New Year’s Day Dinners in the 1870s

by Sandra Merville Hart

My dad always wanted black-eyed peas as a side dish on New Year’s Day. He said that it brought good luck into the new year. I’ve carried on this tradition for my family.

Looking for ideas for meals to serve on the first day of the year?

Here are some suggestions for New Year’s Day from an 1870s cookbook.

Suggestions for meat dishes:

Raw oysters, mock turtle soup;

Boiled turkey with oyster sauce;

roast haunch of venison, currant jelly;

deviled crabs;

cold sliced ham

There were plenty of side-dishes:

Beets, stuffed cabbage, potato souffle, baked turnips, lima beans, dried corn, canned pease (peas);

Indian bread, French rolls, biscuits, rye bread;

Chicken salad;

Celery, cold slaw garnished with fried oysters, pickled walnuts, variety of pickles;

Plums, peaches, sweet pickled cucumbers, gooseberries, spiced currants

There were lots of dessert choices:

English plum pudding, Bohemian cream; Orange souffle,

Pies—mince, potato, and chess;

Cakes—black, Phil Sheridan, pyramid pound;

Oranges, figs, nuts, raisins

Beverage choices were coffee, tea, and chocolate.

If you are wondering what to serve for New Year’s Day dinner, there are plenty of choices here!


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.


2 thoughts on “New Year’s Day Dinners in the 1870s

  1. For my family it was black eyed peas,
    the Southern tradition, and sauerkraut, a German tradition.
    Both were believed to bring good luck. Good thing I liked both because you couldn’t leave the table without taking at least one bite of each.


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