Courtesy of The New York Times Archives (alternately known as The Times Machine), we now know that a Thanksgiving dinner in the year 1932 cost a mere five dollars and 42 cents.
That’s right — as of November 19,1932, a turkey dinner for five was available for $5.42. [The] same repast cost $7.99 last Thanksgiving,” in 1931, according to the article’s subheading.
“All the ingredients of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner are less expensive this year and families of moderate incomes should be able to afford the best on the market, it became apparent yesterday. Experts in the Bureau of Home Economics of the Department of Public Markets figured that a New York housewife would be able to serve an old-fashioned turkey dinner, with all the fixings, at a total cost of not more than $5.42.”
That estimate includes an eight-pound turkey at 30 cents a pound for $2.40, a pound of shrimp for 22 cents, a mince or pumpkin pie for 35 cents, a medium-sized turnip for 10 cents, and an “allowance for coffee, cream, butter, bread, thyme, sage, sugar, bread for stuffing, milk, catsup and mustard” of 55 cents.