The holiday season is here. Time to put on our historic chef hats, preheat the oven, and get started on our winter weather menus!

Black and white photograph of two chefs in the kitchen preparing food
Executive Chef Cliff Ledford and Mary Bloxson prepare a salad in the kitchen of the Mustin Beach Officers Club. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, 2/16/1990. National Archives Identifier 6453020

This time of year always inspires us to peruse the National Archives Catalog for historic recipes and food related records, many of which were favorite recipes of the First Families, as well as those prepared by White House kitchen staff for special events through the years.

US troops serving and being served Thanksgiving dinner from a buffet line

A view of the Thanksgiving dinner served to U.S. troops taking part in Exercise Bright Star '82, 11/1/1981. National Archives Identifier 6347662

Handwritten and typed Thanksgiving dinner menu during the Truman administration in 1947

President Truman White House Menu, 11/26/1947 Thanksgiving. National Archives Identifier 6882370

We hope you find inspiration from these historic recipes and photographs found in the National Archives. Bon Appetit!

Recipe card for Julie Nixon Eisenhower's Spanish eggs on White House stationary

Serving brunch this year? Why not try Julie Nixon Eisenhower’s Spanish Eggs recipe. She recommends it served with sliced tomatoes, green salad or fruit.

National Archives Identifier 6727957

Recipe card for a Cinpac Special drink

When it’s time for a cocktail, we’re intrigued by this recipe for a "Cinpac Special" developed by Admiral Nimitz when he was Commander in Chief of the Pacific during World War II. At the time, liquor was rationed to a bottle a week per person and frequently rum was the only kind available.

National Archives Identifier 139308885

If a cocktail is not your style, how about a mocktail? Try this Recipe for Punch that serves 200.

You’ll need some appetizers to go along with your cocktails. Why don’t you serve the Plains Special Cheese Ring. It’s a staff favorite around here!
Recipe card for Plains Special Cheese Ring

Plains Special Cheese Ring Recipe. National Archives Identifier 6783885

Family photograph of Jimmy Carter and family at Christmastime wearing festive holiday hats
Carter family Christmas portrait, 12/25/1978. National Archives Identifier 182893

Is it Dressing or Stuffing? Bess Truman called hers “Turkey Dressing” and the recipe includes sausage, rice and pecans. Mrs. Truman has a second Turkey Dressing recipe if you prefer a bread base with the option of adding oysters.

Handwritten recipe card for Bess Truman's turkey dressing. The recipe is written on a "Missouri Pacific Lines" letterhead
Recipe for Turkey Dressing. National Archives Identifier 139308816
Photograph of President Harry Truman and Bess Truman on the front porch of their home in Missouri. The couple are looking at one another while their arms are wrapped around each other

Photograph of President Harry S. Truman and Mrs. Bess Truman on the Porch of Their Independence, Missouri Home, 1953. National Archives Identifier 596500

Looking for some side dishes? Rosalynn Carter shared a favorite recipe for Eggplant Souffle. In true 1950s style, this Eisenhower recipe for Honeydew Melon, Filled and Frosted includes Jello. You can also try the Georgia Sweet Potato Souffle found on page 5 of The Republican Congressional Cook Book.

Recipe card for Georgia sweet potato souffle from Mrs. Capers Rice, Republican National Committeewoman for Georgia

The Republican Congressional Cook Book, ca. 1962. National Archives Identifier 30806124

Do you like to serve bread, rolls or biscuits? There are lots of options that can be found in the Catalog. Try Sequoia Orange Biscuits or Bran Rolls. If you are looking for a recipe that reads like a baking show challenge, try Bess Truman’s Drop Biscuits where the recipe doesn’t include information on how to bake the biscuits.

This photograph depicts two people baking biscuits at an emergency mass feeding course at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The oven is open and the people are inspecting the platter
Baking Biscuits at Fort Dix, 9/1/1954. National Archives Identifier 7385035

Time for dessert! Do you serve pumpkin or pecan pie for Thanksgiving? Why choose just one? Whip up Nancy Reagan’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie. Or skip the pie all together and make a cake. Try the Truman family’s 200 Year Old Pound Cake, Rosalynn Carter’s recipe for Japanese Fruit Cake, or adjust the proportions and make the White House Wedding Cake for Tricia Nixon Cox's Wedding.

Black and white photograph of a group of Salvation Army members wearing helmets and making pies for soldiers

Salvation Army Girls, Gladys and Irene McIntyre, Myrtle Turkington and Stella Young, with steel helmets and gas masks, making pies free for soldiers. 26th Division, Ansonville, France., 4/9/1918. National Archives Identifier 55181227

Photograph of a chef plating a table full of dishes for a White House event
White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford plates Quinoa Black Bean and Corn Salad in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House before the Kids' State Dinner, Aug. 20, 2012. The salad was a winning recipe from Haile Thomas, 11, of Arizona. National Archives Identifier 178713402

Looking for more? Browse a selection of additional recipes in our Catalog. If you’ve tried any of these recipes, we'd love to know how they turned out! Email us at

And be sure to check out National Archives News for Thanksgiving records and stories from the National Archives.

We can’t let Thanksgiving go by without expressing our gratitude to each and every one of our Catalog users and Citizen Archivists. We especially want to thank you for your patience through last week’s Catalog maintenance. We are grateful every day for your time and efforts that help make the records of the National Archives more searchable online.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving from all of us at the National Archives!

Animated gif of a bar scene where the bartenders are toasting a crowd of patrons
US National Archives on GIPHY
Transcribe Records as a Citizen Archivist

Ready to relax after a big meal? Take a look at our latest Citizen Archivist missions, and jump in to participate! Our latest missions include Escape and Evasion reports from World War II, American Civil War military service records, Reports of Clerks, Wagonmasters, and Printers Employed at Various Posts, 1865, and more. Every contribution you make helps make these records easier to find in our Catalog.

Photograph of an airman watching a radar screen while holding a plate of Thanksgiving dinner

An air controlman eats Thanksgiving dinner while keeping an eye on the radar scope in the helicopter direction center aboard the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3), 11/26/1987. Scene Camera Operator: PH2 (Sw) Jeffrey A. Elliott. National Archives Identifier 6432955

Every word you transcribe helps to make these records more searchable and accessible online. Get started transcribing!

New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

Start your research on History Hub
Animated gif of researchers looking over a document in a research room

Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

Some interesting questions this month!

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about Getting Started with History Hub.

Citizen Archivists, there's a group just for you! You can share tips and strategies, find new challenges, and get support for your work.  Get started with our poll: What kinds of records do you like to transcribe?

Make History Hub your first stop! You can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or see if your question has already been answered.

History Hub logo

Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter.