Culinary Classics for the Holiday Season


Nova Clark

Make New Memories with Yesteryear’s Recipes

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and if you’re cooking this year, you may be trying to think up exciting new entrees to serve your guests. But have you ever considered looking to the past?

If so, you’re in luck: The following list contains deliciously retro recipes for a handful of festive appetizers, entrees, drinks and desserts — all handpicked from a variety of mid-century cookbooks and guaranteed to add a unique charm to your dinner table.




2 cups cold mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder


Blend well together in mixer. Drop a teaspoonful at a time in hot fat. Let fry slowly until the puffs become brown. When well puffed, place on brown paper to drain.

(Recipe from “The Merrie Christmas Cook Book” (1955))



6 hard-cooked eggs

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon dry mustard

About 3 tablespoon salad dressing or vinegar or cream (enough to moisten)


Cut hard-cooked eggs in halves. Slip out yolks. Mash with fork. Mix in rest of ingredients. Refill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping it up lightly. Serve with salads or cold meat platters.

(Recipe from “Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book” (1961))



1 cup milk

¼ cup shortening

 ¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 yeast cake

¼ cup lukewarm water

3½ cups flour


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Scald milk. Add shortening, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add to the cooled milk mixture.

Add ½ of the flour and beat thoroughly. Gradually stir in remaining flour, adding just enough to make a dough that can be handled easily.

Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl and brush top of dough lightly with melted shortening. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk.

Cut off, form into balls and place in greased muffin tins. Brush over with melted shortening. Allow to rise. Place in oven. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

(Recipe from “Carefree Cooking …Electrically” (1951))




Preheat oven to 300 F or 325 F.

Dress and clean turkey. Rub inside with salt and pepper. Stuff neck cavity, spreading over entire breast.

Fasten opening with metal pins. Fill body cavity loosely with stuffing. Rub with butter or make paste of ½ cup butter, ¾ cup flour; spread over all parts of turkey.

Place turkey breast side up in open roasting pan. Drip pan from broiler may be used if large roaster is not available.

Roast uncovered in slow oven 15 to 20 minutes per pound. Turkey may be placed breast side down for first half of roasting time to allow juice to run down into breast. Baste at 30-minute intervals with mixture of melted butter and hot water. When breast and legs become light brown, cover with brown paper.

(Recipe from “The Merrie Christmas Cook Book” (1955))



4 cups potatoes, pared, sliced thin

¼ cup flour

2½ teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons butter or meat drippings

Milk (about 2 cups)


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Drain potatoes. Mix flour and salt. Intro a baking dish put potato, flour mixture (added by sprinkling), and fat (cut in bits) in layers. Pour in enough milk to reach the top layer of potatoes. Cover and bake in a moderate oven ½ hour. Then uncover and bake until tender, usually about 1 hour longer.

(Recipe from “Your Home and You” (1950))



3 medium-sized carrots, cut in strips

2 cups fresh peas

4 tablespoons butter 

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup butter

½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves


Cook carrots in boiling, salted water 15 minutes; drain. Cook peas in boiling, salted water, about 8 to 10 minutes; drain and season with 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper.

Glaze carrot strips in mixture of sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and mint leaves. Place peas in serving dish; add carrots.

(Recipe from “The Merrie Christmas Cook Book” (1955))




4 eggs, separated

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups (1 quart) homogenized milk

Rum flavoring, nutmeg and whipped heavy cream (optional)


In large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and light. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, salt, vanilla and milk. In medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry.

Gently fold beaten whites into condensed milk mixture. If desired, add rum flavoring to taste. Pour into chilled punch bowl or serving cups. If desired, garnish egg nog with a sprinkling of nutmeg and whipped cream.

(Recipe from “The Dessert Lovers’ Hand Book” (1973))



4 quarts water

3 cups sugar

Two cans (6 ounces each) frozen lemon juice

1 quart apple juice

2 quarts cranberry juice

1 pint orange juice

1 pint strong black tea


Mix water and sugar; bring to boil. Combine with rest of ingredients. Mix well. Chill before using.

(Recipe from “Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book” (1961))



¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces

½ cup light corn syrup

⅓ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla, 

1 pint whipping cream (2 cups)

2 quarts milk (8 cups)


Blend chocolate pieces with syrup and water over low heat until chocolate is melted. Add vanilla; pour into jar and refrigerate until cool.

In large mixing bowl beat cream (medium speed) while gradually adding chocolate syrup. Continue beating until mixture mounds when dropped from spoon. Turn into serving bowl. Refrigerate. Just before serving, scald milk. Pour into heated coffeepot or carafe. Fill serving cups half full of chocolate-whipped cream mixture. Fill with hot milk, blend.

(Recipe from “Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book” (1961))




1 package gingerbread mix

1 3-ounce package soft cream cheese

3 tablespoon sherry

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch salt

Walnut halves


Make, bake and cool cake as label directs, using 8” square pan. Beat cheese with sherry until smooth and creamy; gradually beat in sugar, spices and salt, adding a little more sherry if needed.

Cut cake into 2 even layers; with cheese frosting, fill; frost top only. Garnish with nuts.

(Recipe from “Good Housekeeping’s Quick ‘N’ Easy Cook Book” (1958))



1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

3 cups hot water

2 cups finely diced bread or soft bread cubes

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon melted butter OR margarine

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR grated lemon rind


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and water. Add bread; let stand until lukewarm. Stir in eggs, butter or margarine, salt and vanilla or lemon rind. Pour into greased 1½-quart shallow (10½ x 6½ x 2-inch) baking dish. 

Place in shallow pan of hot water. Bake in oven about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. If desired, serve hot or cold with cream, fruit or preserves.

(Recipe from “The Dessert Lovers’ Hand Book” (1973))



1½ cups packaged biscuit mix

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

⅓ cup milk

1 No. 2½ can cling-peach slices, drained

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Light cream


Start heating oven to 450 F. Combine biscuit mix with 2 tablespoon. sugar, cinnamon; stir in milk. Roll into 10” circle; fit into 8” pie plate; fill with peaches. 

Sprinkle with ¼ cup sugar; dot with butter. Fold edges of dough up over peaches. 

Bake 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 F; bake 20 to 25 minutes longer. Serve warm, with cream.

(Recipe from “Good Housekeeping’s Quick ‘N’ Easy Cook Book” (1958))