45 Vintage Recipes Showing The Weird Eating Habits Of Past Generations
Vintage aesthetics are something else entirely compared to the modern era. Whether it is clothing, makeup, movies, or food, the last few centuries were iconic in their way, and nothing present can keep up to those swoon-worthy tastes and aesthetics.
However, you should be glad that you weren’t born in that era where food recipes were another name for the word ‘disgusting.’ Well, except for a few recipes inherited from us by our grandparents: stuffed turkey, numerous types of stews and curry, and different ways of bringing boiled veggies to life.
If you ever had the chance to stumble upon vintage cookbooks or your ancestors’ old journals, you’d know why our faces are turning green. You better not be snacking because we’re going to share the reason behind our horror: this puke-inducing, bizarre dishes from (thankfully) bygone eras!
Confused Jell-O cushion
We are just as confused as you are. We can’t tell why anyone would decide to mix tomato sauce and pasta rings in jello! This disgusting disaster on one side, topping the hardened jello cake with olives and ham, is a hard pass.
The jello cushion would look quite delicious if it weren’t for the ingredients. But the rest couldn’t have made the recipe any uglier and more bizarre! It is like a fridge fusion: let’s add everything we can find there. We can’t look at it without feeling like throwing up!
“Stargazy fish coffin“
More like a “stargaze fish coffin,” in our opinion. How do you eat a pie without any remorse, guilt, or awkwardness when the main ingredient’s dead eyes keep staring at you from the pie while you cut and eat it? The fish’s heads are giving us the creeps.
Here’s a little fun fact about this bizarre-looking dish: this is a quite famous, traditional Cornish recipe which is made exactly like this. A cook named Antonia Barber first made this and added it to her cookbook (The Mousehole Cat) because of its interesting taste!
The internet doesn’t seem like a place for innocent eyes anymore. We aren’t saying that whatever this…piece of food suggests is dirty or taboo; it is just that the food on the plate in front of you shouldn’t be proposing other ideas to your mind.
Food is supposed to look eye-catching, blissful, and luscious to you and not make you vomit your guts out at the mere sight of it. This stuffed mushroom dish probably tastes better than it looks! We would give it a shot but not without wearing a blindfold.
A popcorn-shooting turkey
Who knew reading a vintage cookbook would make you laugh, cry and puke all at the same time? It’s a recipe book, for foodies’ sake. No one expects to stumble upon the most absurd and disgusting idea of making a stuffed turkey in a cookbook!
Vintage recipes were iconic, or so our elders told us. But after reading about stuffing a turkey with uncooked popcorn, we don’t know whether to believe them anymore. Two minutes in, and the turkey will be shooting popcorn from its butt!
The mad fish
Putting a stuffed animal on the platter along with its head has always been a recipe that makes us lose our appetite a little bit. Maybe we are a little too sympathetic with the animals, or it’s just that this fish looks like it is still alive and judging us for our sins.
Tell us, is it only our imagination, or does this fish look mad to you too? Well, after you stuff whipped cream cheese under its head and between its body, with lemon, radish, and lettuce on the side for presentation, why wouldn’t it be?
Cheesy green puke
Putting bits of cheese on a green blob of Jell-O is one thing, but adding onion dice to the recipe is another. Both of them are despicable and offensive and are on the highest levels of absurdity. Give us your name, whoever made it, ate it, and liked it!
The cheese bits would’ve been better if the Jell-O was sided with it separately! But the topping of cheese doesn’t look very appealing to the eyes; we can’t tell what the combination of cheese, onions, and Jell-O would taste like.
Deliberately mixing canned salmon and avocado mash feels like a sin. Or maybe a crime, just like making illegal substances at home. If it’s not a crime, we would like to start a petition to make it one, and the criminal should be punished by having to eat this for the rest of their lives.
This combination offends us to the core. Why would anyone put salmon in a Jell-O mixture and top the cake with avocado mash? It is such a massive waste of salmon, as well as avocados! Well, if the recipe inventor tried to make a watermelon-looking mold, their idea was not a total flop.
Green beans on a pizza?
When we hear fruit pizza – Hawaiian “pineapple” pizza, in particular – our noses scrunch up in disgust. This event divided the world’s population into two groups based on the placement of pineapple on a pizza. Pineapple doesn’t belong on a traditional pizza, though; leave it for the fruit pizza.
