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 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
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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
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.
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.
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
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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