“Exciting” Holiday Menus

How to prepare Exciting Holiday Menus

I am not sure “exciting” was the best word to describe the rather uninteresting recipes in this small cookbook. Roast turkey and traditional Thanksgiving sides are hardly breakthrough exciting dishes. My experience is that most people want the boring turkey for Thanksgiving. (Turkey bondage not withstanding.) In addition, the author gives the reader some narrative about her choices.

However my favorite recipe in this little book is the one for toast. You read that right. A recipe for toast. Okay, I guess the exciting part is that they aren’t using a toaster. (GASP!) They went wild and cut off the crusts and used the oven. Hell, they didn’t even use an interesting bread. They went right for the basic white.

I don’t know if I can hold back my excitement!





  1. This is one of a series in the Amy Vanderbilt Success Program for Women. Those have come into the library book sale a time or two. Dated and, really, somewhat pathetic. I recall an advertisement for the series. The headline was, “I’ll have the espresso, black,” with the text pointing out her error espresso is always served black. (This was decades before Starbucks and ubiquitous fancy coffee machines.) Had this poor woman taken the AVSPFW she would have known better.

    1. Hmm. I used to get espresso from Starbucks — their only drinkable coffee IMO — and put milk or cream in it. Guess I need a slap on the wrist. (I don’t get it any more because that Starbucks is now a bank.)

  2. The Fish-House Punch looks pretty potent. I’d have a few slugs of that before moving in on any of the other recipes.

    1. My mom used to make Fish-House Punch. You are correct about the effect. It’s tasty.

      Maybe the theory was that if people got drunk enough, they wouldn’t notice your cooking was so mediocre that people who remembered WWI were bored by it.

  3. This was not “exciting” even for 1964.

    We had toasters and didn’t need to take up oven space with toast! Especially on holidays when oven space is at a premium.

    Some of the punches look pretty good, but they’re going to get diluted if you just use a block of ice instead of ice made with the punch.

  4. They call them skewers, but are those nails in the turkey? We used to use nails in baked potatoes when I was a kid, so I guess I shouldn’t be as shocked as I am.

    1. My grandfather was a metallurgist, and he made his own baked potato nails, out of aluminum. I assume he picked the metal that would be the most conductive. I still have them and used them — they are lovely sturdy things.

      He did all the cooking after he retired, which was a big relief. My grandmother was a terrible cook — maybe she used this book LOL. She would cook everything till it was dead, dead, dead. And then salt the heck out of it.

      For hamburgers, she would get the leanest cut of beef and have the butcher grind it. Then she would cook them well done, and of course they were to be eaten with knife and fork, no ketchup or condiments or bun. Funny how one remembers terrible meals. Well, that one was repeated.

      I thought growing up that I did not like fresh green beans, which my grandfather grew in his garden, because she cooked them till they were brown and tasted brown. What a revelation after he took over!

  5. For trussing the turkey:
    “Your favorite cookbook will give directions.”

    If they HAD more than one cookbook, they wouldn’t NEED this pathetic (by modern standards) thing!

    Mind you, as late as the 1960s “The Joy of Cooking” gave QUITE explicit directions on skinning a squirrel, as well as prepping some other now-unexpected wildlife for cooking…….

  6. Waiting 30 minutes for a 3/4 sized slice of oven toast, I can’t see that happening at my house in the morning.

  7. When I took home ec in 1978, we had to learn to make toast in the oven. There was even a quiz. I got points taken off for not stating “open the over door”. A bit weird, since electric toasters have been around since the 1920s.

  8. I like the retro spelling “cooky sheet” as specified in that thrilling toast recipe!

      1. Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks used that spelling, too. At least in their 50s and 60s editions. I always wondered why.

  9. This was not a recipe for toast. It was for toast-points, for the caviar. Perhaps understand the subject matter before being snarky.

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