A Gathering of Days: Fall
A  WebQuest for Middle School or Junior High, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University 

“Cassie and I and Mrs. Shipman have already begun the preparations for the Thanksgiving meal. The cakes we make first are those that keep best in the cellar’s cool. Last week we turned out some gingerbread; today we made a Yankee Cake and a firm Plum Pudding. Mrs. Shipman’s sister in Salem had sent a new receipt for this, but as we had no currants here we had to do without.”

--from A Gathering of Days Monday, November 1, 1830

Thanksgiving is still an exciting time of family, friends, and food. During the time of Catherine Hall, Thanksgiving was even more exciting because people traveled to see their loved ones less than they do today, so it was a special time to spend with those people you didn’t see very often. Like today, the meal preparation was very important; however, we don’t usually begin cooking 24 days in advance! Your task is to create an ingredient list for the goodies Cassie, Catherine and Mrs. Shipman made and then create a dessert ingredient list of your choice.


1. You will preview the following websites to find authentic 1800’s recipes for gingerbread, Yankee cake and plum pudding:

2. You will create an ingredient list for the three recipes listed above. Be sure to add together all of the same ingredients into one large amount. For example if one recipe calls for 2 cups of flour and the other calls for 3 cups of flour, you will write down 5 cups of flour.

3. You will create an ingredient list that has been divided up into food groups: dairy, poultry, grains, fruits, etc.

4. Any food product on the list that would not be made on their family farm needs to be identified (put in bold, highlighted, underlined, etc.)

5. Each food category must be clearly labeled.

6. Each category must also be illustrated with either a hand-drawn picture or a computer graphic.


1. One of Thanksgiving dishes that is most anticipated is dessert! Many of our favorite desserts are served after the Thanksgiving meal, just as in the time of Catherine Hall’s dinner with her family. You will choose one of the recipes following recipes that you researched: gingerbread, Yankee cake, or plum pudding.

2. You will create a recipe card for the Thanksgiving dessert you have chosen.

3. You will follow the steps outlined on the recipe card to create your own Thanksgiving dessert to share with the class.

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This page was developed by Samantha McMaster Warren, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.

Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.