Completely Insane Meals From The '50s, '60s, And '70s That Defy All Logic
By Sarah Norman | October 17, 2023
Monterey Souffle Salad
Welcome to a culinary journey through the middle of the 20th century in America, where food innovation sometimes knew no bounds. For many of our readers, these recipes might stir nostalgic memories of dinners, parties, and gatherings hosted by mothers and grandmothers who were the true kitchen trailblazers of their time. But fear not, dear curious souls, for this slideshow is not just a walk down memory lane. It's an exploration of the audacious and, at times, bewildering creations that graced the dining tables of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s.
From Cheesy Hot Dog Soup to Jell-O Gazpacho Jiggler with vegetables, and the ever-mysterious Deviled Lettuce with Miracle Whip, we invite you to join us on a flavorful and slightly skeptical adventure through a bygone era of American cuisine. So, whether you're here to reminisce or simply out of sheer curiosity, let's dive into the delightful world of mid-20th-century recipes that will leave you both intrigued and questioning your taste buds. Keep scrolling to discover these culinary gems of yesteryears!
Ah, the culinary masterpiece of the 1960s, the Monterey Soufflé Salad, a delightful blend of gelatin, lemon juice, mayonnaise, tuna, celery, olives, pimento, and onion – because nothing says "refreshing" quite like a wobbly, mayo-infused fishy conglomeration. It's as if they were trying to recreate the ocean's finest in a gelatinous, seafood-scented monument to culinary curiosity. Just imagine the excitement at a 1960s dinner party when this quivering monstrosity was served: "Oh, darling, have you tried the Monterey Soufflé Salad? It's positively gel-tastic!" Because nothing screams sophistication like a tuna-topped tower of mayo-laden oddities.
Cheesy Hot Dog Soup
Cheesy Hot Dog Soup, a culinary curiosity plucked straight from the whimsical world of 1955, offers a new way to ponder the age-old question: "What else can we do with hot dogs?" This warm concoction boldly combines some of the most cherished ingredients of its time: hot dogs, processed American cheese, frozen mixed vegetables, and pimiento, all swimming in a sea of milk and butter. It's like someone looked at a bowl of perfectly good soup and thought, "You know what this needs? Hot dogs!" Cheesy Hot Dog Soup: a recipe that's less of a revelation and more of a testament to the infinite versatility of the humble hot dog.
Hot Dog Crown Casserole
Hot Dog Crown Casserole, a dish that gives new meaning to the phrase "food fit for a king," raises eyebrows and questions in equal measure. Originally dubbed the frankfurter crown casserole, this '60s creation features bacon, a can of Campbell's mushroom soup, sliced cooked potatoes, cooked cut green beans, and hot dogs—split and cut in half, for that regal touch. It's like they set out to craft a meal that would make a statement at the dinner table, and that statement seems to be, "I dare you to try and define what's happening here." Hot Dog Crown Casserole: where hot dogs and casserole collide in a majestic culinary spectacle that leaves you pondering the royal status of your dinner. Because why have a regular hot dog when you can have one with a crown?
Frosted Ribbon Sandwich Loaf
The Frosted Ribbon Sandwich Loaf, also known as the "fancy lady finger sandwich's wild cousin," is quite the head-scratcher. These dainty nibbles, normally reserved for the poshest of gatherings, take a surprising turn with a filling made of ground cooked ham, finely-chopped celery, pickle relish, and mayonnaise. It's like someone raided the picnic basket at a black-tie event and decided, "You know what would make this even fancier? Ground ham and pickles!" It's a culinary twist that leaves you both intrigued and skeptical. But who are we to judge the whims of fancy ladies and their eccentric sandwich loaves? After all, sometimes the most unconventional concoctions turn out to be strangely delightful, even if they do raise an eyebrow or two.
7-UP Mayonnaise Jello Salad
In the 1960s culinary creativity took a detour down the surreal highway of gastronomic absurdity, leading us to the perplexing marvel known as the 7-UP Mayonnaise Jello Salad.
