Monday, November 17, 2014


As we sit down to our Thanksgiving feasts this year, I wonder if we are truly thankful for our country and what sacrifices were made to secure our freedoms. At the height of the Civil War in 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday of November was to be designated as Thanksgiving Day. This seems to me to be the declaration of a man of great faith -- to have the courage to give thanks publicly in the midst of that terrible war. 

"Thanksgiving and Praise to our Beneficient Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Evidently a series of editorials by a Sarah Josepha Hale prompted him to make Thanksgiving an official national holiday. Of course, our forefathers celebrated a form of Thanksgiving from the earliest days of our country from the Pilgrims forward, and several proclamations were issued by presidents--George Washington, John Adams, James Madison--but no official holiday was nailed down until President Lincoln in 1863.

Families of the soldiers rallied and precooked turkeys, pies, plum puddings, fruits, jellies,
cranberry sauce and vegetables and sent them in crates to the soldiers in the field. Some even shipped steamers for the soldiers to use. The postal service agreed to send much of the cargo free of charge. I can only imagine what a welcome the Thanksgiving makings received from the troops.
Plum pudding seemed to be a favorite. In looking at a recipe, it sounds to me like a heavy version of bread pudding ... and no plums! It was spelled "plumb-pudding" and consisted of currants, raisins, candied orange peel and suet mixed with eggs and brandy. This was added to the bread crumbs, then stuffed into a mold. If the mold had a lid and handle, it was

lowered into boiling water as is and cooked for 5-6 hours. If the mold had no lid and handle, it was put into a bag for the boiling. It was hung to drip, until the day it was served, and then it was boiled again. I don't know this for sure, but I'm guessing that the soldiers did the second boiling after they received the pudding. Extra brandy was added when the pudding was served and lit for a beautiful flaming dessert.

I hope this year with the instability and uncertainty in the world that we will rethink how much we have to be grateful for. The very fact we can celebrate this holiday with our families and loved ones in freedom is a major item for which to be thankful. 

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Leave one in the comments for a chance to win a copy of my novella, Trapped! The Adulterous Woman. 

 Golden Keyes Parsons writes historical fiction, and is also a popular retreat/conference speaker. Her highly acclaimed Darkness to Light Series (Thomas Nelson) chronicled the journey of her French Huguenot ancestors in 17th century France. Her fourth novel, His Steadfast Love, is a Civil War novel set in Texas. Her latest release is a compilation of four novellas (WhiteFire Publishing) – a biblical fiction series entitled Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels. Golden lives in Waco, TX, with her husband, Blaine, where they enjoy their children, grandchildren and are avid sports fans of their alma mater, Baylor University. You can contact her at


  1. Hi, nice post about the history of Thanksgiving and plum pudding. I think I will skip the plum (plumb) pudding :o) I write articles for kids and I have written quite a few about Thanksgiving and the history of it. I knew about Sarah Hale, she was a very determined and persistent lady. Oh, I almost forgot - I love desserts and one of my favorite desserts is pumpkin bread. I also like pumpkin pie and pecan pie mini muffins.

  2. I enjoyed this interview with Golden. My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is chocolate pie. I look forward to reading Trapped. :)


  3. I love all three of the desserts you mentioned, Janet and Caryl. Homemade chocolate pie, from the crust to the filling to the meringue, is my favorite pie anytime of year. But one of the frustrations for me is that I really like most everything. Too much good food this time of year!

    For the last couple of years, I've made my dressing, southern style cornbread, in the crock pot. It is so moist, easy to do, and leaves room in the oven for other dishes.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Great post, Golden. I did some research on Thanksgiving for my first series and it made me even more thankful for the holiday. Like Janet I'll forego the pudding. My favorite dessert is my grandmother's Southern Pecan Pie and I make it now every year. One other favorite that we don't prepare much anymore is Ambrosia. My Mimi always had it and served it in a beautiful cut glass bowl that passed on to me when I married with the stipulation it was to go to my oldest granddaughter when she married, and it did. Maybe that's why I don't serve it anymore.


    What an interesting post you have written about Thanksgiving Golden.
    I enjoyed reading about how plum pudding was made. It definately was not how I had imagined it was made.
    My favorite is pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins.

  6. Golden, I found your post so interesting. I have always heard of "plum pudding" as I thought it was spelled that way and naturally would have plums in it. I have certainly learned something today! My favorite dessert is chocolate pie!

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