Yesterday's Menus

Cooking up retro menus from vintage cookbooks

1967 Betty Crocker’s Spaghetti Supper: Company’s Coming!


Italian Spaghetti with Meat Sauce*

Salty Breadsticks*

marinated artichoke hearts

Zucchini Toss*

Fruit and Cheese Tray* with Anise Toast*


(*recipe provided)


Today’s menu comes from the 1967 Betty Crocker’s Hostess Cookbook.  That is one fab house!  My dream house is Disneyland’s 1957 Home of the Future (brought to you by Monsanto), but this one would do.

I made this menu to celebrate my niece’s birthday party.  She loves cheese, so this was perfect.  Coincidentally, I also love cheese.  Okay, love might be an understatement.

Dinner took awhile.  It called for an hour and a half simmer time on the sauce and baking the bread sticks and the toasts from scratch(ish), but it was fairly easy.  I put everything on the table and told everyone to move out of the way for the picture unless they wanted to be on the internet.  Typically, my nephew is still in the picture 🙂


I forgot to take a picture of my plate, but here’s Betty’s version:


And yeah.  That’s exactly what mine looked like.

Now for the pièce de résistance:


I impressed myself with this one.  Pretty!

Betty recommended selecting three cheeses for the tray: soft, semi-soft and hard.  I went with a shallot and chive Boursin (not on the list, but one of my favs), Bel Paese, and Gouda for the cheese selections.  Betty also says that I should include a type of cheese that I or my guests hadn’t tried before.  The only two cheeses on the list I hadn’t tried (not that I have a cheese problem…) were Liederkranz and Bel Paese.


The winners:

1) Cheese plate: duh!  Of course it was awesome.  Also, Betty’s requirement of trying a new cheese was quite the success.  My niece said that Bel Paese tasted like string cheese.  It did, but a nice string cheese.

2) Anise (poppy seed) Toast:  Yeah, I forgot the anise.  I’m evidently required to forget something at every shopping trip.  I subbed poppy seeds.  These babies tasted like little biscottis, but were super easy to make.

In the middle:

1) Italian Spaghetti with Meat Sauce:  Good and hearty, but much closer to Sloppy Joes than pasta sauce.  Also, I usually just pop open a jar so this was a bit more work than I typically put into a spaghetti.

2) Zucchini Toss: Actually a nice, refreshing salad, but 1 1/2 tsp of salt in the dressing was way overboard for my tastes.  Also, I had to buy MSG for the first time.  I pulled it off the grocery store shelf and hide it under the lettuce in the same furtive manner that I’d buy laxatives or Oreos.

Also participated:

1) Salty Breadsticks:  With the addition of yeast, I was expecting fluffy, yeasty goodness, but these were hard and crispy.  Not worth the effort, especially since the recipe used Bisquick anyway.  It would have been about the same result to just buy a package of crispy bread sticks.

Italian Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

2 lbs. ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

2 cans (15 oz. each) tomato sauce

2 cans (12 oz. each) tomato paste

1 can (7 1/2 oz.) pitted ripe olives, drained and sliced

2 envelopes (1 1/2 oz. each) Italian-style spaghetti sauce mix with mushrooms

3 c. water

1 TBSP. sugar

1 tsp. crushed oregano leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf, crumbled

16 oz. Italian-style spaghetti

Parmesan cheese

Cook ground beef, onion and pepper until meat is browned and veggies are tender.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the spaghetti and cheese.  Simmer uncovered 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Place in covered container; refrigerate overnight.  To serve:  cook spaghetti as directed on the package.  Heat sauce and serve over the pasta with Parmesan cheese.  8 servings according to Betty, but I estimate at least 12.

Anise Toast

2 eggs

2/3 c. sugar

1 tsp. anise seed

1 c. Gold Medal Flour (I used AP of indeterminate brand)

Heat over to 375.  Grease and flour a loaf pan (9″ x 5″ x 3″).  Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add anise seed; gradually mix in flour.  Push batter into loaf pan.  Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  (Pan will only be 1/4 full).  Remove from pan and cut into 1/4″ slices.  Place slices on a buttered baking sheet; bake 3-4 minutes or until browned.  Turn and bake 3-4 minutes longer.  (Note:  I assume the second baking is also at 375, but the 3-4 minutes didn’t do anything for me, so I broiled for a few seconds until toasted).

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