Kate Sheppard’s Pie & Salad de Beauvoir: a Feminist Thanksgiving

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving every year I’ve lived in New Zealand. It started as a tradition that my in-laws did with me, as a way to make me feel more at home (I have truly wonderful in-laws), and, when they moved down to the South Island, and we bought a house, we began alternating between hosting it in Wellington, and flying down to Nelson to celebrate with them.

The first year we had it in Wellington a friend sent me a link to this article, with feminist themed Thanksgiving recipes.  I was delighted.  What a marvellous idea!  Elizabeth Candied Stanton Sweet Potatoes have since become a firm favourite at Thanksgiving (Rutabaga Ginsberg is also very nice).

Thinking on the theme of feminist food, Kate Sheppard’s Pie is an  obvious as a choice.  However, it’s food-overkill at Thanksgiving.

So, the solution: hold a Kiwi Feminist Thanksgiving, held on the Sunday after White Camellia Day (and the day after our election).  A group of friends came round to celebrate all of the awesome women who have made the world a better place, bringing their own delicious and deliciously pun-y contributions to the festive table.

My photographs aren’t the best, as I was busy being a good hostess rather than a good photographer, but I thought you might still enjoy seeing the spread and getting some inspiration for your own feminist thanksgiving.

We had:

Vegetarian Kate Sheppard’s Pie (of course!):

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

I was incredibly pleased with how this came out.  I have notoriously bad luck making anything casserole-esque, but this received rave reviews, even from the meat-eaters.

Salad de Beauvoir with Simone de Balsamic dressing:

And, since I love salads:

Oarangula Burdete-Coutts orange, kale, cashew, & chevre salad with honey dressing:

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

I’m particularly pleased that the ingredients for this reference her roles as President of the the British Goat Society and British Beekeepers Association.

Tahirih Tahini flavoured hummus (not shown)

Commemorative venison pies:

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

Pun loving geek that I am, I suggested these could be called ‘Don’t call me sweetie-pies’, but Hvitr went with the more elegant and restrained commemorative origami camellias.

Gal Gatteau cake

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

A slightly controversial entry in the feminist rolls –  but a bit of controversy to stir healthy debate amongst friends is always welcome!

And, finally, a bit of classic American feminism, in the form of Susan B Apple-ny pie.

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

Over dinner we had fun coming up with more feminist themed dishes, such as:

(we didn’t use many non-Western examples, because making puns out of names is insulting in some cultures).

I’m sure you can think of more though! What else should we serve at next years Feminist Thanksgiving?




  1. Susan Robinson says

    You can always tell a good apple or fruit pie because it overflows. In my family, it has to overflow or it gets the old “humpf”. It looks like a fabulous dinner.

    • Hear hear on the fruit pies! Your family sounds like a family after my own heart. It was a very delicious apple pie indeed!

  2. Meira says

    What a fun idea! Let’s see…Ruth Bader Ginsburgers, famous five spice cake (for the Canadians; the Famous Five challenged the Supreme Court to have women declared “Persons”), hmmm….howabout Leimomi Oats cookies?

    • You’re good at this! I particularly like the Famous Five! I’ve enjoyed reading about them, and the name lends itself to so many dishes. Famous Five bean salad, Famous Five ingredient X. You could have a whole Famous Five themed dinner!

      I do make a rather good oatmeal raisin cookie, but I feel just a smidge (and then some!) underqualified 😉

  3. Kate / ascasewwen says

    I am clearly lacking the valuable life skill of turning names into food-related puns as I’m drawing a blank, but my standby feminist food is Suffragette Salad- a salad made of your choice of purple, green and white foodstuffs. Although it doesn’t fit the NZ feminism stipulation.

    • It took me a while to get into it too, despite my love of puns! It didn’t have to be NZ feminism by any means – we just highlighted the local aspect, as I would hope anyone would do in their country. I am a fan of suffragists over suffragettes though, so not so much a violet, green, white costumer 🙂

  4. I’m thinking my culture might be one where making puns out of names might be (mildly? Or really?) insulting. It doesn’t sound like something I could do in Czech. And English is much more pun-y than Czech; so much so that puns of this kind in English are still one form of English-language humour that goes over my head and feels kind of childish, so I’m afraid I can’t properly appreciate this. It’s maybe the sort of thing children might do in Czech? I think it has something to do with the fact that Czech – as a flexive language – is much more precise with its word forms… e.g., it’s not just “apple pie”, it’s something more akin to “appelty”. It’s a bit more difficult to make puns of this kind when your words twist with every slight difference of grammar!
    I think Czech has its own forms of word humour, but they work differently, is what I’m getting at.
    One could still totally do something like this, though; it just might require a bit more of research into famous figures’ favourite dishes, for example.

    • I’ve already got Sylvia Pankhurst pancakes on the list! 🙂

      I’m not a fan of Emmaline & Christabel. The more I read about them, and the more research I do on them, the more self-interested they look. :-/ Sylvia went a bit weird at the end, but her social work in the earlier years was pretty admirable.

