1/2 pounds (7-1/2 No. 56 dippers)
  • Salt – 4 ounces (8 mess kit spoons)
  • Shortening – 4-1/2 pounds (2-1/4 No. 56 dippers)
  • Water (variable)* – 1-1/2 quarts (1-1/2 No. 56 dippers)

* The amount of water needed will vary according to the strength of the flour and the amount of fat used.

  1. Combine flour, salt, and shortening by cutting with a knife or rubbing between the fingers until shortening is in particles about the size of dried peas.
  2. Add water to flour, sprinkling a small amount at a time over the mixture; mix lightly with a fork until all particles are moistened and in small lumps.  Place portions that stick together to one side of the bowl before adding more water.
  3. Mix ingredients as little as possible to form a stiff dough (if dough is undermixed, the finished crust will have raw spots; if overmixed, the crust will be tough)
  4. Place dough on floured board or table top.  Divide into as many portions as there are pies to be made.  Cut each portion into two pieces, each about 3 inches in diameter.  Use one piece for bottom crust and the other for the top.
  5. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep remainder in refrigerator.  Sprinkle flour on dough to be used for bottom crust.  Roll dough, with floured rolling pin, into circular shape, 3/16 inch thick and slightly larger than pie pan.  Use light, even strokes, rolling from center of dough out in every direction.
  6. Roll dough onto rolling pin and unroll onto pie pan; press out all air between pan and dough.
  7. Dampen outer rim of bottom crust with water to help seal top and bottom crusts together.
  8. Roll out top crust in same way as bottom crust.  Pierce dough with a fork in several places, making an attractive pattern, to allow steam to escape during baking.
  9. Roll crust onto rolling pin and unroll onto filled lower crust.
  10. Remove excess dough by pressing hands against rim of pie pan.  Press the two layers of dough together and crimp with a fork or crimp between thumb and forefinger.  This seals the two crusts together and helps to keep juicy pies from running over.  Reserve excess dough for bottom crust of next pie (Always use fresh dough for top crusts.)
  11. Bake pies in hot oven (425° to 450° F.) 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from oven when filling reaches boiling point and crust is golden brown.

No. 394 Pie Crust (One-crust pie)

Prepare 2/3 recipe for two-crust pies and follow directions for rolling bottom crusts.  Pie crust may be baked with or without filling.  If baked without filling, prick crust all over with tines of a fork before baking.

No. 403. Pumpkin Pie Filling

Yield: Filling for eighteen 9-inch pies.

  • Sugar, brown – 6-1/2 pounds (5 No. 56 dippers)
  • Cinnamon – 1-1/2 ounces (6 mess kit spoons)
  • Mace (optional) – 1/2 ounce (2 mess kit spoons)
  • Salt – 1-1/2 ounces (3 mess kit spoons)
  • Eggs, slightly beaten – 30 eggs (1-1/2 No. 56 dippers)
  • Milk, evaporated – 6  –  14-1/2 ounce cans
  • Water (for milk) – 3 quarts (3 No. 56 dippers)
  • Pumpkin – 2 No. 10 cans
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, mace, and salt together.
  2. Add beaten egg; mix thoroughly.
  3. Mix milk and water; heat.  Add hot milk and pumpkin to egg mixture; mix thoroughly.
  4. Place unbaked pie shells in oven.  Pour one No. 56 dipper filling into each pie shell.
  5. Bake in hot oven (400° to 425° F.) about 15 minutes.  Reduce heat and continue baking 15 minutes or until center of pie filling has risen level with crust.  Remove immediately from oven.

Now you just need to invite 100 of your closest friends over for Thanksgiving dinner…. and start cooking!