Recipes From Bygone Decades That Are Best Left In The Past Where They Belong

By Larissa C

Over the years, lots of things have changed. Nowadays, we have digital technologies that were unthinkable back in the time of our grandparents, like phones that have no buttons and allow you to do pretty much anything you want to do. Cars have also changed quite a lot from how they used to look and how they used to perform. Even the way we speak has changed! However, there’s something that has also changed over time and doesn’t get a lot of recognition, and that thing is food. If you have the opportunity to take a look at a cookbook from the past, say the 1960s or 1970s, you will be more than happy to grab that opportunity. Some recipes from the past are absolutely insane, and it’s even hard to believe people actually used to eat that food. In this article, we’re going to show you 45 times that recipes from the past looked questionable!

Are you sure about this?

Nowadays, we all know exactly what foods are good and what foods are not good for our bodies. However, there was a time that people weren’t too sure about the effects that certain foods had, especially in the long run.

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Butter is one of those foods. We all know now that butter is one of the most prejudicial foods we can digest. It goes straight to our arteries and veins and can cause serious issues in the future. It’s safe to say that this butter advertisement is absolutely insane — just looking at that kid eating butter like that is giving us the chills!

That’s actually bizarre.

Another questionable recipe in this list is this shrimp tree. Not everyone eats shrimp due to dietary or religious restrictions, but we are certain that even if you eat shrimp, you wouldn’t want to try this particular recipe. Check this out…

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First of all, why would someone come up with the idea of making a shrimp tree? We have no idea why the magazine described this tree as a “treat to the eye as well as palate” — when you look at this tree from a distance, it is actually quite scary.

What in the world is this?!

If you stop to think about it, lots of recipes that we use today involve certain ingredients that are repeated many times. For instance, avocado is one of these foods — there are just way too many recipes involving avocado these days!

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Well, back in the day, they didn’t use avocado as much, but they certainly used jelly for basically every recipe they were trying. This recipe is so questionable that it takes a while to get used to the sight of it. What you’re seeing is a jelly salad made of sausage and eggs!

You better be near a bathroom once you finish your meal!

There are some foods that have infamous effects on our bodies. What do beans and onions have in common? They’re both known for making people let out their gases for a while after consuming. If they have that effect separately, imagine if you ate them both together!

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This canned food brand had no issues proposing a recipe that would mix beans and onions. No, scratch that. They proposed a recipe that only features beans and onions. All you have to do is cook the onions and then stuff them with beans. Imagine the results later!

The crusty what now?

Sometimes, when we come home from work, we are so tired that we really don’t want to have to cook. Some people order food from a nearby restaurant, but others prefer to eat homemade food, so they just cook something real quick.

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Spam is a really popular ingredient when you need to prepare a quick meal. However, this old-timey recipe proposes something so crazy that it’s kind of hard to believe it’s real. They call it the “Crusty SPAMbake” and it’s this pie made of pineapple, spam, and cornflake crumbs. Would you try this?

Wait, slow down on the liquor, ma’am!

The 1970s were a crazy time. Watergate, women’s rights, LGBT rights, energy crisis, and much more. There were so many things going on during that time that it’s overwhelming for us to even think about it. Imagine what the people living in that time were going through!

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When we look at the 1970s from that perspective, it’s not hard to understand why Vogue proposed this insane 3-day diet that only featured three main ingredients: eggs, black coffee, and white wine. Considering how little the women following this diet were eating. It’s no wonder they would lose 5 pounds in just 3 days!

Do I really need that much?

Now, this next recipe is so questionable that we are literally questioning whether it is a real recipe or just some type of joke. Well, if you like whipped cream, it won’t matter anyway — you’re going to love this.

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Eating a shortcake that is covered in whipped cream? Normally, that would be a delicious snack. However, as you can see in the picture, the cake is covered in a bunch of whipped cream — to be precise, 15 cans of it. We are certainly questioning if that much cream was necessary!

Excuse me!

As we mentioned before, jelly was one of the most common foods back in the day. People would make everything out of Jell-O, including salads and weird-looking pies. Apparently, there were special, non-sweet flavors back then that were made specifically for these recipes.

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Eating a cabbage grapefruit salad made out of Jell-O? No, thank you. This is certainly not a recipe you would make for someone in your family, no matter how fussy they are. This one recipe is something that you would only cook if you had your worst enemy coming over for dinner!