Picture this: a dessert disguised as a salad, with a flavor profile that straddles the perplexing chasm between key lime pie and citrus cheesecake. It's got a delightful lineup of 7-UP, marshmallows, lime Jello, cream cheese, maraschino cherries, crushed pineapple, mayonnaise, and the pièce de résistance, Cool Whip. Because nothing says "salad" quite like a concoction that's more dessert than leafy greens.
One can only imagine the sheer audacity of folks digging into this creamy, fizzy, mayonnaise-laden wonder and declaring, "Ah, what a healthy salad!"
Glace Fish Mold
The Glace Fish Mold, a testament to the perplexing world of mid-20th-century cuisine, sounds more like a science experiment gone wrong than a dish to be savored. It's a symphony of plain gelatin, pimento cheese, cucumber, green pepper, and a seemingly random cup of flaked fish, all thrown together in a culinary blender of confusion. And after this curious mishmash congeals, it's shaped into, well, a fish, because why not? Because nothing says "delightful dining" quite like a gelatinous, fish-shaped conglomerate of ingredients that seem to have attended entirely different food parties. The Glace Fish Mold: when "mold" isn't just a cooking technique but a potential result of eating it.
Perfection Salad, a culinary curiosity from the 1960s, raises the question of what exactly perfection means in the world of salads. It's a masterclass in confusion, blending unflavored gelatin, a can of apple juice, shredded carrot, cabbage, green pepper, and pimento into a perplexing amalgamation. And to complete this symphony of randomness, it's all shaped into a mold, because nothing says "salad" like something that bears a striking resemblance to a rejected Jell-O experiment. Perhaps, in the 1960s, perfection was measured by how bafflingly different a dish could be while still retaining the salad label. It's a wonder people didn't question this culinary oddity more often.
Egg Nests, the 42-cent sensation of yesteryears, a recipe so groundbreaking that it's almost impressive how much hype it garnered for something as basic as eggs on toast. Picture this: eggs, toast, butter, and a pinch of salt. That's it. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying this humble meal, the audacity of marketing it as some kind of culinary revolution is, well, intriguing. It's like shouting from the rooftops that you've discovered the wheel, but in reality, you've just put eggs on bread. But hey, in the world of vintage advertising, even the simplest dishes could be made to seem like the cutting edge of cuisine. Egg Nests, a case study in how to turn a snack into a spectacle.
Mock Apple Pie
Mock Apple Pie, the culinary chameleon of the Great Depression era, is a pie that defies all apple pie expectations. It's a delightful deception that looks, smells, and tastes like a classic apple pie, but instead of relying on the bounties of an orchard, it finds its magic in a humble box of crackers. Born out of the resourcefulness of the 1930s, this pie truly hit its stride during World War II when apples were rarer than a hen's tooth. The twist? There are zero apples in the recipe! Instead, it features the unsung heroes of Ritz crackers, a dash of vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of cinnamon to conjure the illusion of apples. It's the kind of pie that makes you marvel at the ingenuity of generations past and raises the question: who needs apples when you have crackers that can make magic?
Ham and Bananas Hollandaise
Banana and ham hollandaise, a dish that raises eyebrows and questions in equal measure. Picture this unlikely duo: six medium bananas frolicking alongside six slices of boiled ham, a dash of prepared mustard, a splash of cream, and a sprinkle of hollandaise sauce mix. It's the kind of culinary combination that makes you wonder if someone's taste buds had taken an unscheduled vacation. One can't help but be a tad skeptical about the pairing of sweet, mushy bananas and savory ham under a blanket of creamy hollandaise. But hey, in the world of gastronomy, sometimes the most bizarre mash-ups turn out to be surprisingly delightful. Or, at the very least, an unforgettable conversation starter at the dinner table!
Frozen Fruitcake Salad
Frozen Fruitcake Salad, straight out of the '60s and from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, is a culinary time capsule that leaves you both amused and slightly perplexed. Imagine this: gelatinous delights brimming with bananas, pineapples, and a kaleidoscope of red and green candied cherries. It's like they raided the Christmas decorations to spice up your dessert. But wait, it doesn't stop there; this frozen fruitcake spectacle sits perched on a bed of greens, with even more greens nestled in the center. Because nothing screams "salad" like a fruitcake taking up residency on a lettuce stage. In the world of vintage recipes, it's clear that creativity knew no bounds, even if it led to a dessert that seems like it's trying to masquerade as a salad.
