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13 vintage turkey recipes that would ruin anybody's Thanksgiving

Breaking the wishbone is a Thanksgiving tradition revisited by many families for decades. Unfortunately, for some brave feastgoers in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, some experimental turkey dishes from probably fell in that category, too.

Don't blame mom, though. Blame the subtle, sentimental genius of early ads in Ladies Home Journal or Better Homes and Gardens that convinced home chefs to toss the traditional turkey aside and instead dice up the turkey with bits of pineapple and suspend it all in strawberry Jell-O, with a thick base of cream cheese for good measure. It's all your favorite tastes, just served up in a vastly different way!

In some homes, instead of gravy and cranberry sauce, there was Cheez Whiz and Campbell's creamy soup. To today's fresh-obsessed families, it seems like turkey anarchy with an extra heaping of mayo.

Did any of these turkey plates and platters below find their way into your family recipe Rolodex? Stick out your plate and scroll below for a second helping of Turkey Day's most dismal dishes.


Turkey in Aspic

What's in it: turkey, eggs, asparagus spears, pimiento strops, gelatin, chicken broth, onion, lemon juice, horseradish, parsley

Perfect for that rare Thanksgiving feast where everyone's counting calories?

Full recipe, if you dare.

Image: Homes and Gardens


Tangy Creamed Turkey

What's in it: margarine, mushrooms, onion, turkey, green pepper, green peas, mayonnaise, pimiento, yogurt, saffron rice

Creamy-mayo-mushy-pea-pimiento goodness!

Full recipe, if you dare.



Tempting Turkey

What's in it: turkey, Cheez Whiz, broccoli, bread

Nothing says home-cookin' like "Nut-Sweet Swiss Flavor Cheez Whiz Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread"!



Turkey Cheese Ball

What's in it: cream cheese, turkey, toasted almonds, mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder, parsley, crackers

Nobody will be quite sure what they're eating exactly, but one thing's for sure: You'll have a ball!

Full recipe, if you dare.



Turkey-Mushroom Salad

What's in it: turkey, mushrooms, celery, pimiento-stuffed olives, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, Romaine lettuce

The 1970s were all about variety in your salad — and pimiento everything.



Turkey Layer Loaf

What's in it: jellied cranberry sauce, gelatin, turkey, celery, stuffed olives, mayonnaise

When we imagine a relaxing Thanksgiving day, this is not the kind of loafing we had in mind.



Turkey Fruit Salad

What's in it: turkey, apple, walnuts, grapes, pineapple, mayonnaise

Just in case that savory mushroom salad wasn't doing it for you, there's always the turkey fruit salad, shown here in a cranberry Jell-O bowl, because of course.

Full recipe, if you dare.

Image: Ladies Home Journal


Turkey Fruit Salad

What's in it: turkey, pineapple, grapes, apple, walnuts, mayonnaise, gelatin, cranberry juice, peaches, cream cheese, celery, lemon juice

This is like the last turkey fruit salad on steroids. It's all combined into one giant turkey mass, with a cream cheese base sturdied by crunchy chunks of celery.

Full recipe, if you dare.



Cranberry-Orange Ring

What's in it: oranges, strawberry Jell-O, jellied cranberry sauce, chopped nuts, turkey, celery, mayonnaise

It's all about presentation when you're mixing turkey cubes, Jell-O, nuts and mayo.


Golden Turkey Salad

What's in it: turkey, peaches, olives, lettuce, hot biscuits

The trick to the golden turkey salad? Garnish, garnish, garnish.

Image: Ladies Home Journal


Holiday Turkey Salad

What's in it: turkey, celery, orange slices, French dressing or mayonnaise, salad greens

Feeling festive? Swap out the mayo for French dressing and embrace that holiday zest!

Full recipe, if you dare.



Turkey-Apple Bake

What's in it: onion, butter, condensed cream of chicken or mushroom soup, nutmeg, turkey, apples, raisins

Is it dinner? Dessert? We'll tell you one thing. It's the '50s.

Full recipe, if you dare.

Image: Ladies Home Journal


Sociable Crackers

What's in it: turkey, cranberry

"The most partyable snack crackers" in 1963 came with tons of suggestions for canapés we'd likely pass up as picky kids, including the little bites shown here.

Image: Ladies Home Journal

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