Thanksgiving Recipes from Michie Tavern

Despite the already-decked halls around Charlottesville, there’s still a holiday left between today and Christmas. It’s a day when the people of Charlottesville gather together, share stories and some good-natured ribbing, and eat some turkey. That’s right, it’s the annual UVA vs Virginia Tech football game. For those of us that don’t follow football, it’s an excellent excuse to eat Thanksgiving leftovers, either at the tailgate or while our football-fan families are out of the house. 

To be sure you all have the best leftovers possible, we’re sharing some traditional Virginia recipes from our friends over at Michie Tavern. Their sold-out cookbook, “A Taste of the 18th Century,” keeps things authentic, rescuing some recipes that date back to Jefferson’s time and were eaten long before people had the luxury of spending the whole day at a football game. 


To Drink: Hot Buttered Rum 

  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water
  • 2 ¾ cups rum 
  • 7 teaspoons butter, melted
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • 6 cinnamon sticks (garnish) 

Warm 6 glasses in hot water. Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Stir in rum and butter. Pour into the heated tumblers. Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon stick.

Because it’s not a feast without biscuits: Murphy’s Biscuits (on the menu at Michie Tavern)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening 
  • ⅔ cup whole milk 

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and then stir in milk quickly with a fork to make dough light and fluffy but not sticky. Knead until dough is smooth, approximately 10 times. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board. Cut into biscuits ½ inch thick. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 450 for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Yields 8-10 biscuits. 


For dessert, and because we can’t believe how simple and good this recipe is: Scottish Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup fine granulated sugar 

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour. Beat about 5 minutes until smooth. Spread evenly in an ungreased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 300 for 30 to 40 minutes until lightly browned. After removing from oven, prick all over with a fork and cut into bars. Cool completely. 

Yield: 4 dozen.


If you’re cooking tomorrow (or have already started) have fun, and don’t stress; if you’re not cooking, do some dishes. Things in the kitchen might not be as grueling as they were in 1700 (thanks, microwaves) but Thanksgiving requires a group effort. Enjoy! 


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