A Lincoln Family Thanksgiving

By Kerry Plunkett

Every year around this time, I start to think of traditions. Every family has their own. This week as families and friends across the country gather to celebrate Thanksgiving together, I was inspired to start a new tradition with my family. Watching people scour the markets and grocery stores desperately trying to find the last ingredients for holiday dishes got me thinking, why not try something new? President Lincoln decided nearly 150 years ago to set aside the last Thursday of November for us to celebrate Thanksgiving. To show my gratitude, and to start a new tradition, I decided to make dinner this year with a little help from the Lincolns. If you’re looking for a new tradition or a new twist on a dish, why not make your Thanksgiving a Lincoln Family Thanksgiving? With a little culinary help from Donna D. McCreary’s Lincoln’s Table: A President’s Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan, we can share in the same fare as the Lincoln’s! For a historic twist on your potatoes this Thanksgiving, try this recipe for Potatoes au Gratin.






Peel and boil about 2 pounds of white potatoes until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let them cool. Slice the potatoes into thick slices, or half-inch cubes.

Melt butter in saucepan over a low heat and add the other ingredients in the given order. Make sure to add the milk slowly so it doesn’t burn. Stir until its slightly thickened.

Butter a baking dish. Pour in a layer of sauce followed by a layer of potatoes. Continue until you’ve used all the ingredients.

Add a teaspoon of melted butter to a cup of sifted bread crumbs and mix. Spread the breadcrumbs on top of the potatoes and place in the oven for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

The absolute best part of my family’s Thanksgiving is dessert. Dessert in our family means chocolate. With this recipe for Chocolate Pie, I plan on being the most popular member at my family’s table.

For the Crust: Beat egg whites until you see soft peaks. Slowly add the other ingredients until you see stiff peaks. Gently spoon into your pie pan and bake for 1 hour at 275 degrees

For the Filling: Combine ingredients and beat for 20 minutes. Gently pour into the crust. Bake at 375 degrees for ten minutes and then pour on the hot fudge sauce

For the Sauce: Combine sugar and cocoa in a saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk and corn syrup. Cook over a medium heat, stirring consistently until it boils. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour over your pie (Save it and pour it over any other dessert your family has for Thanksgiving).

This year when your friends and family share what they are thankful for and raise their glasses in a toast, don’t be surprised if your recipes are mentioned. Have a very Happy (Lincoln) Thanksgiving!

Ms. Plunkett is a Historical Interpreter at President Lincoln’s Cottage.
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