Recipes from the 1960s were unusual, to say the least. It was a time when people were starting to experiment with new ingredients and they seemed to be throwing everything together without putting much thought into it. Today, Chef Gordon Ramsey would just die if anyone tried one of these recipes on his show.
Recipes from this time period were a mixture of old and new. The plain war and depression recipes, while still standards, were slowly being replaced with different ingredients. Housewives wanted something new to serve their families and all bets were off when it came to serving guests because, honestly, some of their meals were downright gross.
Dessert Made With Celery?
This molded cranberry salad actually looks pretty good until you read the recipe. Why did they add celery to this?
The 1960s were a great time for the gelatin industry. In fact there were so many gelatin recipes available that it seems as though people were just grabbing whatever was in the fridge and throwing it into the gelatin just to be “creative.” For example, this recipe calls for cherry gelatin, whole cranberry sauce, and chopped nuts. Sounds good, right? But the recipe also calls for chopped celery. Were they looking for crunch in the gelatin? It makes no sense.
Jellied Lamb Salad
Just the name of this meal makes the stomach churn. In the 1960s, gelatin was used to make any type of meal stick together. For some reason, our parents and grandparents thought it was pretty neat to stick meats into gelatin to make a “pretty” dish. The stomach said otherwise, which is why most people don’t eat this stuff today.
For this recipe, lamb cutlets and green beans were placed in the bottom of a dish and coated in the gelatin. Then another layer of meat, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and eggs to laid out in a pattern. The remaining gelatin was poured over the food and allowed to set. The whole thing was served cold.
The Sandwich That Tastes You Back
If you were in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the 1960s, you would know that tongue sandwiches were rather common in the area. It was the sandwich that tasted you back, as the joke went.
Yes, people ate tongue sandwiches. In the 1960s, the plain tongue got a bit fancy. One recipe told home cooks to place the sliced tongue on a piece of bread. Mix together cream cheese and horseradish and slather it on the tongue. Cover with another slice of bread and enjoy. After all, you only live once, right?
Summer Salad Pie
What was the person thinking when she came up with this recipe? Summer salad pie is basically a salad trapped inside lemon flavored gelatin and it is as gross as it sounds.
To make the delightful green mess, you first had to make a cheddar cheese flavored pie shell. Next, you would stir up the hot lemon gelatin and add in tomato sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Chill the gelatin until it is slightly soft and then mix in celery, olives, and onions. Scoop the disaster into the pie shell and chill again. Top with tuna salad and prepare for an experience you will never forget.
Did they have taste buds back then? Looking through product recipes, I would have to guess not. For example, here is this “jellygrill” recipe in an ad for Velveeta cheese. I guess if you like grape jelly and highly processed cheese, this recipe is a win-win?
Reading through the recipe, you will learn that this contrasting mix could be served hot or cold. Just slather on the jelly and cheese and either grill it or pinch your nose and eat it cold. I really pity any kids who got this in their lunch boxes.
Surprise! This recipe is not made out of gelatin. Instead, cornstarch is used to stiffen up this bizarre dessert.
This was one of those quick mix desserts that, I guess, the tired mom might make to shut the family up. It was made out of cornstarch, milk, a bit of sugar, and vanilla extract. It was probably pretty bland, except you were supposed to serve it with some lovely canned fruit to add flavor to it. It was also considered a base recipe for making “economical” mousse for those who live without taste buds in their mouths.
Peanut Butter, Bacon, Paprika Sandwich
Listed as a New Orleans appetizer, this particular recipe calls for fried bacon, peanut butter, and paprika. Place the ingredients on a slice of toasted bread and serve.
There is a growing trend for peanut butter and bacon sandwiches once again. Some people call it a comfort food from their childhood, probably because their parents or grandparents ate it in the 1960s. There are also some body builders who eat peanut butter and bacon together. The gross part comes in with the paprika. Who on earth wants paprika on their peanut butter and bacon sandwich?
The only thing the 1960s loved more than gelatin was hotdogs. This recipe for a hotdog and noodle casserole doesn’t sound too bad. Sure, if all you had lying around were noodles, sauce, and wieners, you might give it a try. The problem with this recipe, however, is the dark corn syrup.
Adding a touch of corn syrup to sweeten up a dish is fine, except that this recipe called for an entire cup of corn syrup. That’s a lot of sweetness for a casserole. Cornstarch was also added to help thicken up the casserole. The rest of the ingredients sound fine, from the chili sauce to the bacon.
California Jello Ring
Oh my, grandma. What is that? There are just certain things that should never grace the tabletop. We all know that this gelatin mess looks like and, ironically, it is made with prunes. Kind of fitting, don’t you think?
This disaster was made from unflavored gelatin, prunes, and lemon juice. That doesn’t sound so bad, especially if you could tolerate the taste of dried plums. After the concoction had been molded and chilled, it was turned out and the center was filled with vanilla ice cream. It was garnished with orange slices. No doubt this was a mess to serve.