What were people thinking back then?

Do you not believe us when we say that jelly was incredibly popular back in the day? Well, you probably will once you see this next picture. Just by looking at this recipe makes us think that jelly was dangerously popular back in the 1970s.

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What even is that? It looks like this cookbook is instructing people to grab everything they have in the fridge and toss it all inside some non-sweet jelly. Indeed, we can tell that the 1970s were wild, including the recipes from the time!

That looks like something my dog would eat.

This next food is one of the most questionable recipes thus far. It’s still pretty early in the article and we’re certainly going to see some insane things, but this one certainly makes it to the top 10. And it’s not for good reasons.

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When you look at this recipe, do you feel like maybe this is something that someone vomited and put on a plate? Because that is exactly what we think. If the people in your house tend to complain about the dinner you make, try cooking this creamed eggs recipe — they’ll never complain again!

So, basically, just mix everything, right?

Don’t you experience those days when you simply don’t have the energy to put into cooking lunch or dinner or any meal whatsoever? Well, you’re not alone. We literally all have those days where we just want to chill and not do anything.

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In case that’s how you woke up this morning, we have a tip for you. Instead of wasting time cooking dinner, you can follow this crazy recipe from the 1970s. Just grab everything from your fridge and put them inside some jelly.

It can’t be real!

As we mentioned previously, people from the past weren’t too aware of the dangers related to food and diets. Remember that butter advertisement? That ad alone is proof that they had no idea what foods were harmful to our health.

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Even though they’re really delicious, sausages — or frankfurters, in this case — are actually quite prejudicial to our health and may even reduce our life span, according to science. So, while this “crown roast of frankfurters” may be a budget meal and taste awesome, it is a questionable recipe due to its effects.

Mother, why would you mix that?

Back in the 1980s, this cookbook was released and became a huge success. It’s The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. This cake book featured multiple recipes and designs for birthday cakes and parents bought them so children could choose the cake they wanted.

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Well, while it’s kind of hard to tell at first, this duck is actually a birthday cake that was featured in that book. This vintage recipe looks questionable because who in the world uses ruffled potato chips and popcorn to decorate a birthday cake?

Maybe you should slice that first.

If you have ever eaten a fruit salad, then you know that people usually slice the fruits before mixing them together. This recipe from the past, however, suggests that the banana should be left intact, which is kind of questionable.

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Wouldn’t it be much easier to just slice that banana and the pineapple before eating them? Then you wouldn’t have to use a fork and a knife to eat the salad and your life would be much simpler. But, we guess that nothing was that simple back in the day, right?

This looks weirdly tasty.

Every single human being is different. People may question this sentence, especially considering that there are over 7 billion people on this planet. But that statement is true. We’re all different and we all have different tastes, especially when it comes to food.

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When pickles are the topic at hand, there are only two ways that a conversation can go: people either hate them or love them. If you hate pickles, this recipe of pickles stuffed with cream cheese will look disgusting. If you love them, we’re certain that this is something you’d be willing to try.

Wait, what?

Tomatoes are the kind of food that go along with basically any recipe. People use them in salads and in many other recipes. The idea of eating stuffed tomatoes doesn’t sound that insane, but this recipe is questionable because that thing is not a stuffed tomato.

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In fact, what you are seeing in this picture is stuffed apples. Now, that doesn’t sound so questionable, but then you look at this recipe and realize that they’re mixing apples with shrimp, olives, and some type of creamy cheese. And that, friends, is most definitely questionable.

I recognize this from somewhere.

Just like pickles, you either love or hate olives. There is really no in-between when it comes to these two foods. For those who like eating olives, this next recipe won’t look as questionable as it will for those who hate olives.

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However, what really gets our attention when we look at this picture is that this pineapple looks kind of familiar. If you have ever watched Spongebob Squarepants, you’ll be immediately reminded of Spongebob’s pineapple home when you lay eyes on this recipe!

It doesn’t look as bad, does it?

Continuing this saga of foods that people either love or hate, here’s a tuna recipe that certainly fits this category. Out of all fish in the world, tuna and sardine are some of the few that get different reactions out of people.