Now imagine green beans on a pizza-tasting base. The same pizza dough (cushion-shaped, though) with tomato sauce and cheese, but with green beans that aren’t just sprinkled over it. It’s just a bunch of green beans, like a mountain on top. No debate – it’s a straight ‘no’.
We have never heard of, or thought of, making a mousse out of cauliflower. We like cauliflower, and we like mousse, but we aren’t sure if we’d like a cauliflower mousse! The idea of making a cauliflower mousse isn’t very alluring to us.
However, even if it does sound disturbing and quite bizarre, it doesn’t look half bad! Honestly, if it weren’t for the uncooked cauliflower décor around the mousse – and the name – and someone presented it to us as something else, we wouldn’t hesitate to try this one.
Langue de Boeuf
We have seen people eating meaty parts of animals and even heard of several traditional recipes for cooking liver, kidneys, lungs, and even their limbs. But tongue? No judgments, but why would you want to eat the tongue of a dead animal unless you are in a life-threatening situation?
We aren’t going to lie; no one can convince us to eat Langue de Boeuf Froide Rosée (cold, glazed ox’s tongue) sitting on a plate, no matter how flowery and pretty they make it. Glazing it with Jell-O was a fine idea, though. At least it’s cold and stiff and not clumpy and gooey.
We have beef with this vintage recipe. We have had enough of glazing meat with Jell-O and serving it with fruit. It’s not always about the presentation or decorating your prepared dish; you have to see if the edible décor fits the recipe, vibe, and taste.
This beef ring would be a lot more delicious and mouth-watering if it weren’t glazed. We’re going to pretend the recipe inventor didn’t cut green olives in half and place cherries in the middle; it’s too bizarre to even talk about it. For the sake of the effort, we hope it tastes good.
Hot dogs are only delicious when they are served as hot dogs. And by that, we mean buns topped with ketchup and mustard. No more aesthetics in this area, please. Don’t ruin the hot dogs for hot dog lovers; we beg the vintage recipe inventors.
We appreciate the styles that a hot dog can be customized in; we think it’s art. But putting them on the same platter as potatoes, lemons, cheese, cabbage, olives, and tomatoes and adding several seasonings over the fondue makes this recipe a fon-don’t.
Hellmann’s or man-in-hell?
When we think of mayonnaise, our salivary glands usually pick up speed – yes, mayonnaise is that good! Even Hellmann’s. Hellmann’s mayo has reached almost every part of the world since it was launched, and it’s still got a good reputation that it has to uphold.
However, this is our first time seeing the original Hellmann’s mayonnaise advertisement in a newspaper. Let us tell you; this is not what we expected. This “man” looks like it’s a man from hell, which seems kind of appropriate given the brand’s name!
In case you’ve never encountered tripe as a dish or even heard of it, we’d love to let you in on the knowledge of food. Okay, so tripe is the inner lining of the stomach of cattle that people, mostly from the southern areas, the Caribbean, and Spain, adore.
But usually, tripe is served in a soup bowl dipped in a broth along with other nutritional veggies. Multiple sauces and seasonings are used to spice up the dish’s flavor. These Vintage foodies probably had very thick taste buds that they ate tripe only stewed with onions!
Feet to eat
Studying cultures and traditional foods tells you a lot about a country’s habitants. The most fun and enjoyable thing about visiting different countries is that you get to taste different flavors and recipes. But nothing prepares you for this: when you are served animal feet!
The broth and the soup would be quite savory, but with feet dipped in it? We can’t help but feel a little disgusted at the concept of pig feet in front of us. Vintage cooks and food lovers were pretty hardcore that they thought of deliberately trying this in the first place!
A slice of fruit-filled cabbage
We have seen a lot of fillings stuffed into some other edible, but never have we ever imagined someone stuffing up the core of a cabbage flower with fruit, cream, and meat! Just how ridiculous it sounds to our ears, we aren’t sure what this bizarre dish would taste on our tongues.
These kinds of absurd recipe inventions are the reason food today is acceptable and eatable. If it wasn’t for these experiments, we’d still be eating slices of cabbage filled with all kinds of senseless things one could get their hands on in the grocery store!
California “puke” cream salad
On the one hand, there are dishes that look pretty and presentable when they are served on the table. On the other hand, some dishes look like someone chewed on them and puked the mush on the platter without ingesting them.
