Nostalgic Foods That Will Make You Want to Be a Kid Again

Nothing brings back childhood memories quite like a snack or meal you ate when you were a kid. Each decade is defined by recipes and trendy foods of the time. We’ve gathered decade defining eats from the 1950s through the 1990s. Be transported to your younger years with these nostalgic foods.

Baked Alaska

A baked Alaska dessert on a table with ice cream

This was one fancy dessert back in its day. | stef yau/Wikimedia Commons

Baked Alaska is an ice cream cake with a meringue shell. According to NPR, “it was once an incredibly opulent dish, requiring a full kitchen staff and a significant amount of time.” In the 1950s, baked Alaska was a dinner party staple. The Houston Press noted the pastel colors of the dessert matched the popular colors of the decade.

Next: This casserole was a staple at parties. 

Tuna noodle casserole

Tuna Casserole

Casseroles were easy to throw together meals. | -lvinst-/iStock/Getty Images

A casual dining favorite in the 1950s is the tuna noodle casserole. No one can say exactly why it was so popular but I’d say because the ingredients were inexpensive and it can be cooked in a relatively short period of time. Bringing one dish to a party was easier than baking a cake and transporting it to a party.

Next: Frozen meals became the trendiest food on the decade.

Swanson frozen dinners

Frozen dinners were cheap and easy. | Joe Belanger/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Swanson had literally, tons, of leftover turkey after Thanksgiving and challenged their employees to come up with a solution. One employee suggested frozen turkey dinners. In 1954, Swanson heavily advertised their frozen dinners. That year “Swanson sold more than 25 million TV dinners to hungry Americans, at 98 cents per package,” according to How Stuff Works.

Next: This dip made the best companion for potato chips. 

Lipton onion soup dip

Onion dip and chips

Onion dip was a party staple. | caelmi/iStock/Getty Images

Onion dips were extremely popular in the sixties. Although Lipton had the dip market cornered. Any recipe calling for Lipton onion soup mix in the dip was even more popular than the average onion dip. To this day, onion dip with potato chips is a classic pairing.

Next: Mixing grape jelly with meat never tasted so good. 

Meatballs with grape jelly sauce

There’s something about the sweet sauce that’s weirdly delicious. | iStock/Getty Images

My grandma makes meatballs with grape jelly every year for Christmas. And every year, I eat them. They taste better than they sound. The grape jelly in the sauce gives the meatballs a sweet flavor.

Next: How one small box took over desserts.

Anything in a gelatin mold

Gelatin mold

Weirder still where there were things floating in there. | Edith64/iStock/Getty Images

Another remnant of the past, is anything made with gelatin, especially Jell-O. Anything encased in gelatin is a little weird. The fact that the dessert moves makes it even more creepy. Gelatin desserts were strange back then but in an exotic way. Today, gelatin desserts are a novelty.

Next: Why fondue parties were so much fun.


Dipping bread into a bowl filled with cheese fondue.

Pretend you’ve just been skiing in the alps. | margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

What’s better than eating cheese for dinner? Not much. Fondue parties were a fun, interactive way to share a meal in the seventies. Socializing over a hot pot of melted cheese is starting to come back into style. I’ve seen vintage fondue sets for sale and new fondue sets at local retailers.

Next: Betty Crocker made cooking dinner easier with this invention.

Hamburger Helper

All you need was ground beef and Hamburger Helper. | iStock/Getty Images

Betty Crocker marketed Hamburger Helper as a quick way to throw together dinner. All you need is hamburger and one box of Hamburger Helper. The convenience factor made the dish popular. Hamburger Helper has been so popular over the years, the company’s introduced eight different categories like Italian, Asian, and Mexican.

Next: Mac ‘n cheese was brought to the next level with this cheese.

Velveeta cheese

Velveeta cheese

It was a cheese-like substance. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The silver packets of Velveeta cheese are still shrouded in mystery. The cheese is unique substance like canned spray cheese. In the seventies, no one worried about artificial ingredients. They ate Velveeta mac ‘n cheese to their heart’s content.

Next: Could a candy kill you? 

Pop Rocks

pop rocks candy

Delicious and fun. | Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Commons

Pop Rocks fizzed on your tongue and made popping noises that were cool as a kid. Pop Rocks were invented in the 1950s by William Mitchell, according to The Washington Post. The myth that drinking a carbonated beverage and eating Pop Rocks will make your stomach explode was proven false, thanks to MythBusters.

Next: How one man changed the junk food game.  

Totino’s pizza rolls

Pizza rolls

These are just as tasty today. | MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images

The inventor of Totino’s Pizza Rolls, Jeno Paulucci, sold his business to Pillsbury in the late 1980s for a sum near $140 million, The Washington Post says. Paulucci’s microwavable pizza bites took over the eighties and remained popular well into the nineties. I remember being so anxious to eat pizza rolls, I didn’t wait for them to cool down before popping them in my mouth.

Next: How pasta salad became cool.

Tri-color pasta salad

Tricolor pasta salad

Definitely a barbecue or picnic staple. | EzumeImages/iStock/Getty Images

Pasta salad was new and different with tri-color noodles in unusual shapes. Mixing the noodles with salad dressing mix made the dish a big hit. Add olives or cheese cubes and you were the best cook.

Next: A kangaroo jumping into frosting made the perfect snack.  


Dunk-a-roos vanilla

Dunk-a-roos vanilla | Amazon

I remember fighting with my siblings over the last packet of Dunk-A-Roos. They were always one of the first snacks to be eaten after grocery shopping. The frosting and cookie combo made these the best snack. Dunking a kangaroo shaped cookie into funfetti or fudge frosting made the snack fun.

Next: Lunchables were the ultimate lunch. 


Pizza Lunchables

Lunchables were never actually as good as we though they were though. | Amazon

Opening your lunchbox and finding a Lunchable was like hitting the jackpot. Making your own pizza or assembling crackers and cheese was an acceptable way to play with your food. Lunchables have went down in popularity but they can still be found at grocery stores.

Next: Hershey’s tells kids where all the cookies have gone. 

Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream Candy Bar

Hershey's Cookies N Cream bar

Arguably still the best candy bar. | Amazon

Who could forget about kids opening cookies jar wondering where all the cookies had gone in Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream commercial? The combination was different from any other candy bar on the market. The sweetness of the cream and crunch of the cookies made the candy bar irresistible.

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