Recipes: Betty Crocker's 1967 'perfect traditional Thanksgiving menu'

Everything from how to roast and carve a turkey, to the perfect sides and five pumpkin pies to end the meal according to 1967 standards. Photo: (

WASHINGTON, November 27, 2013 —In 1967, America was focused on civil rights and the war in Vietnam. The Beatles had just released their Sgt. Pepper album and the nation was still coming to terms with the tragic events five years earlier in Dallas when the nation lost its President.

A dozen eggs cost $.52 cents, a gallon of milk was $1.20, a postage stamp cost $.18, and a gallon of gas ran $.55.

Thanksgiving was a major family holiday in 1967.

Many things have changed over the last 45 years, but many remain the same.

Betty Crocker’s Hostess Guide of 1967 describes the suggested “perfect” traditional Thanksgiving menu.

“Thanksgiving dinner is the most traditional holiday party of the year.

The emphasis on the celebration is on the food and requires a great deal of attention. This is the one time that the hostess can accept assistance that is offered by a teenage daughter, sister or aunt.


Harvest Celebration Cup

Roast Turkey with Stuffing

Buttered Mashed Potatoes

Giblet Gravy

Creamed Onion Almondine

Lima Beans with Mushrooms

Corn Sticks

Cranberry Relish Mold

Choice of two Pumpkin Pies


Start with the Harvest Celebration Cup:

Thaw two packages of frozen mixed fruit; do not drain. Spoon some fruit and syrup into each punch cup. Pour chilled pink sparkling Catawba grape juice into each cup; stir once. Serve immediately.

Roasting the turkey:

Heat oven to 325. Rinse bird with cold water and pat dry. Fold wings, bringing the wing tips onto the back. Fill neck cavity lightly with Bread Stuffing. Fasten neck skin to back with skewer. Stuff body cavity lightly, do not pack as stuffing will expand while cooking. Rub cavity of bird lightly with salt if bird is not going to be stuffed. Push drumstick under band of skin at tail or tie drumsticks to tail. Place turkey breast side up on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush skin with fat. Place the meat thermometer so the bulb is in the center of the thigh muscle or the thickest part of the breast meat. Be sure the bulb does not touch bone. Roast and baste occasionally with pan drippings. When turkey is 2/3 done, cut band of skin at drumsticks so heat can reach inside the thighs. Place foil over browned areas. Allow turkey to stand 20 to 30 minutes to ‘set’ before carving.

How to carve:

  1. Place turkey in front of host with legs to the right. Starting at the nearest side, cut legs from body, first bending it back with left hand. Lift to auxiliary plate; sever thigh from drumstick. Slice meat from leg.
  2. With fork astride breast, cut down sharply on joint connecting wing to body. Starting at point where wing had been attached, cut thin slices of breast meat working up to breast bone.

Bread Stuffing:

¾ cup minced onion

1 ½ cups chopped celery, stalks and leaves

1 cup butter

9 cups bread cubes

2 teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons crushed sage leaves

1 teaspoon crushed thyme leaves

½ teaspoon pepper

Cook onion and celery in butter in a skillet, stir in 1/3 bread cubes. Turn into deep bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss lightly.

For regional additions:

Add 2 cans chopped oysters for New England

Add 3 cups chopped apples and ¾ cup raisins for Far West

Add 1 can drained corn and ½ cup chopped green pepper for Midwest

Add 2 cups chopped pecans for the South


Giblet Gravy:

Giblets and neck from turkey

1 celery stalk cut up

1 onion sliced

1 large carrot cut up

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt 6 cups water

½ cup all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon sale

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

Wash giblets and neck, refrigerate liver. Place gizzard, heart and neck in saucepan with vegetables, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt and the water. Heat to boiling; simmer 2 ½ to 3 hours, adding liver for the last 20 minutes. Strain broth, discard neck and vegetables. Coarsely chop giblets and set aside.

Pour turkey drippings (meat juice and fat) into a bowl, leaving brown particles in the pan. Let fat raise to top; skim off fat. Place ½ cup fat in the roasting pan. Blend in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Measure giblet broth; add meat juice if necessary to measure 4 cups. Stir broth into flour mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Stir in giblets, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Heat through.

Creamer onions almondine:

In one large pan, prepare 3 packages (9 ounces each) frozen onions in cream sauce as directed on package except substitute sherry for 1/3 of the liquid. Turn into serving dish, sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted slivered blanched almonds.

Lima Beans with Mushrooms:

Prepare 2 packages ( 10 ounces each) frozen small lima beans as directed on package. Drain 1 can (6 ounces) sliced mushrooms. Add mushrooms and 3 tablespoons soft butter to the drained beans; toss.

Corn Sticks:

1 egg

1 ½ cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon soda

½ cup all purpose flour

1 ½ cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup shortening

Heat oven to 450. Grease corn stick pans; heat in oven. Stir together all ingredients; beat vigorously 30 seconds. Fill heated pans 2/3 full. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Cranberry Relish Mold:

1 package (3 ounces) lemon flavored gelatin

1 cup boiling water

1 package (10 ounces) frozen cranberry-orange relish

1 (8 ¾ ounces) crushed pineapples (undrained)

1 unprepared red apple, chopped

½ cup chopped celery

Crisp salad greens

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in frozen relish, fruit (with syrup) and celery, stirring until relish is thawed. Pour into 1 quart mold; chill until set. Unmold onto salad greens.

Pumpkin Pies:

Old-fashioned Pumpkin Pie

2 eggs slightly beaten

1 can (1 pound) pumpkin

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon cloves

1 2/3 evaporated milk or light cream

Heat oven to 425. Mix ingredients and pour into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350; bake 45 minutes or longer until inserted knife comes out clean. Cool.

Surprise Chiffon Pie

Under fluffy pumpkin chiffon is a layer of rich mincemeat- a splendid choice for those who cannot decide between the two traditional favorites.

1 1/3 cups mincemeat

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

½ cup brown sugar packed

¼ teaspoon each salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg

¾ cup canned or mashed cooked pumpkin

2 egg yokes

1/3 cup milk

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream or tartar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


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