1958 Thanksgiving Menu: Appetizer

This post is going to be kind of short as there is only one starter this year: Shrimp Cocktail. The recipe card only includes the directions to make the sauce. I guess they assume you already have some cooked shrimp lying around. I just gave my shrimp a quick boil as that seemed like what a mid-century cook would have done. Though any way one likes to cook their shrimp (or buy it pre-cooked) will work for this recipe.


Shrimp cocktail being a starter is not surprising as it use to be a VERY popular appetizer for quite a long time. Making this to go along with this 1958 Thanksgiving menu made me remember that a shrimp cocktail ring was always at the holidays in my family during the 1980s and 1990s. I am not quite sure when it stopped but it probably was when getting shrimp for a group started getting quite pricey. To highlight how popular seafood cocktails were in the mid-century, I would point out that the recipe card had five different ways to make this sauce.


This one is a very basic cocktail sauce. It can be easily tweaked to suit one’s tastes. Like it spicier: add more horseradish, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce. Less spicy is your thing: swap the cayenne out for paprika, omit the hot sauce and maybe do less horseradish.

Don’t like shrimp but still want a mid-century appetizer? Well then check out some of these:
Lively Dip
California Dip
Mish Mash Dip
Clam Dip
Blue Cheese Balls
Curried Wheat Bites
Blue Cheese Walnut Cheese Ball
Tomato Aspic

Red Cocktail Sauce

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

A classic shrimp cocktail sauce


  • 1/2 cup ketchup or chili sauce (or a combo of both)
  • 2 tsp grated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and chill well in the fridge.
  2. Serve with seafood of choice.


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