The 1950’s were an extremely experimental time for food. It was the dawn of convenience cooking and TV dinners, post-war recipes, and the Betty Crocker Picture cookbook. Many staples that we see in the grocery store today (and in our own fridge), were being tested in American kitchens. The recipes from that period are both strange and yummy, and sometimes just plain disturbing.

1) Spam Cakes



This recipe involves Bisquick and Spam, found on grocery store shelves today (there is still nothing like Bisquick shortbread). Although there is a lot of stigma surrounding spam today, many people grew up eating it, and still think it’s really tasty. Most people think it is mystery meat, but it’s not. The ingredients are pork (just pork), salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate. Sweet and savory is a great combination, which makes this vintage recipe a winner.

2. Carnation B-B-Burgers



Seriously. Cream in burgers is soooo good. It adds so much flavor. That’s why this recipe is categorized under yummy. It is basically meatloaf on a bun.

3. Sleeping Beauty Fudge (circa 1958)



We can’t help but include this recipe. It is from a Sleeping Beauty comic book from the 1950’s. How cool is that? With ingredients like chocolate, butter, powdered sugar, and magic, this classic fudge recipe is extra special.

4. Molded Tuna Fish



Now for the strange and disturbing. There were so many recipes that included gelatin and meat from the 50s. Weird, right? Or maybe they were onto something.

5. Jello Salad



Again with the jello. This particular advertisment is for the first and only gelatin created exclusively for salads. We have to give credit to the people that engineered this strange (and seemingly popular) treat.

The recipes from this decade are not just the sum of their ingredients-they are a reflection of the cultural atmosphere. They are a history lesson, and would not exist apart from the changes that were happening within American society at the time. They are also super fun and extremely creative, so give them a try! Don’t regret the years you missed out on molded tuna.

Rachael Doukas