History's Just Desserts

Exploring American History through Desserts and Their Makers

Upcoming Baking Class: Civil War Thanksgiving


Upcoming Class:  Civil War Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of a national Thanksgiving holiday.  In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving holiday.  In addition to meals with family and friends, Americans in the Union observed the day by putting on special Thanksgiving dinners for wounded troops in hospitals similar to the Old Naval Hospital, the building that now houses DC’s terrific new cultural center, the Hill Center.

The idea of having a national Thanksgiving holiday, however, went back to before the Civil War.  The influential writer and editor, Sarah Josepha Hale (perhaps best remembered as the author of Mary Had a Little Lamb), had long pushed for a national Thanksgiving holiday as a way to unify the nation increasingly being torn apart over the slavery question.  It was not until the country was at war that her campaign succeeded.

I’m exploring this history in a baking class at the Hill Center on Sunday, November 24, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Adults and children of all ages are welcome.  Children must be accompanied by adults.  You can register here.

Using recipes adapted from Sarah Hale’s 1857 New Cook Book, we will make – and sample! – squash pie, mini fruit preserve pies, and apple cider cake.  We will cover making and rolling pie dough, making pie filling, preparing and using egg washes, proper measuring, proper mixing and creaming, and preparing cake pans.  Whether you’re a beginner or already a baker, you’ll learn something new as we explore the history of the Thanksgiving holiday.

I hope to see you there!




3 thoughts on “Upcoming Baking Class: Civil War Thanksgiving

  1. This sounds like a really interesting baking class. I would be interested to see a recipe, sometime, for the apple cider cake.
    Deb, Massachusetts

  2. Pingback: Twists on Classic Pies from the Mother of Thanksgiving | History's Just Desserts

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