Thanksgiving & the Peter Pauper Press

November 20, 2018

As we prepare for a brief Thanksgiving break (please see a calendar of the Libraries’ hours for the holiday weekend and beyond), we turn for inspiration to Edna Beilenson’s Festive Cookery (1951), published by her husband Peter Beilenson’s Peter Pauper Press with illustrations by Vee Guthrie.

From the Peter Pauper Press Collection, Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The volume, a bit thicker than most Peter Pauper Press products, promised “a diversified collection of recipes and menus designed to give a festive air to cooking and entertaining at home.” Although the introduction spoke of dishes “gathered from many foreign lands” and encouraged readers to choose “menus boldly and with imagination to make the best use of this book,” the Thanksgiving menu was an eminently traditional one:

Our copy is part of the extensive Peter Pauper Press Collection generously donated to Special Collections by James and Nancy Dast. The Peter Pauper Press books featured thoughtful design and interesting content “at prices even a pauper could afford,” and often evinced mid-century modern design and sensibilities. Such was the case in what could be seen as a companion piece to Festive Cookery, Edna Beilenson’s The ABC of Canapés  (1953).

The cover suggested bacon-wrapped this and skewered that; recipes followed in approximately alphabetical order and complete with inspirational doggerel. Herewith a sampler (and we reserve judgment about their fit with today’s taste):

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

— Robin Rider