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The Centennial Supper

Church suppers were, and continue to be, a commonplace occurrence in Nebraska towns.
But surely the gentlemen of Fremont's Congregational Church deserve points for originality
for their "Centennial Supper" held in 1889. A program from the event, in the collections of
the Nebraska State Historical Society, reveals the group had a tongue firmly planted in its
collective cheek.

Dedicated "to the memory of the man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his
countrymen," the dinner was to be followed by an entertainment "consisting of addresses on
the Life and Times of the Father of his country, 'personal recollections,' and other topics one
hundred years old, properly diversified and relieved by instrumental and vocal music."

Homage to George Washington aside, food was the event's principal attraction. "Children
under 15 will be stuffed for 25 cents each. Adults of Ordinary Capacity for the Same Price,"
the program declared. Those concerned about the safety of "food warranted to have been
prepared by men," were offered this reassurance: "Medical attendance will be provided at
reasonable rates until recovery is assured." The "Men You" was printed with the following
note: "Being desirous of pleasing all tastes, we give our patrons the choice between the
prevalent orthography of the day, the phonetic method recommended by the Spelling Reform
Association, and the method of the Ancient Egyptians."

The evening's "On trays" included "Bakd benz, brown bred, piklz, drid beef, and skrambld
egs." The cold meat selection featured "coaled tongue, kold ham, and cold beef." Roast
chicken was indicated in the "Ancient Egyptian" (hieroglyphic) style, the word "roast"
followed by an engraving of a chicken.

"Baked potatoes, Potatoes Mashed to Order, Cold Slaw, Onyuns, and Let Us Alone," made
up the "Miss Sell Aneous" category. Breads were "white, wry, graham, korn, and browne."
Hot Biskits, Pancakes, Waffles and Maple Sugar from Vermont" rounded out the main menu
choices.

Dessert offerings consisted of "cake, apple pi, lemun pi, cocoanut pi, printer's pi, eye scream
(10 flavors), coffee, tea, milk, water, oranges, nuts, and raznz."

For those who over-ate, "Xtras" in the form of "jamaica ginger, peppermint, and paregoric"
were also available.

The program listed a final warning: "As most of the waiters are young and susceptible, the
ladies are requested not to fascinate them."

 

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Last updated 14 September 2005

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