1963 Thanksgiving Menu

For November, well at least for the next two weeks, I am going to be doing something kind of different. This is the month of Thanksgiving and to celebrate it, I followed a complete menu from one of my vintage cookbooks. This is something I have always wanted to do. One of my favorite things about old cookbooks is the menu section. My mother got gifted as a wedding present The Old Fashioned Cookbook by Jan McBride Carlton and I used to love looking at the elaborate menus featured in that book. The meals looked so grand and different from what was usually on the table. I still immediately look for the menu section when I get a new cookbook for my collection. Now that I am older I do realize that these menus are a very idealized version of what the cookbook author thinks a meal should be and probably most people did not eat as such.


My mother’s cookbook.

For this menu, I choose to make the one from the Better Homes and Garden Birthday and Family Celebrations from 1963. So why did I pick this particular menu and not the one from my mother’s cookbook that holds such amazing childhood memories? Well for starters, the menu in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks is a little bit easier and less elaborate than the ones from The Old Fashioned Cookbook. I do intend one day to come full circle and fully cook one of the fancy meals but alas not today.


One of the fairly elaborate menus from The Old Fashioned Cookbook.

Also, the reason I chose the Birthday and Family Celebrations cookbook menu is that not all the items on the menu are new items that need a recipe. So with items such as the turkey or the mashed potatoes, you can just make the way you always do and not get overwhelmed by fifteen new recipes that you need to create. Lastly, my mother has a huge collection of Libby glassware and Fire King dishes from the 1960s so doing a menu from 1963 seemed like a match made in heaven. Oh and the pie but I will discuss that in a later post.


The cookbook that I chose the menu from.

So what is on the menu? (click on the recipes with asterisks to go the post that includes the recipe)

1963 Thanksgiving Menu

Tomato Starter – hot or cold   Curried Wheat Bites*
Melon Pickles       Assorted Olives

Main Course
Roast Turkey    Cornbread Stuffing*
Green Beans Almond*     Classic Waldorf Salad*
Cranberry Sauce    Rolls

Mincemeat Pie      Hard Sauce       Hot Coffee


The foods with asterisks are the items that I followed from the cookbook. For the rest of the food, the cookbook assumes either you already have a recipe or it is something you can purchase at the store. I did have to make a substitution with the cranberry sauce. The original recipe called for making a mold with fresh cranberries but when I made this menu, fresh cranberries were not available yet. Therefore I used the canned jellied cranberry sauce instead as I could not substitute the recipe I usually make for Thanksgiving as it too uses fresh cranberries. I am still going to make the recipe just later in the month and if it works out I will do a post with the recipe. So in the next two weeks, I will first talk about the starters, then move to the main course and finish with the dessert. Thank you in advance for letting me indulge in a girlhood dream! Also yes I fully admit I was a weird child and I am absolutely fine with that.


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