Menus: Fannie Farmer’s Full Course Dinner

One of the most emblematic cookbooks in American history is Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cookbook.  Called “The Mother of Level Measurements,” Farmer is both credited with bringing standardization to American recipes but, as a result, destroying the soul of American cuisine.

Her cookbooks were promoted as practical and economical: a kitchen guidebook for the everyday women.  But it also included simplified recipes for high-end dishes that allowed any housewife to produce them in her own kitchen.

Interestingly, in the back of the book, she includes a menu for a “Full Course Dinner”: twelve courses designed for the most upscale dinner party.   This menu is republished below.  It would be a hellavu party.

First Course

Little Neck Clams or Bluepoints with brown bread sandwiches. Sometimes canapes are used in place of either. For a gentleman’s dinner, canape’s accompanied with Sherry wine are frequently served before guests enter the dining room.

Second Course

Clear soup with bread sticks, small rolls or crisp crackers. Where two soups are served, one may be a cream soup. Cream soups are served with croutons. Radishes, celery or olives are passed after the soup. Salted almonds may be passed between any of the courses.

Third Course

Bouchees or rissoles. The filling to be of light meat.

Fourth Course

Fish baked, boiled or fried. Cole slaw dressed cucumbers or tomatoes accompany this course; with fried fish potatoes are often served.

Fifth Course

Roast saddle of venison or mutton, spring lamb, or fillet of beef potatoes and one other vegetable.

Sixth Course

Entree made of light meat or fish.

Seventh Course

A vegetable. Mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus or artichokes are served.

Eighth Course

Punch or cheese course. Punch when served always precedes the game course.

Ninth Course

Game with vegetable salad, usually lettuce or celery; or cheese sticks may be served with the salad and game omitted.

Tenth Course

Dessert, usually cold.

Eleventh Course

Frozen dessert and fancy cakes. Bonbons are passed after this course.

Twelfth Course

Cracker, cheese and cafe noir. Cafe noir is frequently served in the drawing and smoking rooms after the dinner.  After serving cafe noir in drawing room, pass pony of brandy for men, sweet liquenr (Chartrense, Benedictine ,or Parfait d Amour) for women, then Creme de Menthe for all.

9 Responses to “Menus: Fannie Farmer’s Full Course Dinner”


  • have you checked out Fannie’s Last Supper, where this is recreated? http://fannieslastsupper.com/index.php Interesting read.

  • WOW!!! I would LOVE to have been invited to such a feast. I imagine the portions in each course were quite small.

  • I was both excited and disappointed by Fannie’s Last Supper. For example, Chris Kimball goes to great lengths to clean up a coal-burning oven and put it in his basement, and then they don’t use it. But the description of what goes into the making of a clear broth was fascinating.

  • I have got to see this / read this–which came first, the book or the documentary? Or were they simultaneous?

    • I think they came out about the same time. I remember seeing the special on PBS a few years ago and getting the book soon after. The book is much more in depth, as I think the PBS show was only about an hour, maybe 2, long.

      • and in the same vein of topic, I just picked up a 1918 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook for $15 at a local used bookstore. The ads in the back are wonderful!

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