This is one of the latter ones: The Prune Salad looks like it’s already been eaten! We expected more from old Californians and their food. Well, at least the next generation broke the cycle and started making dishes that don’t look like “puke” cream salad.
Mousse with lava lobster sauce
Have you ever eaten molten lava chocolate cake where the outer part looks like a regular chocolate cake, but when you cut it, the creamy, melted chocolate goodness comes out like lava? Well, this recipe is the older and uglier version of that.
McCall’s Cooking School should’ve been banned after they put out this sickening recipe of Sole Mousse with lobster sauce. If someone didn’t tell us that the insides of Sole Mousse were filled with lobster sauce before serving this, we probably would have sat at the table a little while longer.
History lesson time: this is THE dish of the 60s. Back in that day, when this recipe came out, serving hot dogs with macaroni of any kind became a quick tradition. We know people usually serve hot dogs and macaroni separately now, but we wonder why.
Honestly, this advertisement for Karo syrup doesn’t feel half bad to us. This casserole looks edible if we weren’t so doubtful about eating hot dogs with macaroni. It’s not just the bizarre combo either; you have to try it to see what made this dish enter our list of disgusting vintage foods.
Foies de Volaille en Gelée
In case you aren’t French or haven’t ever been to France or any old French restaurant, well, we’d like to give you your first French lesson – your first and, most probably, last lesson. This dish is translated as “Poultry Liver in Jelly” in English.
Whichever Frenchman thought of putting slices of poultry liver chilled in jelly probably didn’t have the guts to eat this ridiculous combination. The presentation is picture-perfect, though. However, we are sure that anyone who ever comes across this dish would only eat the cubes of jelly in the center!
Fish ‘n meat
Stuffing one food in another is acceptable only when there is a correlation between both things. For example, a simple, saucy paste of garlic, thyme, and other herbs and seasonings in a turkey. Usually, this stuffing enriches the flavors of the meat itself.
But people have used this excuse to invent some horrid recipes for the sake of being “creative” in the kitchen. Let us tell you; you don’t want to be anywhere near this dish: fish cavity stuffed with the liver of hare, chicken, or lamb! This fish looks like it died twice.
Jellied salad with lamb chops
Jell-O, green salad contents, and lamb meat chops, all in one! We revolted three times too. Ever since vintage foodies got hold of Jell-O, they got a little too obsessed with it and made it the main ingredient in everything!
For example, we don’t see the point in adding lamb chops and green salad in jelly! These three items could easily be eaten separately, and all three would be perfectly delicious. But they just had to combine the three in one and throw it in the waste.
Turkey and chicken Jell-O
We can’t believe people actually thought of making this stuff and then had the stomach to ingest it. Vintage foods were another level of nauseating, and we aren’t just talking about adding Jell-O in almost everything (even though that’s an apparent fact too).
We dare you to look at this sickening recipe of turkey and chicken, chilled in Jell-O with grapes and coconut on top, without gagging with disgust. Why would vintage foodies want to eat Jell-O with “pulps” of both turkey and chicken in it?
It’s from cans!
Their “It’s from the cans!” slogan sums up the entire thing for customers. They made it easy, and they made it easily sordid. Whoever thought of throwing everything from the cans into gelatin didn’t think of other people’s health.
Well, they probably had good intentions of providing ease to working people when they returned home from a long day. Surely, this six-minute meal would do wonders. But what would canned bacon, peas, chicken, veggies, consommé, etc. have tasted like in Jell-O? Gross.
Chicken salad but jellied
A chicken salad is one of the most famous and most eaten salads worldwide, and everybody loves it. Even though there is no specific recipe for making chicken salads – seasonings, sauces, and herbs differ according to your taste – the main idea remains the same.
Well, as we have grasped the fact that vintage foodies couldn’t live without putting gelatin in every dish they made, we should’ve seen this coming. Of course, they had to invent jellied chicken salad. We’re glad that we dropped jelly from our recipes.
A noodle hat
This weird cheesy thing looks like an old hat people from bygone ages wore to church. But this isn’t a vintage hat; it’s an old, vintage dish of a noodle cake served with melted cheese and Brussel sprouts on top. One of the most bizarre food combinations we have ever encountered.