Many gardens in the past grew rhubarb. It was easy to grow and easy to use. It was also an acquired taste. You either loved the stuff or avoided it like poison.
By the 1960s, there were still quite a few households that grew rhubarb in the backyard garden. It was picked, the stems were cleaned, and then chopped into two-inch bits. Rhubarb juice was pressed from the stems. To make a summer drink, the juice was mixed with honey and cold water. Served immediately, some people loved the cold drink. It is no longer a popular fruit and most people have ripped the plant from their gardens, not knowing what it is.
Apple And Tomato Molds
This really should be called a dinner disaster because all the cook does here is throw together some ingredients that on their own would taste good. The odds and ends are then trapped in gelatin. The only saving grace here is that the gelatin is unflavored.
For this recipe, the gelatin was mixed with the boiling water and then tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, chopped ham, and a chopped apple were added to the mix. The mess was then poured into four custard cups and chilled. The four red globs were served on fresh lettuce. Happy eating!
Marshmallows used to be added to a lot of different recipes. While today we mostly use them in s’mores, hot cocoa, and marshmallow cereal treats, back in the day they used marshmallows in salads.
While the melon boat salad doesn’t look all that bad, you have to seriously question the other two recipes in this ad. The frozen party salad looks like lunch meat gone wrong and any sane person would be too terrified to taste it. Then there was the confetti salad. It was a lime gelatin filled with flavored miniature marshmallows that probably turned into a sticky, mushy consistency.
Liver Pate Made With Gelatin
A person just could not escape gelatin fifty years ago. It was used in almost everything, including this liver pate. There should have been a law against this.
Basically, the recipe called for unflavored gelatin, bouillon, cooked liver, canned French style green beans, vinegar, and a bunch of seasonings. Everything was stuck in a blender and pureed. To give it its shape, it glop is poured into a mold and chilled. After it has hardened, you are supposed to turn it out and dress the horrifying disaster with a gelatin pate glaze so that it looks like something from out of a horror film.
Tuna Salad Surprise
What can you do with lemon flavored gelatin, mayonnaise, and some tuna? Why, you can make this delicious Monterey souffle salad. All kidding aside, people actually ate this stuff and they must have liked it because there were a ton of tuna and gelatin recipes printed at the time.
To get that creamy white look, mayonnaise was mixed in directly with the lemon gelatin for a sweet, sour, and puke flavor. After that the white gelatin was molded and turned out. Homemade tuna salad was then added to the center so that people could slice up and serve the goodness with ease.
A Strange Pineapple Soup Concoction
It is easy to understand why people enjoy cold soups. They are healthy and generally easy to make on a hot, summer day. However, some of the cold soups from the 1960s sound inedible.
Take, for instance, this recipe for pineapple soup. Modern day versions of pineapple soup are delicious, but this older recipe included the grated fruit, peanut flakes, crushed tomatoes and olive oil. I don’t know about you, but crushed tomatoes and pineapple together do not sound very good. Besides, both fruits are highly acidic and would have probably wreaked havoc on a tender stomach.
Leftover Turkey Loaf
Don’t know what to do with the leftover turkey? Well, here you go. This is how they used up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving back in the 1960s, but it was not pleasant. They molded the meat into loaves using unflavored gelatin. That’s right: turkey meat encased in goop.
This particular recipe was made with leftover turkey, cooked ham, peppers, and apples. The unflavored gelatin was made creamy with the addition of cream of chicken soup. The result was a cold meal made of three different meat flavorings and served with lettuce and cream cheese.
Coconut, Radish, Rhubarb Soup
Modern coconut milk cold soups are generally gentle on the belly and the taste buds, but not so for some of the recipes from the 1960s. In fact, I found one coconut milk soup recipe that is bound to kick off the acid reflux.
The recipe for cold soup called for coconut milk, rhubarb, and honey. That sounds soothing enough until you find out that the second ingredient on the list was grated radishes and chopped chives. It was almost as though someone went into the refrigerator and blindly grabbed whatever was in the vegetable crisper.
Cottage Cheese And Salmon Mold
You can’t be normal and think that guests are going to actually eat this thing. Sure, it looks unique, but it certainly does not appear to be edible.
Unflavored gelatin was used to hold this meal together. First, some of the gelatin was poured into a baking dish and allowed to set. Next, hard boiled egg slices and cucumber slices were arranged on the bottom. Another layer of gelatin was added to hold the arrangement in place. Finally, aspic jelly, canned salmon, cottage cheese, and mayonnaise were mixed together and put into the dish. The whole thing was chilled and served cold.
Food In The 1960s
There was just no escaping the 1960s cuisine if you were born before the 1980s. Parents would make us suffer through strange concoctions and grandma never got out of the gelatin funk.
Many of the recipes are considered inedible today, although they are fun to look at from a distance. If anything, throw a 1960s party and dare your friends to choose a funky food from that time period to make. No doubt, you will be stuck sampling a great number of gelatin foods that look like iced over compost heaps and fancy hotdog cuisines.