30 Retro Foods We Can’t Believe Our Parents Fed Us. Food today is pretty straightforward. The movement on eating better has caused people to buy whole grains, more vegetables, and foods that are better for our bodies. That being said, it wasn’t always this way—that’s exactly why it’s called a “movement.” Before this glorious time, there were some foods that were…questionable, and that’s putting it lightly. Remember what used to be fed to kids back in the day? It’s considered gross today, but some of us grew up eating fluffernutter sandwiches, but that isn’t the weirdest thing on our list today.
Marshmallow Fluff Sandwich
In an era when people didn’t know what vegan or gluten-free meant, kids were sent to school with marshmallow fluff sandwiches (on white bread of course). Since kids were apparently not fat enough, sometimes peanut butter was added. This tasty fat bomb didn’t survive changing food trends. There were even attempts to ban the sandwiches from school cafeterias.
Deviled Lettuce Salad
Before the popularity of tuna salad and chicken salad rose, there was the deviled lettuce salad. It’s like deviled eggs…but on a bed of lettuce. Yum. Leave it to the ‘70s to take something as unappetizing as a head of iceberg lettuce and make it even worse.
Okay, so this one isn’t the worst offender on the list—it’s a pretty normal meatloaf dinner, and bonus points for the creative design. But still, there’s just something charmingly retro and unnecessary about assembling a meal like this.
Feel fortunate if you don’t know what this is. It’s a food so visually unappetizing that society has apparently tried to forget it. Aspic is a gelatin made from meat stock. Ingredients were encased within this jelly using a mold. Some truly horrid recipes(popular from the 1950s to the 1970s) included: Molded Pork Loaf, Aspic-Glazed Lamb Loaf, Ham in Aspic, and Chicken Breast in Aspic.
Sounds benign, but these jello salads are not just filled with peaches and mandarin oranges. Some salads had an entire green salad, including ham and hard-boiled eggs inside. They really took off in the 1960s and included just about anything.
Meatloaf is an American classic, but during the 1960s and 1970s, cooks felt the need incorporate every food trend into it. Covering it with a layer of aspic(gasp), having it wrapped in a pastry shell or mashed potatoes, garnishing it in a strange fashion, and of course, molding it into shapes were all possibilities.
Salmon Mousse Mold
While eating salmon is certainly encouraged today, this 1960s salmon was in a whole different category. Molded from canned salmon, it often had olives for eyes and was topped with veggies or sauce and dressed with lemon slices.
Hot Dog Recipes
The 1970s saw a rash of recipes featuring hot dogs. Popular ones included “Crown Roast of Frankfurters” and “Frankfurter Spectacular.” While they have enduring appeal, America has realized that hot dogs are better just being hot dogs.
A fluff is a sweet salad(today it would be referred to as a dessert) made from whipped topping. A popular version was the very ’70s named Watergate Salad. Containing ingredients like whipped topping, dry pistachio pudding mix, and marshmallows, it was an unnatural green. Though yummy, today’s eaters aren’t after this processed food overload.
Spam ‘N Cheese Ribbon Loaf
Spam became popular after if was used in World War II. In the 1950s, recipes featuring the canned meat emerged. For the Ribbon Loaf, Spam was sliced, intermingled with seasoned cream cheese, and then chilled to make a loaf. With the large array of fresh proteins in stores today, potted meat just doesn’t have an appeal.
Instant Mashed Potatoes
This concept is now totally offensive to the local food movement. Instant mashed potatoes were introduced in the 1950s in a granulated form. The 1960s saw the development of dehydrated flakes. What was so hard about just cooking a potato?
A symbol of food decadence, this 1980s gut bomb was filled with fat and processed cheese. Even if someone wanted to eat it today, they would probably hide it from their friends.
Liver Sausage Pineapple
This dish raises two questions. Number one, why does liver sausage exist? Number two, who decided it needed to be made to look like a completely unreleated food? If your parents tried to force this on you as a child, remember that the statute of limitations for being fed gross food never expires.
