Vintage Humor- A look at Better Homes and Gardens, Dec 1966

I collect vintage magazines, and love to peruse them.  There is nothing better than a look back at those arts, crafts and recipes that were popular in the 50’s and 60’s.  Just makes you wonder what in the heck they were thinking!  So, let’s take a look at Better Homes and Gardens, December 1966!

better homes and gardens december 1966

Let’s say that you have all the relatives coming over to your house this year and you need to up the ante. Last year, Aunt Ethel had the holiday dinner at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Uncle Waldo won $300 dollars at the penny slots and your cousin Fred came back married to some dance hall girl.

Of course the marriage didn’t last once she saw the trailer park, but everyone still agrees that it was the best holiday function ever. This year, the gathering is at your house and Aunt Ethel is all smug thinking that she has totally showed you up.  So it truly pays to plan ahead. Let’s get some inspiration from our 1966 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine!

Looking for a great Christmassy centerpiece idea? Well certainly! After all, the Venetian had a huge bouquet of poinsettas at the center of the table and a carved ice sculpture of Santa and his reindeer. Everyone thought it was so funny when Uncle Waldo used antler ice for his Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.  (You know, you can take the family out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the family)!

So how can we compete with that?  We definitely need to come up with something a little more unique…

cranberry candles vintage better homes and gardens

Well here we have congealed cranberries with mayonnaise and candles! An amazing way to impress even the Grinchiest of Grinches!  Think of the utter jealousy on Aunt Ethel’s face as she drops off her carrot and celery jello mold and checks out the decorations in the dining room! You know she will be in awe.

Why hadn’t she thought of this first? The Venetian is so behind the times!! All that gelatin sitting around in boxes just waiting for a chance to be center stage. Oh, and cranberries and mayo too. So jiggly, so tasty, so internal organ-like! Hurry and blow out the candles and pass the mayo!  Because we really need mayonnaise with this.  It’s quite obvious.

mystery meatloaf vintage better homes and gardens

And let’s make our famous tomato/tuna mold. This edible piece of paradise is comprised of tomato flavored gelatin, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, cream cheese, celery, onions and a butt-load of tuna. Yumm!

I’m guessing that tomato flavored gelatin never became very popular, as I believe it might be difficult to duplicate this tasty recipe in today’s market. We may have to substitute another flavor.  Do you think strawberry jello would go well with tuna?  And again with the mayo! I’m thinking that mayonnaise in 1966 was used as a kind of spackle to hold together gelatinous substances.

Fabulous as it is by itself, we have chosen to decorate it with deviled eggs and an unspecified red tubular stuff. Since they don’t go into how it was decorated, of course my mind fills in the blank. What could that decoration be? Why didn’t they tell us? Did it just move?

Let’s back away slowly….

macaroni ornaments vintage better homes and gardens

We need fancy ornaments for the tree! We are competing with the Venetian, after all. They had live peacocks.  The article reads “The ornaments on these pages look like expensive hand-sculpted vignettes- but they are all made from that wonderfully prevalent product- pasta!”

Vignettes!  Now that sounds fancy! You know, I had to look several times to see it, but yep, I believe there are macaroni in there! Amazing. To be honest, I believe the 60’s had the market on macaroni crafts. Check out the three kings in pasta

pasta three kings vintage better homes and gardens

Can’t even tell that they are made of macaroni, can you?

macaroni pineapple vintage better homes and gardens

So let’s take it a little further. Rather than going out and spending your hard earned dollars on a real pineapple centerpiece, we can put one together with macaroni wheels, gold beads, artificial foliage and a 12″ plastic foam egg. Set this on the diningroom table next to the congealed cranberry candles and poor Aunt Ethel will be delirious with envy. Oh, and mayonnaise. We certainly need more mayo.

macaroni trees vintage better homes and gardens

How about these lace-like fantasy trees? Simply glue circle pasta together in larger circles, saturate with glue, and when dry- glue to a dowel and paint! But don’t stop there! Create a bunch of these amazing centerpieces for your friends and family. A truly unique way of telling them how much you care. And how much you really didn’t want to spend on them this Christmas.

Because you weren’t the one that won $300 at penny slots. Just saying.

But I can guarantee that your gift will be talked about. For years to come. Eat your heart out, Las Vegas.

An amazing feast for the eyes. Fake pineapples, macaroni decorations, gelatin covered everything and congealed cranberries with candles! Uncle Waldo will be glad that he went to your house this year instead of one of those ritzy gatherings put together by Aunt Ethel. Heck, you can go to the monster truck ralley right after you finish your strawberry jello encased tuna!  Can’t do that in Vegas!

And cousin Fred has found new love with your other cousin, Cletus. (The dance hall girl kinda soured him on traditional love).  They promised to bring some barbequed possum appetizers to go along with your spread. We just need condiments to go along with it. What do you think they should bring? Hmmmm….What? You said mayonnaise? Ding, Ding! Wanda, show them what is behind curtain #2!

movie projector vintage better homes and gardens

A Kodak Instamatic M70 movie projector! But that isn’t all! Just for you, I’m throwing in two macaroni ornaments and a whole plate of brussels sprouts in aspic!