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When we think of mousse, it’s usually something that we would eat for dessert, like chocolate mousse. Have you ever thought about eating a tuna mousse?  We certainly haven’t. As you can see in the recipe, they obviously didn’t forget to add gelatine (or jelly). Seems like jelly is the #1 ingredient in the recipes from the 50s-70s.

Why would you do peanut butter this dirty?

If we’re talking about unhealthy food that people either love or hate, it’s impossible not to mention mayonnaise. Some people hate mayo with all their might, while others can’t eat without adding mayo to their food. Either way, even the biggest mayonnaise lover will agree that this recipe is heinous.

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Mixing peanut butter and mayonnaise? This is something that looks like it came straight out of a bet or a dare. To make things worse, this advertisement features six different recipes mixing PB and mayo, as if the two of them together alone weren’t awful enough.

I won’t eat this even if you pay me!

Imagine coming home from a hard day at work. You’re dying for a long shower and some nice dinner before heading off to bed. However, once you get ready to eat your meal, you find that this is what is expecting you at the dinner table.

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Do you even know what that is? Just by looking at this picture, it’s kind of hard to tell what in the world this recipe is. Would you believe us if we told you that there are only two ingredients in this? It’s just pork skin inside some non-flavored jelly. We’re certain you wouldn’t eat this even if someone offered you money!

So this is the source of all evil?

As you noticed, jelly was extraordinarily popular from the 1950s to the 1980s. And we are not talking about regular jelly that people eat for dessert. Jelly was used in every single recipe, from breakfast dishes to dinner meals.

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This picture was taken sometime in the 1970s and it shows where all that jelly comes from. The type of jelly that they used in recipes were these non-sweet jellies that came in questionable flavors, like celery and seasoned tomato.

Something doesn’t look quite right.

Questionable food doesn’t necessarily have to taste bad or even look bad. Any meal that makes us question what in the world is going on fits under this category of questionable foods. If you eat pork, this next meal may not look as bad as other pork recipes you’ve eaten.

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At first glance, there’s nothing wrong with this recipe. However, the more you look at it, the more you question why they would make this meal. If they wanted to eat a whole pig, they could have simply done that instead of gathering pork pieces and making this Frankenstein-like meal!

Okay, that is kind of weird.

As we are talking quite a lot about jelly, here goes yet another jelly recipe that is more than questionable. While the fact that jelly is used in most meals, this is enough for us to question recipes from the past, and this particular recipe is even worse.

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What you’re seeing in the pictures are edible candles, which are not that weird. The issue with this candle is the ingredients being used. Why would someone make cranberry candles using jelly and mayonnaise? Whoever thought of this recipe is certainly an evil mastermind straight out of a Disney or Pixar movie. 

This should be considered illegal.

When we think of a typical American breakfast, there are some foods that come to mind like pancakes, bacon, and eggs just to name a few. But there’s another food that is quite popular when it’s time for breakfast, and that is waffles. 

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Who doesn’t love eating waffles and maple syrup? That is only one of the many foods that go perfectly with waffles. But do you know what does not go with waffles? Tuna. It’s awful to think that someone even had this idea back in the day!

What is the point?

Have you ever thought about eating tandoori lamb chops from a glass? No? Well, you’re certainly not alone on this. Tandoori chops are absolutely delicious, but this particular presentation of the dish is certainly not making it look appetizing!

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Apparently, this recipe comes straight out of a book that is meant to present aphrodisiac recipes. Although we are sure that everyone’s tastes are different, we are having a hard time thinking of how in the world is this dish is considered an aphrodisiac!

It sure sounds laxative!

While some recipes are made for appreciation, there are recipes that are created with specific purposes. If you want to eat food that will help you lose weight, there are tons of recipes for that. In case you’re needing some help to go to the bathroom, you’ll also find recipes for that.

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This is what we are talking about. A laxative mayonnaise recipe. Just by reading the ingredients that go into this mix, we can already tell that it was surely effective. While that must have been popular in the past, we advise you to not follow this recipe!

What do people have against peanut butter?

Peanut butter is one of mankind’s best inventions of all time. This delicious butter goes with a lot of stuff, like jelly, fruits, pancakes, and other foods. However, it seems like some people are willing to cross lots of boundaries just to find what tastes good with peanut butter.