Fruit Cocktail Eggnog Pie
Fruit Cocktail Eggnog Pie, a recipe from the time when culinary experimentation often resulted in head-scratching combinations. In this 1950s gem, a can of fruit cocktail is cozying up to an envelope of gelatin, eggnog, whipped cream, and a double dose of flavoring with vanilla and almond. It's like someone decided to throw a holiday party for their pantry and invited everyone, regardless of compatibility. The result? A pie that tastes like it can't quite decide if it's a fruity paradise or a creamy eggnog indulgence. But hey, in the fabulous fifties, the kitchen was a playground of possibilities, even if it occasionally meant dessert trying a bit too hard to be a holiday buffet.
Pineapple Chicken Salad
Pineapple Chicken Salad, a culinary time warp straight out of the 1950s, where the line between salad and a tropical luau blurs. This retro sensation brings together a motley crew of ingredients: mayonnaise, diced cooked chicken, diced canned pineapple, diced green pepper, and diced almonds. It's like someone took a game of culinary dice and decided to roll them all at once. But that's not the end of it, oh no! This salad extravaganza is served in a hollowed-out pineapple, because apparently, regular serving bowls were far too mundane. It's a salad that begs the question, "Is it a side dish, or is it a centerpiece?" Pineapple Chicken Salad: where salad creativity met a tropical identity crisis, all with a side of mayonnaise, of course!
Sequin Salad, a recipe that sounds more like a fashion statement than a dish, is a true relic of the past. Lime Jell-O, grated onion, raw cauliflower, and diced pimento combine forces in a culinary ensemble that's as puzzling as it is colorful. Imagine vinegar-soaked cauliflower, pimiento, and onion floating in a sea of lime Jell-O, as if the '60s were trying to invent an avant-garde art installation on a dinner plate. One can't help but raise an eyebrow at this curious concoction. Sequin Salad: the dish that's here to prove that sometimes, the flashiest thing on the table is also the most perplexing.
The Tuna Ring, a relic from the wacky world of 1950s cuisine, offers a novel take on the term "dinner theater." Picture this: a baked biscuit-like ring, an edible crown fit for a culinary monarch, proudly encircling a cheesy tuna sauce in the center. It's as if the '50s decided that regular dinner plates were just too mundane and opted for something that screams, "I'm quirky and I know it!" With Bisquick, evaporated milk, flaked tuna, grated cheese, pimiento, and onion in the spotlight, it's a symphony of flavors that can either be the star of your meal or the quirky sidekick, depending on your culinary mood. Tuna Ring: because sometimes, the most perplexing recipes are also the most unforgettable.
Macaroni Loaf, a confounding recipe from the fabulous '50s, promises to transform your everyday macaroni into a culinary adventure. With a flair for drama, it combines elbow macaroni with half a pound of Velveeta pasteurized process cheese spread, milk, tomato sauce, and a hint of piquant pimiento, green pepper, and onion.
It's like the era decided that macaroni was simply too mundane and thought, "Why not mold it into something unexpected?" The result is a loaf-shaped enigma that's part casserole, part science experiment. Macaroni Loaf: because who needs a plain old plate when you can have your mac 'n' cheese in loaf form, just like they did in the good ol' days!
Tuna Dreamboats, the delightfully strange creation from the 1950s that had everyone wondering if the culinary ship had sailed off course. Imagine, if you will, a green pepper transformed into a vessel, stuffed to the brim with an eclectic mix of evaporated milk, half a pound of grated American cheese, a small mountain of cooked rice, two cans of tuna, and a sprinkle of chopped pimento for that extra dash of whimsy. It's like they asked themselves, "How can we make tuna casserole even more nautical?" Tuna Dreamboats: because sometimes, it's not about where you're going, but how creatively you can navigate the seas of mid-century cuisine.
