1963 Thanksgiving Menu: The Main Course

If you haven’t been following along, last Friday I talked about how I made a whole Thanksgiving menu from the 1963 Better Homes and Gardens Birthdays and Family Celebrations. On Tuesday, I talked about the appetizers. Today I will be sharing the main course which had the following items on the menu: roast turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans almond, classic Waldorf salad, cranberry sauce and rolls.

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The turkey did not have a specific recipe to follow though there was a whole page to explain how one would go about roasting the huge bird in different scenarios. I just made my basic turkey that I usually make for the holiday though obviously it meant that it was not completely 1960s authentic. One day I will share this recipe but as it is one of those recipes that I do a little different each time, I will have to sit down and really figure out the actual recipe. Also the mashed potatoes did not have a recipe in the cookbook either. I just simply mashed the boiled potatoes with a lot butter, some milk and a generous amount of black pepper and salt.

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Next up was the cornbread stuffing. This particular dish also came with a great debate…….do i stuff the bird or not? I kept going back and forth on this issue. It was ridiculous the amount of time I gave this. On the one hand more people probably stuffed the bird in the 1960s then not. On the other hand, I personally like baking the stuffing separate so you get those crunchy bits on top. Plus stuffing the bird does prolong the cooking time. Ultimately, I decided not to stuff the turkey mainly because I was making the turkey that I usually cooked which I leave unstuffed. If the menu called for a specific turkey recipe and that recipe called for stuffing the bird, I would have. Though I did have to tweak the recipe a little bit which just meant I had to add a little more liquid because it wouldn’t have been soaking up the turkey drippings.

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The other sides were green beans almond and classic Waldorf salad. Green beans almond is also known as green beans amandine (European spelling) or green beans almondine (American spelling). This is not surprising that this was the vegetable of choice as tossing slivered almonds on foods was super in vogue in the 1960s. Another popular dish of the time was sole amandine (or almondine). All green beans almond consists of is a super easy browned butter sauce with almonds poured over cooked green beans. The Waldorf salad I will be talking about in a later post as I had already researched the history of the salad before deciding to make this menu. When I noticed that it was one of the dishes I decided to postpone the post. Therefore get ready for a bit of a deep dive into the classic salad.

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Last on the menu was cranberry sauce and rolls. I did hit a bit of a snag with the cranberry sauce as it was supposed it be this gorgeous homemade jellied cranberry mold. The problem you ask? Well I need fresh cranberries and when I made this whole menu, those were not available in the grocery stores yet. So I ended up substituting a can of jellied cranberry sauce. I do now have the cranberries and plan to make the recipe. If it works out I will share it in a later post. The rolls I just used some store bought ones as again there was no recipe for them in the book.

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I was nervous about making a whole bunch of new recipes in one go but these were surprising easily to make. I had the whole main course done in about two and a half hours with a little planning. This was probably considered a good beginner menu at the time for a first time Thanksgiving hosts. I love stress free Thanksgiving menus and this one did not disappoint.

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Cornbread Stuffing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy cornbread stuffing recipe from 1963.

source: Better Homes and Gardens Birthdays and Family Celebrations (1963)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dry bread cubes
  • 5 cups coarsely crumble corn bread
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup of chicken broth

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together in a large mixing bowl the bread cubes, corn bread crumbles, poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. Salt and pepper.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted cook the celery and onion till tender but not browned. Then add to the bread mixture.
  4. Add the eggs and chicken broth and mix well.
  5. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes.

Notes:

  • To dry your bread cubes, spread on a baking sheet (you may need two) and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • If you do want to stuff you turkey, according to the cookbook this will stuff a 10 pound turkey. Just use only 1/4 cup of the chicken broth instead of the full cup.
  • If you use the bag stuffing cubes, just be aware that a lot of them come preseasoned as well so you may want not need the extra salt.

Green Bean Almonds

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A popular side dish from the 1960s.

source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (196os)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups green bean, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the green beans until tender about ten minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook the butter with almonds over medium low heat until a golden color, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and lemon juice.
  4. Arrange the green beans on a platter and pour the butter sauce over the vegetable.

 

 

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