20 of the Truly Weirdest Foods Ever Marketed
Tastes change. We all know this from looking at old pictures. We change our hairstyles, clothing choices, and even the food we like. Styles and trends evolve with time, often for the better. Think about some of the clothes and haircuts that were actually popular at one time!
The same is true for food. Food, recipes, and cooking methods also evolve over time. After reading some of these weird recipes and concoctions that were once “in style,” you will be glad these trends have faded into history!
1. 1. Ham and Bananas Hollandaise
You read this right. Bananas, coated in lemon juice, wrapped with mustard-slathered boiled ham slices and baked in the oven. This dish is topped off with luxurious hollandaise sauce (made from a powdered mix). This masterpiece of the 1970s came from McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection.
Sounds simple enough right? Maybe like a wedge salad you would find in a steak house today? Think again. This gem from the 1960s is loaded with weird flavors and combination. The recipe was brought to the public by miracle whip and contains instructions on filling a half a head of iceberg lettuce with a mixture of Miracle Whip, cream cheese, canned deviled ham, chopped onion, chopped green pepper and pimento.
This recipe came from Betty Crocker as part of the “calorie counter” collection. There are actually two versions-one using fresh celery and one using canned celery hearts. Each serving weighs in at a whopping 25-30 calories. The ingredients? Celery, water, one beef bouillon cube, low calorie Italian salad dressing, and pimento. This dish is literally celery boiled in beef flavored water.
The 60s and 70s were riddled with savory and sweet dishes, with gelatin. People loved making even the simplest, delicious foods “better” by molding them in gelatin. Some examples?
The Jellied Tomato Refresher – a combination of tomato juice, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, green pepper flakes, lemon juice, garlic and cloves. All brought together by gelatin. Did I mention this is a dessert?
Tuna Fish Mold – this recipe came from A-1 Steak Sauce and involved blending tuna, mayo, celery, peppers, and A-1 steak sauce. Mixing it with water and gelatin to form a beautiful, jiggly tuna fish, ideally in a fish-shaped mold.
Lime Cheese Salad- who ever thought of mixing lime jello with onion and vinegar? Someone thought it was a good idea and then decided to add cottage cheese and mayonnaise. What’s missing from this odd-enough mixture? Seafood salad!
Source: David Monniaux/Wikipedia
Silhouette Salad- Knox promoted this chicken ring dish to appeal to ladies trying to keep their figures in check. It includes Knox unflavored gelatin mixed with canned cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup and shredded turkey or chicken. It also suggests adding chopped onion, peppers and pimento to the mixture before placing it in a mold to set.
Source: Anthony Georgeff/Wikipedia
What thought process went into this recipe provided by the Fruit Producer’s Council back in the 70s? “Let’s see what apples, lemons, mayonnaise, olives, tobacco sauce, pickles, tomato paste and shrimp tastes like?” Then, someone thought this strange seafood salad should be served inside hollowed apples. These goodies were traditionally topped with whole prawns and stuffed green olives.
This recipe is from the 20s and was intended as something of a novelty to provide petite, individual tasty bites without having to worry about leftovers. It allowed you to “prepare just the right quantity.”
The small print in this recipe is what matters most. These steak pudding cups are made from steak and Atora. You need to read the fine print to realize that Atora is shredded fat that surrounds the kidney. This is really a steak/kidney pudding covered in a paste of flour and water, then steamed to perfection.
This one has been around for decades and is still popular today, especially in the South. It is not really a cake, but it resembles one when it is finished. This dish layers bologna with a mixture of cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and onion. The entire outside is “frosted” with the cheese mixture.
The cake is decorated around the outside with canned spray cheese and served with crackers or crusty bread.
This recipe appeared in a 1952 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It is not liver sausage and pineapple. It is liver sausage, shaped and decorated to LOOK like a pineapple. To be clear, it is one full pound of liver sausage mixed with lemon juice, Worcestershire
sauce and mayonnaise in the shape of a pineapple.
The outside of the “pineapple” is frosted with unflavored yellow gelatin and mayo, then scored and decorated with olives and pimento. Even better, is that the author of the cookbook suggests topping it off with real pineapple fronds and serving this delightful appetizer with coffee.
All pork canned Spam and canned cling peaches combine to make this special meal. This recipe was marketed by Hormel as a way to bring “California sunshine to winter’s meals.”
Are you ready for this recipe’s ingredients? Ground spam, rolled oats, milk, ketchup, and mustard rolled into individual balls. The balls are then placed into halved cling peaches and broiled for just a few minutes.
Someone decided winter was the time to market Dr Pepper as a hot beverage. An ad from the 1960s, shows a snowman happily enjoying a warm mug of soda.
The “recipe” tells the reader to simply head regular or diet Dr Pepper in a saucepan until it is steaming. Next, pour it over lemon slices and enjoy!
Just like things in gelatin and loaf form, food trees were popular in the 50s 60s and 70s. The novelty of eating something from a “tree” of food apparently made for lively conversation and happy guests.
Oscar Mayer Hostess Tree-The instructions to this delightful centerpiece attraction include how to hand assemble the actual tree using Styrofoam, wire, and parsley or other leafy herbs. It also provides a diagram of how to decorate your tree for maximum appeal.
The “ornaments” attached to the tree with toothpicks include a variety of deli meats and accoutrement in all shapes and sizes. They are rolled, cut, and applied to look like tree decorations. The green of the tree and red of the meats made it a perfect choice for the holiday table.
The shrimp Christmas tree-Some version of this holiday tree has been around for decades. It is similar to the Oscar Mayer hostess tree but uses shrimp to create a garland around the tree. The shrimp are attached to a Styrofoam cone covered in greens. The tree can be decorated with pimento olives, to give it the effect of having ornaments.
The Christmas tree cheese ball- No holiday party in the 1970s was without one of these classics. Soft cheese, shaped as a tree and garnished with herbs, sausages, olives and anything else that makes it look like a holiday tree.
Even better? The cheese pine cone to go with it. A cheese pine cone was oval shaped with pecans or almonds inserted around the outside to resemble the outside of a pine cone.
There is no shortage of recipes for that are shaped and act like candles and candle holders. One such recipe from the 1960s calls for a mixture of cranberry and mayonnaise mixed with gelatin. Once solid, a birthday candle is inserted in the top.
Others, are made from bananas like the candle salad. This classic sits on a bed of lettuce topped with cottage cheese. A pineapple ring is placed on the cheese and a banana “candle“ is inserted into its hole. The entire dish is topped with a maraschino cherry and mayonnaise or salad dressing.
This is another gem from the Fruit Producers Council found on a recipe card from Marguerite Patten’s Recipe Cards of 1972. This pizza is made from a sauce containing a combination of tuna and pears. It is topped with pickled walnuts and anchovies. It is hard to imagine what this one tastes like.
This one is hard to describe, let alone look at. The recipe comes from a 1965 book called Happy Living! A Guidebook for Brides.
The crust is made from white bread and corned beef. The filling is a mixture of mushroom soup, cream and hard-boiled eggs. Need we say more?
What do you think about these recipes?
Mayonnaise, gelatin, and tuna had a great run during the 50s, 60s and 70s. Are you glad they are not in fashion anymore?