Frosted Layered Sandwich Loaf
The Frosted Layered Sandwich Loaf, a relic from the culinary archives of the 1960s, is a sandwich that insists on being a cake. Imagine a towering creation with layers that could rival the most extravagant of cakes: curried egg salad, tomato, chicken salad, and a hearty dose of deviled ham-pickle filling, all sandwiched between slices of bread. And as if that weren't enough, it's crowned with a velvety smooth concoction of mayonnaise or salad dressing and cream cheese. It's as if they couldn't decide whether they were making a sandwich or a dessert, so they just decided to combine both worlds. Frosted Layered Sandwich Loaf: because why settle for ordinary sandwiches when you can embark on a bewildering journey through 1960s cuisine?
Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake, a culinary enigma straight from the swinging '60s, leaves you scratching your head and wondering, "Is this dessert or a tomato-themed conspiracy?" With ingredients like lard, butter, soda, flour, cinnamon, sugar, a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, raisins, and a dash of ground cloves, it's like they threw everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. The result? A cake that seems to have taken a wrong turn at Tomato Junction. Tomato Soup Cake: a dessert that boldly challenged the very definition of "cake" while making us question the culinary choices of our not-so-distant past.
Seafood Newburg, the culinary riddle wrapped in a lobster-flavored enigma. This American seafood creation boasts a lineup that includes lobster, butter, cream, cognac, sherry, and eggs, with a secret twist revealed to be Cayenne pepper. It's like someone decided to throw a fancy seafood party in a pan and then invited their spice rack to join in the festivities. Seafood Newburg: where lobster meets a symphony of butter, booze, and eggs, all with a spicy sidekick that leaves you wondering if it's a culinary masterpiece or just an elaborate prank from the seafood-loving prankster of the past.
Souperburgers, the culinary rebels of the burger world, ask a daring question: why settle for a plain old hamburger when you can have a ground beef concoction that proudly includes chopped onions and a can of Campbell's chicken gumbo soup? It's like they set out to reinvent the burger, took a detour through a soup kitchen, and ended up with this curious creation. Souperburgers: because sometimes, when you're tired of the same old flavors, you throw caution to the wind and let the soup cans dictate your dinner. Who needs a regular burger when you can have an adventure in skillet cuisine?
Deviled lettuce with Miracle Whip
Deviled Lettuce with Miracle Whip, a culinary head-scratcher from the swinging '60s, leaves you wondering whether your taste buds are in for a treat or an existential crisis. Picture this: a mishmash of iceberg lettuce, cream cheese, deviled ham, Miracle Whip, and an assortment of salad veggies that seem to have been thrown into the mix for good measure. It's like they challenged themselves to transform a simple salad into a labyrinth of confusion. Deviled Lettuce: because nothing says "party treat" quite like a lettuce-wrapped puzzle that was somehow the life of the '60s luncheon scene. Sometimes, you just have to marvel at the culinary curiosities of yesteryears!
Tomato aspic with potato salad
Tomato Aspic with Potato Salad, the curious concoction that proves the '60s were a time when culinary experimentation knew no bounds. Imagine a bright red tomato aspic gelatin ring, garnished with celery leaves and onion, like something from a kitschy sci-fi movie set on Mars. And as if that weren't enough, it's filled with creamy potato salad and eggs. It's as if someone looked at a tomato and thought, "You know what this needs? A potato salad center!" Tomato Aspic with Potato Salad: where gelatin, vegetables, and creamy spuds collide in a spectacle that leaves you questioning the sanity of the summer luncheons of the past. One can't help but wonder if this dish was a culinary experiment or just a playful nod to the abstract art of food.
Double Decker Peach Jell-O Salad
Ah, the 1970s, a time when culinary creativity sometimes veered off into uncharted territory. Enter the Double Decker Peach Jell-O Salad, a dish that starts off sounding promising with apricot brandy, sliced peaches, and orange gelatin – a flavor combination that could be intriguing. But then, just when you think you're on the brink of a tasty dessert, it takes an unexpected turn. The recipe insists on serving it atop a bed of lettuce. Sorry, 1970s, but let's be real – no matter how much you dress it up, placing Jell-O on lettuce does not magically transform it into a salad. Double Decker Peach Jell-O Salad: where the line between dessert and salad blurs into a culinary twilight zone.