This is one of those dishes your parents would tell you to eat when you want noodles, but they want you to eat healthily. So, here you go, you get noodles as you wish, but you get to eat them with Brussel sprouts. The melted cheese functioned as a cherry on top.
Alien invasion on a platter
A lot is going on on this plate; we can’t seem to decide where to start. It looks like an alien invaded this dish. We can’t describe it in any other words than an “alien invasion” because it’s a huge mess! This dish screams, “Jasper, bring everything you can see out of the fridge!“
There is absolutely everything that we’d hate to combine in one dish. Yet someone did this without showing any sort of remorse – the effort they put into the presentation says so. Lobster limbs, scallops and shrimps, olives and lychees, lemon baskets, lettuce, and Jell-O cakes, is that all?
Patio platter with fruit and meat
This fruit patio platter recipe wouldn’t be a complete disaster if we were to replace Miracle Whip with regular whipped cream. Well, we guess Miracle Whip wasn’t a great success in the first place, which is why we now use whipped cream in a fruit salad.
Secondly, why would someone ruin our appetite by adding meat slices to a fruit patio platter? Yes, the fruit patio platter would be better off without Jell-O, but we doubt it’d stay mounted if there were no Jell-O in it. Well, it does look pretty like this.
Goose liver pâté
We don’t mean to judge French vintage recipes, but it is getting so hard for us not to feel repulsed by them. One thing we would like to mention is that adding greens to the décor of the dish doesn’t make the original recipe any less dreadful.
Even masked, it looks disgusting. The best vegan pâté recipe is made with mushrooms and almonds, and it tastes like pâté, too, without killing a goose for it. Also, why would the French want to make a goose liver pâté cake in Jell-O? Radish is the only plus point in this dish.
“Phlegm-ing” cabbage rolls
We didn’t even need to read the whole recipe; just the name “Flemish cabbage rolls” was enough to bring our lunch back up. We can’t even imagine how vintage Dutch foodies lived with these kinds of hors d’oeuvres (appetizers) in their usual meals.
This recipe starts fine, but when they got to the part of mixing tuna and everything else into a paste and rolling them in cabbage leaves, that’s where we knew this recipe was a straight-up pass. Also, a fun fact: this Flemish Dutch recipe is quite popular in Canada, Turkey, and Germany to this day.
Potatoes are the best universal food item. You’d never be able to count the number of dishes you can make using any form of potatoes. Potatoes make the best dishes, whether it’s potato sticks or slices, mashed or cubes, scalloped or stewed, boiled or cooked in sauces.
We can never run out of ideas on how to add potatoes to our dishes – there’s always a ‘but’ after such statements – but someone made a combination of potatoes with the worst ingredient ever: a tongue! The cheesy top and scalloped potatoes would look delicious if it weren’t for the tongue.
Here is another example of making a dish from a disgusting combination of sausage (bologna) and fruit. This recipe inventor tried to piece them together one way or another, so they made it look pretty and edible by speckling baked bologna with cloves and siding it with fruit.
But this recipe of baked bologna jubilee sounds as disturbing as drinking raw blood. Baked bologna alone would’ve been fine, honestly, but their over-the-top effort ruined the entire thing for everyone. We’d give it a go only because this is a nice-looking piece of bologna, and we’d hate to let it go to waste.
Fish art with color splashes
They say, “cooking is an art.” Well, someone took it way too seriously. Never have we ever seen a dish with bright traffic light colors in it have you? Well, if you haven’t, we’ll give you a sneak peek into this fish dish art with color splashes of red, yellow, and green.
Art is subjective, but even this fish looks disgusted with the way the oldies presented it! This fish served on a platter with overflowing red sauce, pieces of yellow lemon, green coriander, and peas is a hilarious but disgusting fish art at the same time.
Glazed prune pie
We have encountered numerous pies in our life – from apple to date pies – and we love them all. One pie we have never eaten or seen is a prune pie, and we don’t know what we feel about it. Aren’t the prunes supposed to be cut in pieces or even cooked a little?
This piece of prune pie isn’t the most disgusting thing on our list, and surprisingly, we’d like to try it at least once in our life. It looks like the glazed cakes or pastries in a bakery. Topping it with whipped cream and nuts makes it look a little delicious.
Broccoli with frozen cheese
Okay, hands down, this is the most distressing and horrific dish we’ve come across until now! No other recipe will ever surpass the horror of this pairing of frozen cheese and broccoli in the same dish. And not even the presentation is convincing enough to make us eat this.