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In this recipe, for instance, it seems like this person was trying to find out whether or not onions and peanut butter are a good fit. For us, it may sound like an insane combination. But for the woman who invented this, she liked the combination so much that she even made a peanut butter and onion soup!

Are those pebbles?

We all have that one family member that has a recipe book at home, and who loves trying new recipes. However, those recipes aren’t always good but, even still, they bring food over so you can try them — and it’d be rude if you said no.

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For the person who took this photo, that family member was his aunt. She was known for cooking the craziest recipes back in the day and bringing them along whenever the family got together. What you see in the picture is one of those recipes. And no, those aren’t pebbles. This is actually a lima bean casserole pie.

One word for this: ew!

Cookbooks help people learn new recipes, but they also teach people how to create presentable dishes for special occasions. However, as we can tell by what we’ve seen so far, the dishes they used to suggest back in the day were really questionable.

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This so-called delicate mousse of sole with lobster sauce is one of those questionable recipes. On paper, this recipe doesn’t sound that crazy — but when you glance at it, your mind goes numb. This does not look tasty and, to make matters worse, it looks like someone puked on top of this mousse.

Let’s ban this ingredient!

Your taste in food is different from our taste in food, and that’s okay. We all have different preferences and may enjoy eating foods that lots of people don’t appreciate. However, it’s about time that humanity comes together and reaches a consensus that creamed corn is awful.

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If you like corn cream, we’re sorry to break this down to you but you’re part of a minority here. This recipe you’re seeing in the picture is called a creamed corn and bologna, and pineapple roast, and it pretty much takes three ingredients that shouldn’t go together at all: corn cream, bologna, and pineapple.

That’s awful!

If you ever feel like eating weird foods made of an awful combination of ingredients, we might have just found the perfect recipe. Just keep in mind that we can’t assure you that this recipe is not going to make you sick to your stomach.

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Even if you don’t drink, you have probably heard of a drink called “Bloody Mary” at some point. This drink is made of a bunch of different ingredients, like vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and more. The person who took this photo said that this was an old-timey recipe that was the equivalent of a bloody mary but made with jelly, eggs, mayo, olives, and other questionable ingredients.

What’s up with this tuna obsession?

It is quite obvious that people from back in the day loved adding jelly to basically every single recipe they tried. However, it seems like they also felt the same way about tuna and added this fish to every single thing. 

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If you don’t know what Bisquick is, it’s an all-purpose baking mix that people use to make pancakes, waffles, and other things like that. So far, so good. The problem is when some people decided that using this baking mix and adding tuna would be a good idea!

Am I really seeing this?

When we think that we have seen all of the possible weird combinations that could exist, we find another recipe that manages to surprise us. The fact that we can only see a part of this recipe is frustrating because we really wanted to understand what they were trying to make.

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Halved grapes, cream cheese, and pear? This has to be the weirdest recipe in this article thus far! This is so questionable that we can’t even tell what is the point of using a pear, cream cheese, and grapes to recreate a bunch of grapes!

People probably don’t want to eat something like this.

This next picture is not necessarily a recipe, but it is just so questionable that we couldn’t simply ignore it. Sausages go with basically any recipe, whether it’s a sweet, sour, or salty meal. However, the issue with this sausage is not the combination of ingredients…

Image courtesy of Terry Hagan/Facebook

The actual issue here is the presentation of this dish. Frankie Doodle Dandy looks too cute to be eaten, so why would anyone want to buy these sausages? Also, “dip into boiling water until arms and legs spread” seems kind of brutal, to be honest.

Who is coming up with these?

At this point, we look at all these questionable recipes and don’t even feel disgusted by their sight anymore. The only thing we have in mind is a question regarding who in the world was coming up with all these bizarre recipes back in the day.

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When you first look at this picture, you may even think that you’re seeing a melon covered in whipped cream. The idea of eating fruits and whipped cream is not weird at all — but what you see there is not whipped cream. It’s cream cheese spread all over a melon. That’s correct.

Kudos for the presentation…kind of.

We have shown you so many ugly foods in this article that the next one will shock you. Not because it’s the ugliest of them all, but rather because it is actually not that bad. Check out this sandwich recipe from the past.

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When you look at this picture, you can totally see how these sandwiches look tasty. But, on top of that, these sandwiches look really good in terms of presentation. The only issue with this recipe (and the only reason why we’re questioning it) is that it’s obviously really hard for amateur cooks to copy this presentation!

