Tuna waffles. Bananas with mayonnaise. Hot Dr. Pepper poured over slices of lemon. People can eat anything if they put their minds to it. Anything. Nothing proves this better than taking a gander at vintage recipes that create spectacularly weird combinations of food.
So we bring you [drum roll] adverts of weird meals from the not-so-distant past that will make you pity your parents, shout ‘Yuck!’, and have a whole new appreciation for living in the 21st century. It’s nice having the option of not eating Jell-O topped with mayonnaise and strawberries and—oh God, I think I’m gonna be sick—
Honestly, though, ham with bananas, as well as hotdogs in hot cheese soup both sound delicious. I’ll have to try them out at my next soirée. So while I’m thinking of how to lose friends and deter people with my gastronomical genius (read: evil ways), scroll down and enjoy the culinary delights from the 50s. Upvote your favorite disgusting recipes and share this list with your foodie friends. And let us know in the comments which meals you’d be willing to taste or if you’ve tried any of these recipes before!
Bored Panda spoke to Professor Nathalie Cooke from McGill University to learn more about vintage foods. Scroll down for the full exclusive interview.
According to Professor Cooke, vintage party food recipes from the 50s are “the result of food fashion—but not just of a food ‘fad.’”
“That is, the basic flavor combination is something that reaches across the decades. What you’re describing may seem very odd to us in the 21st century, but the taste combinations—savory and sweet (tuna waffles, ham and bananas) or sweet and sour (mayo with lime) are surely very familiar.”
The Professor continued: “There were ‘fads’ at mid-century: think of cookbooklets demonstrating how to decorate one’s ham with slices of canned pineapple, topped with the bedazzling red of a maraschino cherry, for example! And you don’t mention the jaw-dropping recipes incorporating marshmallows in main course dishes, recipes that were brain children of corporate marketing departments.”
“But if we were to create one of today’s favorites from scratch, say Pad Thai, we would start from the same basic taste combinations you describe in what at first glance seem like bizarre plate partners,” Professor Cooke explained how things haven’t changed as much as we believe.
“Cooking bitter tamarind with water, raw sugar and fish sauce will build the basic foundation (sour, salty and sweet). To that one would add the requisite green onions, bean sprouts, and noodles—and likely some additional flavor notes such as shallot, garlic, and perhaps dried turnip (salty and sweet) to deepen the flavor.”
Bored Panda was interested to hear the Professor’s thoughts about what foods future generations will find strange but that we seem to eat without any problem at all.
“Perhaps that we try to ‘eat’ food without any taste at all—in the form of vitamin pills? Or drink it—in the form of smoothies? That we replicate the animal kingdom and encourage children to consume it—as gummy bears, cracker fishes, dinosaur eggs in oatmeal? That we continue to be mystified by the miracle of bread and milk?”
Professor Cooke also revealed what vintage party food recipe she personally likes best. “Our gang is always delighted when we’re invited to a winter party where someone serves ‘weenies’—those little sausages that swim in sauce in a serving dish, and one fishes them out with toothpicks.
Every generation has its own fashions and quirks, whether we’re talking about food or clothes. When you’re surrounded by what’s supposedly normal and awesome, it’s hard to see that things are objectively weird and will change with the times.
I’m sure that future generations will think that we’ve been eating peculiar things as well. Like vegetable chips (crisps if you’re British) made from beetroots. Or burgers that have mushroom caps instead of buns. Or anything super healthy and vegan.
To help you stay ahead of the culinary curve and keep on being a food fashion expert, here are some gastronomical tendencies to look out for in 2020, according to Forbes. Get ready to see lots of West African food on supermarket shelves, the continued rise of non-alcoholic drinks in bars, as well as healthier alternatives to the food that we usually give our kids.
Oh, and you’re about to see butter become a buzzword. From watermelon seed butter to chickpea butter, you’re going to see lots of alternatives to palm oils. All in the interests of protecting orangutans and tigers who suffer when palm oil is harvested, of course. In no way is this buttery niche temporary and meant to make profit by appealing to people’s sense of empathy for the planet and its ecosystem. Who would even think that?
Meanwhile, soy has been in the spotlight for far too long. It turns out that lots of people are allergic to soy, so some brands are moving away from it to ‘better’ alternatives like hempseed (it’s, like, everywhere now), avocado (no surprise there), and mung beans.
And for all of you fellow carnivores out there, you’re about to see more and more burger joints adding plants and mushrooms to their meat mix before cooking. Funnily enough, I’ve been doing that for years and it’s delicious.