Shrimp Sandwich Roll
This dish is particulrly heinous because it took a beloved sandwich (the shrimp po’ boy) and turned it into something unrecognizable and disgusting. The cutesy green olive in the center is just rubbing salt in the wound of what could have been.
Ham and Banana Hollandaise
When broken down into its individual ingredients, this dish seems perfectly normal—who doesn’t enjoy a banana or ham or hollandaise sauce? But when these three combine, they turn into some disgusting, sad culinary black hole.
Easy Cheese? Not so easy. This processed cheese product is disgusting, and cheese probably shouldn’t be distributed using aerosol. This stuff used to taste good on crackers, but now it’s just a pain on the stomach.
This monstrosity is from a Better Homes & Gardens magazine via 1954. That’s not hollandaise sauce; it’s cream of celery. It also contains flaked salmon, peas, and a dash of powered dill. This is gonna be a hard pass from us.
Peanuts and Coke
Peanuts and Coke? This was a huge thing, but now it seems as though it’s been sequestered to the Southern United States. There were a couple of things to make this snack everything it was. First, it had to be in a glass bottle. Second, it has to be salted peanuts. Add them together and eat while drinking.
Reuben sandwiches are pretty good, but have you ever eaten one and thought, “I really wish this came in a liquid version!” That’s what Reuben Chowder is. It has lots of corned beef, sauerkraut, and melted swiss cheese. Don’t forget the Thousand Island dressing!
Poor Man’s Gravy
Also known as “Red-Eye Gravy,” this one can be made a couple of different ways. The first one we found was made using coffee. We love coffee, but added to a gravy? That’s not even the worst of it. Another version uses soda.
Gooey buns look absolutely vomit-worthy. Basically, it’s combining bologna, American cheese, mustard, mayo, and relish until it’s a paste. Then, it’s thrown onto a hotdog bun. This recipe was invented by someone that only almost wanted to eat stuff out of a straw.
This doesn’t necessarily look disgusting, but it’s made using raw eggs. This recipe requires you to cook prune puree and then fold it into egg whites. Why cook the prunes but not the egg? This should be called Food Poisoning Whip.
Fiesta Peach Spam Bake
Ham and peaches could go well together, but spam and peaches? While spam is mostly ham, that doesn’t change the fact we’d much rather eat ham. For anyone that hates pineapple and ham, this may also be a huge no in your book.
This addition may cause a little sensitivity, but it’s literally called a “Garbage Plate.” It’s a drunk-dish dream. It’s a combination of meat, fries, and everything else that may be left in the pantry. Every restaurant makes it differently, but the premise is the same. A bunch of “garbage” mixed together.
Pickled Pig Feet
We can’t get past the fact that people are eating pig’s feet, to begin with. Not that we’d want to eat any sort of feet, pigs seem like they’re the worst. They literally wallow in their own filth. Throw in the pickled part, and it’s a hard no.
Fried Chicken Gizzards
Gizzards are the part of the stomach that helps chickens (and some other animals) break down food until it’s fully digested. The fact people eat this organ is a travesty. Foods like this should be banned, and hopefully, moms don’t feed this to their kids anymore.
Chitterlings is a traditional Southern dish, and we get that tradition is sacred, but there’s a line that needs to be drawn. A good place to start is the small intestines pigs and cattle. It smells as bad as it looks.
Frosted Ribbon Loaf
Frosted Ribbon Loaf…delicious! Actually, we take that back. The name is deceiving. This dish is ham and egg with cream cheese frosting. Without looking closely, it doesn’t look horrible, but when you get down to the ingredients, you can see it’s pretty bad.
How did Kool-aid become a thing? This “food” is made by soaking pickles in Kool-aid until they turn red. It’s a Southern thing, and the snack can be purchased pre-made on store shelves.
Atora Steak Puddings
Yummy Atora steak puddings! These are made using beef suet. If your parents were nice enough not to feed this food to you, you’ll be ecstatic when you find out what it’s made of. Suet is the raw, hard fat found in cattle between the kidneys and loins.