Weird Foods From The ’50s, ’60s And ’70s
Flickr is a treasure trove of vintage ads, including vintage food ads with recipes that are fun to flip through. There’s a lot of entertainment value in these ads, especially now in the age of perfect food photos on blogs and Instagram.
Take a look at these weird foods through the decades, and the food manufacturers that thought they were a good idea.
A nightmare of a dinner. (Photo: genibee/Flickr)
Could the Monterey Souffle Salad have been the inspiration for the movie “The Blob?” Seriously, look at this fright of lemon gelatin, mayonnaise, vegetables, tuna and what could definitely be confused with an eyeball sitting on top. This is the food of nightmares. And, last I checked, a souffle is baked, not “fast frosted.” (1955)
Recipes for people who don’t know you can dunk you sandwich in your soup. (Photo: Classic Film/Flickr)
Soup and sandwiches are usually a safe bet for lunch or a light dinner — unless the soup is being poured all over the sandwich! Did someone think that dunking a sandwich into the soup was too much work, so they created these “easy” Campbell’s Soup slathered sandwiches? I think it’s more work to use a knife and fork than eat with your hands, don’t you? (1958)
All your holiday candy dreams come true with candles on a square Christmas tree. (Photo: Classic Film/Flickr)
Karo Syrup wanted to make holiday candy fantasies come true with a Peppermint Popcorn Tree made from squares of popcorn glued together with Karo. I’m cracking up at the real candles with their cherry candle holders. They should have stuck with only gum drop ornaments. And, look at that “basic candy recipe” in the beginning of the ad: Karo, confectioners’ sugar and margarine! But the kicker is the bottom paragraph that makes Karo sound like a health food. It’s “a sugar your body uses directly for quick energy!” (1962)
A food partnership doomed to fail. (Photo: Jamie/Flickr)
The two separate recipes in this Mazola Corn Oil Patio Partners recipe are only slightly weird, but it’s the presentation that makes this truly strange. What’s going to happen when someone removes one of the drumsticks that are holding up a bowl of 1960s-inspired cole slaw complete with chunks of jellied cranberry sauce and a big dollop of extra mayo on top for good measure? This partnership is doomed.
This bargain 25-cent recipe book suggests putting fish sticks where fish sticks don’t belong. (Photo: Jamie/Flickr)
Is there any dish that Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks can’t improve? That seems to be the idea behind this 1970s ad for Mrs. Paul’s Meal Makers recipe book. Fish stick tacos, fish stick mushroom caps, fish stick open-faced sandwiches … the sky is the limit. Look at the front cover of the actual recipe book. These dishes apparently pair well with Champagne! (To be fair, almost everything pairs well with Champagne.) All you had to do to get the recipes was stick a quarter in an envelope and in 4 to 6 weeks, this recipe book arrived on your doorstep. (I know it doesn’t say 4 to 6 weeks, but in the ’70s, everything took 4 to 6 weeks.) Sadly, that recipe book rings a bell. There may have been a copy in my home when I was a kid. (1972)
Weird EggNests! from the 1970s have reemerged as the Cloud Eggs of today. (Photo: Jamie/Flickr)
Here’s an example of a weird food from the past that is once again hip. Egg Nests, now known as Cloud Eggs, swept through Instagram earlier this year. What’s fun about this vintage ad recipe is that it’s titled the 42 Cent Lunch, but once you add the salad, milk and fruit you need to complete the lunch, it’s not really 42 cents. (1977)
There are no apples in this apple pie. (Photo: Eliza Adams/Shutterstock)
A super weird recipe that I remember from the 1970s when I was a kid was Mock Apple Pie. I don’t know if it was created in the 1970s, but it was a huge deal with my mom and her friends because it tasted just like apple pie but replaced apples with Ritz Crackers. The weirdest part of the whole thing is why I never asked my mom, “Why not just use real apples?”
I wonder what people will look back on decades from now and think was weird about today’s foods (besides our obsessive desire to document every bite of them). I’m going to take a guess and say rainbow foods may show up in a Weird Foods of the New Millennium piece to be written in 2067.