Rice Krispies Crunchy Chicken
Rice Krispies Crunchy Chicken, the culinary collaboration that makes you wonder if the mid-century kitchen was a battleground of bizarre experimentation. Picture this: Hellman's real mayonnaise and Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal joining forces to deliver "Moist 'n Crispy" chicken. The Rice Krispie coating promises a crust so crisp it could wake the neighbors. It's like someone opened the fridge, found a lonely jar of mayo and an unassuming box of cereal, and declared, "Well, I guess it's chicken night!" Rice Krispies Crunchy Chicken: a testament to the "make it work" spirit of mid-century cooking, where the crunch of cereal meets the mystery of mayo for a dining experience that defies explanation.
Jell-O Gazpacho Jiggler with vegetables
Jell-O Gazpacho Jiggler with vegetables, the very epitome of the '70s culinary quirkiness, takes the classic chilled vegetable soup and gives it a whimsical gelatin twist. Because who doesn't dream of a salad that jiggles? It's as if someone couldn't decide whether to have a salad or dessert and decided, "Why not both?" So, they threw a bunch of tasty vegetables into a gelatin mold and called it a day. Jell-O Gazpacho Jiggler: where vegetables meet gelatin, and you can't help but wonder if it's a party dish or just a puzzling experiment in the name of retro cuisine. Yum? Well, that's a matter of interpretation.
Avocado ham ‘n egg salad
Ah, the 1970s, a decade known for its audacious culinary escapades, and none more bewildering than the Avocado ham 'n egg salad. Picture this: a California avocado half, hailed as a natural salad bowl, filled with a concoction of ham and egg salad drenched in mayonnaise. It's like they couldn't decide whether to serve it on a plate or in a fruit basket. Avocado ham 'n egg salad: a culinary head-scratcher that leaves you wondering why they felt the need to turn a simple salad into a stuffed fruit bowl, complete with breadsticks and crackers for the ultimate in overcomplication. The '70s, where food and confusion danced a tango of questionable creativity.
Hidden Valley Ranch 6-layer tuna salad
The Hidden Valley Ranch 6-Layer Tuna Salad, a culinary oddity that combines the thrill of a seven-layer dip with the mystery of canned tuna. Yes, you heard that right. It's like someone looked at the beloved seven-layer dip and thought, "You know what this needs? Tuna!" You can eat it in a sandwich, as a dip, or basically however you want to consume this sodium-filled, zesty nightmare. It's a culinary creation that leaves you questioning the sanity of the flavor experiment, while simultaneously tantalizing your taste buds with a fusion of flavors that's either genius or just plain bonkers. Hidden Valley Ranch 6-Layer Tuna Salad: because sometimes, the best way to keep a secret is to hide it in a salad.
Celebration Sandwich Loaf
The Celebration Sandwich Loaf, straight from the groovy 1970s, is a towering tribute to the era's audacious culinary spirit. It's like a stacked sandwich loaf decided it wanted to be a multi-course meal. Picture this: layers of ham, salmon, egg, and chicken spreads, each carefully separated by slices of bread and then crowned with a cream-cheese mayo frosting. It's a dish that raises an important question: What are we celebrating here? Perhaps it's a tribute to the marvel of layering everything edible in sight. Or maybe it's a silent nod to the inevitable spike in cholesterol. The Celebration Sandwich Loaf: where every bite is a surprise, and the only thing higher than the sandwich is the intrigue surrounding it.
The Waldorf Salad is a timeless testament to the baffling tastes of yesteryears. Originally dreamed up by Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d' of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, this salad was a marvel of simplicity - apples and celery, a dash of mayonnaise, and a lettuce bed. Perhaps they thought that putting an apple on a plate counted as innovation in the early 20th century. It's like they were trying to create a dish that straddles the line between salad and a peculiar science experiment. This is what mid-20th-century dining is all about - a culinary adventure that meant adding nuts to your apple-and-mayo combo.