  5. Elise says

    How wonderful! I host a giant Thanksgiving every year, with a dessert contest (so people can bring delicious things while I still have control of the menu…because I am weird like that). I think having a Feminist Dessert Contest would be great! I have neighbors from Korea and Colombia, and it would be great to eat delicious food inspired by women in their countries’ history!

    (I hope I hope I hope that someone brings pink meringues that look like pussy hats!) (Oh! And that my friend who harvests her own honey does Burdett-Coutts!)

    • Elise says

      That….sounded way more heteronormative than I meant…Or maybe it is extra-meta because “women + cooking = patriarchy” for so long that a feminist Thanksgiving is super-subversive. Well, if we can celebrate awesome American women while also learning about awesome Colombian, Korean, and-who-ever-else-surprises-us-at-the-doorstep WOMEN are is fine by me. We will discuss over Pinot Bryn-Noir!

        • Charly says

          We had a Pie Feast on Pi Day one year. Three courses of three pies per course. Plus bread shaped into the numbers of pi to about a dozen decimal places. It was fantastic but I swore off pies for a couple of months afterwards which is surprising given that I love pies.

      • This is a bit too early for suffrage, but it brings to mind Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová (whom once upon a time I wanted to honour in the Heroes HSM challenge but never finished the small thing I set out to make…). During the Czech national revival of the 19th century, she was one of the first if not the very first Czech female writer; but her various literary and social efforts have been completely overshadowed by the COOKBOOK. As in, I remembered she wrote poems, and taught young women, but refreshing my memory on Wikipedia now, I found out she was also a playwright, and started a library. As in, more than a hundred and fifty years later, cookbook and recipe writers STILL take some cues from her. She’s the golden standard of good old Czech cuisine, the one people keep turning to to “get it right” (which, speaking as one who’s attempted a couple of her recipes, can be an effort after such a long time, but is totally worth it).
        And she wrote it to help other women; so I think that’s pretty valid in this context.

  6. SueAnne says

    This is incredible! I’ve done “Friendsgiving” in the past, where all of our friend group gathered for food before they head off to their families for actual Thanksgiving, and I’m thinking that needs revived as “Feministgiving”. 😀
    I’ve been trying to think of an Alice Paul themed food, as I’m in America, or maybe Lucy Burns, though it’s hard to think of a food called “Burns” that hasn’t been burnt! Haha. And perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt… now the wheels are turning. Thanks for this awesome idea!

    • Elise says

      The maillard effect is all burn! And there is also “creme brulee”, a dish literally about a burn!

        • SueAnne says

          I like it! Thank you both! Now to learn to make a proper crème brûlee (which I totally Googled to learn to spell with proper accent marks, haha)

          • I love you all! This is the best conversation to be following!

            Funny crème brûlee* story. Mr D loves crème brûlee EXCEPT for the part which makes it brûlee: the crunchy burnt shell. So he has literally asked restaurants if he can have crème brûlee ‘except without the nasty sharp layer on top’. Watching the waitstaffs faces is pretty much the best thing ever…

            *totally copied and pasted from your comment for the correct marks SueAnne 😉

  7. Ha, never say never. After the fact, I suddenly thought “apple charlotte for Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk”.
    If I didn’t already have travelling plans for October 28th, I might even attempt that…

    • Also, the first Czech member of Parliament (or rather, its Czech Austro-Hungarian predecessor), elected even before women got the vote and never truly fulfilling her mandate until after the creation of Czechoslovakia (apparently, though – and I love this part of the story – there was nothing in the law barring women from being candidates, even though they could not vote, so in 1912 most of the parties in the Mladá Boleslav district got together and all put forward female candidates…) – anyway, her name was Božena Viková-KunÄ›tická, where the first part of her surname also lends itself to a food pun, because “vikev” is Vicia, i.e. including the fava bean…
      … in case anyone out there is okay with using a (rather controversial in other respects) Czech personage.
      (Sadly, it seems it’s really just a pun rather than actual language connection.)

  8. What a fun idea. And giving thanks to the women and men who proved that womankind had more to offer society than what was traditionally expected deserves thanks.

    Elise’s Thanksgiving with her international friends bringing their celebration dishes is a perfect example of what that first Thanksgiving was about. Speaking of which, the dishes that were contributed to the bounty of your Thankgiving look scrumptious. Would you please share the recipes? All in the spirit of Thanksgiving of course.

    Speaking of celebration dishes, would you share recipes with us? It all looks scrumptious!

  9. What a fun idea. And giving thanks to the women and men who proved that womankind had more to offer society than what was traditionally expected deserves thanks.

    Elise’s Thanksgiving with her international friends bringing their celebration dishes is a perfect example of what that first Thanksgiving was about. Speaking of which, the dishes that were contributed to the bounty of your Thankgiving look scrumptious. Would you please share the recipes? All in the spirit of Thanksgiving of course.

  10. It seems to me that semolina needs to be somewhere on the table, to commemorate the force-feeding of imprisoned suffragists. This is rather like the bitter herbs on the Passover table.

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