With mayo.

Because you are totally my favorite reader.  Just saying.

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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • NancyGrace November 5, 2015, 3:52 pm

    FINALLY! I now know where pasta comes from, after seeing thoses Pasta trees. Thank you SO MUCH for clearing up that mystery for me!

  • Beverly Dearduff September 24, 2015, 11:37 pm

    I love the vintage needle work books. My grandma had a lot of Workbasket Magazines. She would always give me the iron transfer patterns. I ended up with them, went through each one some dating 1953, tore out what I could use, and threw out the rest. Most of the items were out-of-date. The knitting and crocheting were. They even knitted/crocheted swimsuits! There were a lot of bazeer (sp) ideas and how to price them. The items I kept were the how-to’s like how to knit, crochet, Swedish weaving, and some simple tatting patterns. My other grandma taught me how to tat, an “lost art”. I kept the quilt blocks for each state. I plan on starting to quilt when I get rid of the craft stuff I don’t use anymore or have collected from garage sales. I want to live in a small space with my 3 dogs, 2 birds, and no clutter. I’d loved to live in a motorhome, but it would have to be handicapped accessible. I like your craft ideas.

  • brandi July 8, 2013, 9:18 am

    I have never wanted a mayo sandwich so much in my life. Tuna, mayo, hard boiled eggs, pasta…come on, that sounds good. You just have to mix and match ingredients from whatever horrid gelatinous disaster is happening there.

    • Susan Myers July 14, 2013, 1:13 pm

      Ha! I think I’ll pass on the gelatinous substances!

  • Kathy July 3, 2013, 10:38 am

    okay, I want to make the mac pineapple too! They forgot the pasta angels though. Just saying….

  • Paula July 3, 2013, 6:25 am

    love the pasta creations, I remember making some in School, and making them with my children !!!

  • norene July 2, 2013, 10:26 pm

    I loved reading this one again. It’s was always one of my favorites.

  • Freebird7100 July 2, 2013, 7:30 pm

    I must say, Just the word gelatinous scares me. Never thought of all the holiday things you can do with Mayo. Cant wait to go here for the holidays as tomato/tuna gelatin is one of my favs!!!! Yay for tomato Jello, YAY for red tubular unknown food-like items and a major YAY for macaroni wise men!!!!

    • Liz April 20, 2015, 12:41 pm

      One of my aunts or uncles must have created a macaroni wise men portrait in the 1970s. It proudly adorned my grandparents wall throughout my childhood and adolescence. Their’s was painted gold to give it a regal appearance.

  • Barbara July 2, 2013, 6:04 pm

    I’m going through my collection and was just going to toss some vintage magazines. Would you like them? Pay the ship and they are yours – I have a ton.

  • Kathe July 2, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Okay, be honest now, raise your hand if you were totally thinking of doing up the pasta pineapple yourself…c’mon…just me?

  • Glenda July 2, 2013, 10:45 am

    In their defense, as macaroni crafts seem to be a staple in vacation bible school and daycare, I’d rather get one of those ornaments than my child’s representation of me in pasta. Just saying.

  • Happier Than A Pig in Mud July 2, 2013, 5:45 am

    I think Aunt Ethel wins! I’m really not sure what to say… The food looks, um, scary, but I do remember making quite a few pasta ornaments as a kid:@)

  • Norene September 14, 2010, 7:52 pm

    That was very informative. I must say I do remember those fantastic gifts, but I never had tomato aspic or congealed tuna. I must have missed out. I did like the macaroni pineapple though. Let's see whose name I have for Christmas. I never did care for mayo much . Salad dressing was my taste. Loved your blog as usual.

  • Barbara September 14, 2010, 3:41 pm

    Oh how cruel! I have that magazine and I love the macaroni stuff! Tuna and tomato, not so much. We were simpler then, us sixties babies. Imagine our pleasure when cassette recorders came out and we could…wait for it…record our own voices!! The thrill, damn, it was good!

  • Lynda September 14, 2010, 2:42 pm

    Damn! Lynne grabbed the macaroni ornament idea before I had a chance to!!! Well, just so long as I get one for my tree. I want it to be the centerpiece. Hey! How about the star on top of the tree made from macaroni?? Hmmmm. Would that go with mayo?

  • Lynne September 14, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Seeing all these vintage recipes lets me know I was definitely deprived as a child. My mom never ONCE made a meaty gelatin type dinner with mayo dip! Not even for holidays. Nope – we only got stuff like fried chicken, meatloaf and porkchops (with applesauce of course!)

    Can't tell you how much I appreciate the ideas for the ornament club. Macaroni snowflakes here we come! Of course you know I will add some glitter. Since it was your idea, let me know which one you like best and I'll make sure you get it. 😉

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