Maybe there’s a reason for that.

Let’s say that you were a kid sometime in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s. Do you remember the recipes that your mother or grandmother, or even your aunts used to cook when you were younger? Back then, you probably didn’t have an option and had to eat everything they cooked.

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The recipes that we have shown you in this article were quite popular back in the day, and you probably had to eat some of them — no matter how bad they looked and possibly tasted. Judging by that, it’s not hard to understand why the children from vintage commercials looked like they were ready to snap at any given moment!

This looks like an animal!

For this next recipe, we are actually upset that we can’t see the ingredients anywhere on the picture. It looks like it would make for a good dessert, especially for when we have friends or family over. Everyone is going to love this dish!

Image courtesy of Devon Lent/Facebook

Well, it does look kind of tasty. But, once again, the problem with this vintage recipe is the presentation. Who would want to eat a dish that looks like it’s about to walk right out of the plate? We mean, this meal does look like a giant spider, doesn’t it?

Would you eat this?

Back in the 1950s, tomato aspic became a huge sensation in America. This dish is actually really good and there’s no question about that. However, back in that time, jelly was also quite popular — so, obviously, people decided to tweak the original tomato aspic recipe and add some jelly.

Image courtesy of Jane Wright Bush/Facebook

Was it really necessary to create this recipe? Jelly and tomato sauce, really? While they don’t call this combination “tomato aspic,” they do say that this questionable mix of sauce and gelatin is tomato aspic with a personality. Well, we guess that it must be one of the most devious personalities we have ever met!

Is this real?

While the recipes and meals we’ve shown you looked questionable, we knew that they were real. That is, people were actually advertising things like mixing jelly and tomato sauce or peanut butter and mayo back in the day. This next ad, though, seems kind of suspicious:

Image courtesy of Stacie Crosetto Flood/Facebook

As real as this page looks, nothing that is displayed here looks or feels real. The idea of buying boned rolled pig doesn’t seem too absurd, and maybe it would even be tasty. But, if you pay attention to the text, you’ll notice that there’s something wrong with this ad. Legally edible? Minimum vermin? This has got to be a meme or something like that!

Ham and what?

When we think of salad, we usually think of a bowl of vegetable salad or a bowl of fruit salad. That’s it. Salad is either sweet or salty, there’s no way that there should be something in-between. Well, at least that’s what we thought until we saw this salad.

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As you can see in the picture, this is a combination of fruit salad and ham. Yes, that’s correct. This is a big loaf made of ham and fruit salad, or fruit cocktail, as they call it. It’s safe to say that not a lot of people would be willing to try this recipe!

Okay, now this has got to be a joke.

It seems that the last few slides of this article will feature absurd foods that don’t even look real. We mean, legally edible pig, a salad made of fruits and ham, and now an ocean salad loaf? We wonder what was up with people back then.

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If you’re wondering what an ocean salad loaf is, it looks like it is a loaf made of seafood bits. And to top it all, this loaf is coated in a so-called unfiltered sea jelly. When they say “serve with abandon”, we’re sure the manufacturer meant to say “serve and abandon”!

This is a bit too much for me!

Unless you’re vegan or vegetarian, you probably love eating meat. Different animals provide us with different types of meat, and some people enjoy particular meats more than others. For instance, there are people who enjoy eating pork belly, and there are people who enjoy eating ox tongue.

Image courtesy of Glenn Raymond Hadgkiss/Facebook

Yes, you read that right. Some people like eating ox tongue and, according to what they say, the taste is amazing. Personally, we don’t want to try eating this particular type of meat — especially not when the sauce kind of looks like puke!

Are you sure that this recipe is correct?

Because this article was about questionable recipes from the past, we just had to end it with a questionable vintage recipe. If you don’t read this cornbread recipe with your full attention, you may even miss the catch here. 

Image courtesy of Shauna Tucker/Facebook

You can tell that this recipe is so old by the way they spelled cornbread separately. But that is not the point here. If you look carefully, you’ll see that they’re suggesting that you use 1 to 3 cups of Wesson oil for this recipe — but that’s enough to send you to the bathroom for a least a couple of hours! Let’s hope they meant to 1-3 as in ⅓ (one third)!