1965: Middle of the decade dinners

Maybe this was Mom's recipe?
Maybe this was Mom’s recipe? Read all the way to the end to see when she made this….

Think about this country in 1965.

The Dick Van Dyke show – the best sit com ever – was in its 4th season.

The Dick Van Dyke show
The Dick Van Dyke show

But things weren’t all that great otherwise.

There was civil unrest related to the Vietnam War and racial conflicts. The St. Louis Arch was completed. The Voting Rights Act was passed.The Gemini Space Program continued to pave the way for the Apollo missions. John F. Kennedy had been shot nearly two years ago, but Martin Luther King was still alive. Warren Buffet was 35 years old (just two years younger than my Mom) but already on his way to being one of the richest people in the world

And get this: Hypertext was invented. Hypertext! Which is what I’m doing right here: All the information above came from this site and this one and this one. So if you click on those hypertext links, you will see my sources. But alas, as happens on the world wide web – those links will eventually rot. I learned to my sorrow that probably 85% of the links on my old blog from 10 years ago are already broken.

It was a very, very different world – and yet the seeds of the future that we now inhabit were planted.

But life for a midwestern, mid-century wife and mother went on more or less peacefully inside the home no matter the storms that raged outside. In 1965, my Mom had two children in school, with a 4 year old and 1 year old at home. Dad was working as a door-to-door Fuller Brush man as he had been since before they were married in 1956.

We had a lot of these Fuller Brush brooms over the years.
We had a lot of these Fuller Brush brooms over the years.

And it seems that either she was doing a little more entertaining now that the children were a bit older, or maybe she was just making sure to write down more of the meals.


John & Teddy (her older brother and his wife, who’d been married in 1963, I think)

pork tenderloin (Christmas season)

Palm Sunday (a day in which storms literally raged outside: “An estimated fifty-one tornadoes (forty-seven confirmed) hit in six Midwestern states killing anywhere from 256 to 271 people and injuring some 1,500 more.”)

Aunt Anna, John, Lawrence, Barb, Richard  (I’ll have to dig up the family tree, but I’m pretty sure these were some of Dad’s relatives. I believe Lawrence was the farmer who delivered eggs to the house every other Saturday; they were in a big wicker basket, and he’d come into the back hall and fill up Mom’s egg cartons, they’d chat for a few minutes, and then he’d be on his way to the next customer.)

Standing ribs
green bean cass.
apple pie

May 8

Bob & Mary Ann
Dick & Dorothy

ham, raisin sauce (my Grandma’s recipe)
sweet pot.
green & gold veg.

choc. angel strata

Don’t know what green and gold vegetables are. The raisin sauce I remember from childhood, and I even made it once or twice, but it wasn’t a hit with my family.

May 23, 1965

Mart & Anna
Grandma and Aunt Catherine

(So here we have three sisters – Catherine, Regina (Grandma), and Anna, along with Anna’s husband. Catherine never married, and at this point my Grandpa had already passed away.)

vegetables & dip
pork tenderloin patties

baked potatoes, sour cream
green and gold vegetable bowl
(again with those mysterious green & golds)
canned corn
ginger pear jello
mile high strawberry pie

I just had a brainstorm: the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1965, so I wonder if those green and gold vegetables were some sort of nod to that. Hmmm.

About those recipes:

I have no idea what pork tenderloin patties are.

That mile high strawberry pie might have been this vintage recipe (it wasn’t in her Betty Crocker cookbook).

And the ginger pear jello? After a little searching, I suspect it may have been this one (see the photo above), or something very like it. Mom liked jellos with fruit and vegetables, but not with cream cheese like some of the ginger pear jello recipes I found.

That brings us to the end of the 1965 menus.

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