Party Like It’s 1776

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

As time rolls on, I’m far less invested in producing the giant traditional meal in my own home. This is entirely because I have no family in NJ – the best I can do is a daughter in Philadelphia and an as-close-as-blood tribe of 7 in northeastern Pennsylvania.If I had a big mob, the payoff of all that work and expense would be worth if but for 3 people, not so much. Last year we went to a Thanksgiving buffet at a local restaurant and it was an very positive experience. This year, we’re going to have an 18th century feast at City Tavern in Philadelphia.

Have you heard of it? It’s  “the most genteel tavern in America.”, according to President John Adams.Or at least it was in 1774 when he said it. It’s just a short distance from Carpenter’s Hall and so after a hard day of knocking out the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, chaps like George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would toddle over to City Tavern for a swish of ale and a joint of beef. The place burned down in the 1850s but was rebuilt exactly in the 1970s, but with heat and plumbing. Now it belongs to the National Park Service as part of Independence National Historic Park – the Liberty Bell and so on- and it’s a working restaurant.

But what a restaurant! The decor and furnishings are reproductions of course but completely authentic. And not only do the servers wear period dress, the food they are serving are recipes developed from common foods of the period. Sometimes are the actual recipes, like Martha Washington’s cake or Thomas Jefferson’s beer, if you can call that a recipe.


I sure hope Ben Franklin drops by while I’m there.

The Thanksgiving Day meal here looks pretty modern to me. Pretty sure they didn’t have fried tofu in Philadelphia in the 18th century but I could be wrong. Look – I’m going to start with Champagne Shrub (note to self: google “Champagne Shrub” to find out what it is). Sadly, the menu does not mention the bacon-wrapped  Chestnut Fritters that are available on the non-holiday menu. Maybe I can tip my man in breeches to add that one. I do love a good chestnut.

Anyway, I feel awkward schlumping around in my standard business cazh get ups, so I might even wear and actual dress for the occasion.

Plus, they’ve got a gift shop. Pewter tankard, anyone?




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