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30 Recipes From The Past That Show How Everything Has Evolved, Even Our Taste (Interview With Expert)
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.
30 Recipes From The Past That Show How Everything Has Evolved, Even Our Taste (Interview With Expert)
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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.

Comments (97)
DemPugs
Gelatine salads/everything was such a huge fad in the 60's. Some of them make me want to gag. GELATINE SALAD!
nintendoccult
Why is everything that shouldn’t be in gelatin, IN GELATIN?
He is love
some of these were ok but most were just awful. i kinda liked this post because it's the first time i don't feel nostalgic for the good old days.
Full Name
Somebody's in tight with the mayo/banana/unflavoured-gelatine lobby.
Merty Robinson
Part of me really wants to make these for when my in laws come visiting at Christmas.
April Simnel
Half the problem is that the photos are so luridly colored. I mean, the food is mostly gross anyway, but the pictures make these, uh, “dishes” look so much worse.
Elina Kuusisto
Growing up in rural MN I ate A LOT of this kind of thing.
Gipsy Kings fan
I was a kid in the U.S.A. in the '60s. These hideous recipes / photos made up by food companies to advertise their products are good for a laugh now, but are NOT an accurate representation of the way people really cooked and ate in those days. My Mom used some of the convenience food products but in a normal way, e.g. pan-fried chicken with gravy made with Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup; Rice-A-Roni as a side dish. Other typical dinner items were meat loaf, hamburgers, mashed potatoes, spaghetti with tomato/meat sauce, macaroni & cheese, vegetables, green salads. She made one molded gelatin dessert that was beautiful as well as delicious, a purple marbleized confection made with lemon Jello, blueberry pie filling, and real whipped cream.
chi-wei shen
I had to stop after 26 items because I couldn't stomach this anymore.
Toujin C'Thlu
Some of this stuff doesn't sound bad. But the photography and over-the-top presentations make it look less than appetizing.
I love Foxxy
Blurgh, this is a whole lotta nope.
John
I kind of want to make a YouTube channel where each episode I make a couple recipes from the 40-60s and make my friends eat then. By which, I mean I want someone else to do this and i watch it endlessly.
Dani
Moral: Miracle Whip is disgusting. Case closed.
Random Panda
There is too much gelatin in these. And how is anything covered in it a salad?!
E A M
So. Much. Gelatin. They left off my favorite recipe... It's sounds horrific, but tastes really good... Tuna Casserole. 1 box Kraft Mac & Cheese, 1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 can of Tuna. Prepare the mac & cheese as per instructions, add soup & tuna. Spread buttered bread crumbs over the top and bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
ƒιѕн
Cook away my friends..... http://www.midcenturymenu.com/
Phoebe Bean
Ha, ha, ha! Good ideas to "surprise" my guests this Thanksgiving or even Christmas!
We'llSee
Some of those are cringe worthy, I can''t imagine anyone actually eating that, my Mom loved using Jello we had banana puddings and such but never, ever anything like these gelatin creations lol
Jim Ellington
I heard that someone once actually came up with a recipe that involved putting pineapples on pizza!
C
It's like the episode of the office where everything is put in jello
Zelda Blue
Its no wonder that they all drank and smoked so much during that era. For the love of all that is holy the only way to force most of those dishes down would be to do it totally tanked. BLECH!!!!
Mark Fuller
This was laugh out loud funny. Seriously, I didn't know whether to eat half or these or attack them! So love the more unique and original posts like this!
Rench
I remember reading my mother's cookbooks from the 60s. A lot of this type of recipe were in there.
D. Pitbull
So... "back in the day" - it was all gelatin and Miracle Whip... and just like today, Asian dishes are found to be "strange"... Right. - organ meat and pig's feet, y'all, it's still good and sweet 'n' sour is still going on today...
jamie1707
So much jello in this thread! He's a very cool song about weird jello recipes: https://youtu.be/7tWuG2oPL3o
Elle Roque
Professor Cooke studies food. Hmmm
Sterrinatu
This was disgusting! I loved it!
Niffler_13
my grandmother still makes Gelatin salads for every holiday. Usually lime ones with celery. All the kids bet each other to take a bite. So gross lol
CrunChewy McSandybutt
Ah, the 70s: where everyone was colorblind and jello came in meat flavor.
Iggy
Anyone else feeling a bit queasy?
