Menus from a few of the dinners on special occasions were recorded over the years in the form of scribbled notes on scraps of paper. Some, like the 1988 Thanksgiving, were memorable and easily recalled the circumstances and events of that affair. Others, like the November 2, 1996 dinner, while being very elaborate and surely must have had some reason for being so, have faded from memory, and can only be speculated upon. In all cases, however, the extent and content of these parties, as attested to by the menu notes taken at the time, illustrate the gustatory delight, good cheer, warm feelings, and certain revelry that was always the essence of these times.

thanksgiving dinner, 1988

This menu was served to a large family Thanksgiving dinner in 1988, when we had a Southwestern theme to the entire menu. Besides family members that year, we had a number of guests from Notre Dame University visiting. It was the day before the yearly Notre Dame-USC football game, my niece had recently graduated from Notre Dame, and a half dozen of her friends and dates had come to see her and to attend the game.

Various members of the family each brought a course made according to recipes that I had earlier sent to them. Those that are included here from that meal are indicated on web pages by the special link indicator that will lead the interested reader to these pages without use of the Table of Contents.

The crowd remained until late that night in convivial conversation, laughter, and merriment that lasted until the gas in our rented patio heaters, as well as the entire contents of my liquor cabinet, ran out. It was a meal and an evening that was well remembered for many years by all in attendance.

hors d’oeurves
  • Avocado-Bean Canapés
  • Dill buttered oyster crackers
  • Champagne punch , cocktails, and soda
  • Cheese-Tortilla Soup
  • Taco salad
  • Herb-Stuffed Barbecued Turkey
  • Blue Cornbread, Sausage, and Walnut Dressing
  • Cranberry-Serrano Relish
  • Giblet Gravy
  • Green Beans, Red Peppers, and Pine Nuts, Sauce Soubise
  • Southwestern Rice, Bean, Corn, and Green Chile Casserole, au Gratin
  • Raspberry Parfait
  • Oven Roasted Potatoes
  • Buttered tortillas
  • Pecan pie
  • French vanilla ice cream
  • Assorted chocolates
  • Sebastiani country chardonnay
  • Mondavi cabernet sauvignon
  • Iced tea
  • Coffee and liqueurs
  • Guest-donated beverages <>
  • My entire liquor cabinet, emptied

One perhaps interesting note on the recipes that are part of this menu is that, rather than appearing in scribbled notes on my desk, they were all originally recorded in electronic form using the WordStar text processor, which was the de facto standard of the 1980s before Microsoft Word replaced it. I had retained them in my computer since then, even though they contained a mixture of readable and unreadable characters that made translation very difficult after WordStar disappeared. When I more recently wanted to reconstitute them for use in this work, I found it very difficult to do so. Luckily, an internet search found the HABit WordStar Converter, which converted them into readable text that was then reformatted to the form you see here.