Bill
Somebody leaked the dinner menu from Hell
SomeGuyinWY
I threw up in my mouth. Not just a little. Several times.
Danielle Renee
why is it all so gelatinous?
Ella Blackwood
I would be emaciated if I had to eat that kind of sickening food on a regular basis. I'd rather starve to death.
Pseudo Puppy
"the combination of "sweet and sour" eg mayo and lime...." um.... mayo is not *meant* to be sweet. Only americanised mayo has sugar added, or worse yet, corn fructose syrup. :(
nala simba
I feel ill! Lost my appetite .
Christine M Quigley
I think there's too many weird colors, too much processed meat, too much Miracle Whip (which is not a miracle in any stretch of the imagination), and too much gelatin. Just weird recipes that needed to go away.
Anthony Picco
Boomer meals... this is why we are all f**ked up!
TheDragonInTown
I am glad I wasn’t born back THEN!
Annie
Flashbacks! (Shudder! Gag!)
Mark D
??
Kay Cross
I remember us thinking they looked horrid back then. Maybe because my family was 2nd generation and we ate a Mediterranean diet, but we gagged at the thought of spam in the 60s and Miracle Whip.
Dorothyann Umbrello
Sure glad I never saw any of those!
Brandy Grote
Aspics and jellies became popular at the end of the 19th century among the wealthy. Then, with the advent of refrigerators, middle class people could make these dishes with gelatin that set in cold. So in essence, being able to successfully make and serve one of these dishes meant you had a refrigerator. You were now rich enough to mimic what the upper classes had been eating. As more people got refrigerators through the century, these abominable recipes spread like black mold.
Meami
So many of these looked like a lot of work for something no one would want to eat.
Janet Frank
Thank heavens I grew up keeping kosher! Dodged many bullets!
John Baker
Funny, I don't remember these things being common in the '60s and '70s. I remember seeing the recipes on Jell-O boxes and in magazines, but I don't recall very many people actually making them. Gelatin with fruit, yes, but not the rest.
daisydiamond
I actually couldnt make it through this list, i was heaving so badly
Rhiana
Jello molds were very over rated back in the day... Some look like molded nightmares.
Koalamonster
If you're curious about stuff like this check out Emmymadeinjapan on YouTube. In her "you made what?" series she did dragonball weird aspic/gelatin things. Including one with spaghettios.
Chris DiFonso
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Šimon Špaček
I think I saw few of those in Kitchen nightmares.
Just Me
No one ever made this for company, at least. Please.
Helen Cowan
Wow! No wonder people were thinner in the 60's!!
Lira Mai
I couldn't imagine the taste of any meat or meatloaf mixed with gelatin.
Lola
I wonder if some people still make these.
Just Tina
Did 'Salad' mean something else back then?
Rhon
I don’t remember seeing any of these in the sixties. I’m really happy about that!!
Jane Alexander
Great new weight-loss diet here! Just look at these pictures and you won't want anything to eat.
Lilli
these made me sad. were there any meals that weren't gelatinous jail cells of horror??
3ke
Mayonnaise and gelatin... ugh...
Kim Bush
I'm hoping no one actually tries any of these recipes
Serbob
I'm so glad some of these came with the recipes so I don't have to search for them!
Jaguarundi
This was a nice, disorganized, stagger down memory lane
Seabeast
Lilek's Gallery Of Regrettable Food has even more of this. Good for an hour or so of horrified laughter.
Cindy Snow
Some of these are gross( many abuses of bananas!) But the meat puddings and igloo look good .and salmon salad is similar to crab dip. I like jellied souse but i admit im weird.
BiLal Asif
Just for once tell me who the hell came up with all of these things??
Eric Allen
I think that prior to serving most of these dishes I would have to yell, "Behold God's mistake!"
Everleigh
All of these recipes sound pretty disgusting to me!
B
So glad the 70's are over...
Ed Souza
Apparently gelatin in your food was appetizing in the 60's...
Dave P
I think the death penalty is too kind for the monsters who created half of these horror film rejects
Kjorn
Mayonnaise and Gelatine… the 60's and 70,s dish. how could they still be alive
Loki’s Lil Butter Knife
Mmmm, I can’t wait to make me a trifle with alternating layers of Miracle whip, pineapple, and beef-flavored aspic! Maybe I’ll throw some prawn heads in there for good measure.
Leo Domitrix
Or you can just bake a nice basic cake people want to eat.
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