They did the cheese bad! As well as broccoli. Some things are perfect when they are eaten separately. And both of these ingredients are included in that list. The level of nausea we currently feel is off the charts. Look at this dish, and you’d understand our pain.
We should start by saying something good about a dish. So, we would like to say that this salmon and mousse dish looks like a shoe that is so cute! Plus, another good thing they did was cut a piece of salmon and stuff mousse in it instead of stuffing the whole salmon with it.
Their presentation looks fine, but why is the salmon shoe filled with green mousse, anyway? Who invented this combination of cold salmon and mousse? Also, served with green lettuce leaves? It’s a no for us. We’ll pass even though we liked the shoe.
In this modern era, people have started making animal-shaped edibles to make kids’ meals more fun and easy on the eyes. Well, probably because children whine in disgust when they see vegetables. And this following recipe shows us that parents tried to make food fun even back then.
Maybe this trend started when someone in the vintage era presented a dish with chocolate and Jell-O served with chocolate shaped like animals (creepy man, pig, toucan, duck, and rabbit in this picture) covered in whipped cream! Our stomachs are spinning.
This dish should be called deception salad; they made it look so flowery and pretty that people would not help but fawn over it. It is psychologically manipulating foodies into eating it. You may not know what you are looking at, and trust us, you’re better off not knowing!
This pretty thing isn’t what you think it is. This dish is called “Lazy Daisy Salad” – cute name, yes. But what’s inside is leftover veggies, and fruit smothered in mayonnaise! It is only a way to make use of leftovers (which is a good thought, in our opinion, to reduce edible waste).
A very red salad
Let’s see what we can use to make a savory red salad. There’s red beetroot, and it would make a perfect red salad! You know it, and we know it, that people in vintage eras didn’t think like that; they simply added everything they laid their eyes on.
Hey, they didn’t skip the Jell-O part! Not that we are surprised at this point. So, chilled lime Jell-O with bits of radish, onions, peppers, and even celery? No, thank you. It looks pretty, though. They only forgot to add strawberries here!
Ham and eggs cake
Cakes are one of the greatest food blessings in our lives. So, to disrespect the existence of a butter and flour cake like this, we won’t tolerate it. This ham and eggs cake chilled in Jell-O scares us for some reason. Please, someone, get this out of our sight!
This recipe should be a criminal offense if it isn’t already. We don’t care enough for the presentation points anymore – even the idea of a good presentation is bizarre and horrifying as heck! Who decided to layer ham and eggs like a cake and then proceed to add broccoli to the platter too?
Roasted frogs or Barbies?
Hey, this dish is like having little post-nuclear Barbies on your plate! Sorry, we are trying to figure out if these are frogs’ limbs or roasted barbies, and, to be hones, we don’t know which is more traumatizing and bizarre.
Did you know that there are parts of the world where people roast frogs? We didn’t, until now. And the thought of crunching on frogs’ long legs – which look like Barbie’s – isn’t making us feel very good about this dish. We can almost feel the crunch in our mouths.
Barbecue sauce with mushrooms
Vintage foodies said, “my fellow man, you know what barbecue sauce needs? Mushrooms.” And then, after a solemn agreement, they proceeded to sprinkle mushrooms onto a platter overflowing with barbecue sauce. This is probably one of the few vintage recipes that are vegan-friendly.
That’s how mushroom barbecue sauce ended up in cookbooks. We love (sarcasm intended) to see how people’s creativity in the kitchen sometimes works. Bored of the original recipe? Add a dash of whatever you can find in it, and ta-da!
Have you ever tried that kitchen trick where you turn the whole dish upside down when the top layer doesn’t come out perfectly? Then you sprinkle some almonds, greens, cheese, or any topping to make it look less of a disaster.
Well, this dish reminds us of that. They call it Chili Pie but turn it right side up, and you’d have a cow pie with cheese grating under it. We can see red chilies popping out of this pie; it doesn’t look appealing to our stomachs.
“Olden” salad dessert
They call it a “Golden Salad Dessert” because of its golden color, obviously. Every ingredient in this dessert is of yellow or orange color and is naturally sweet. No sugar is needed! All you need for this recipe is pineapple, carrots, orange, and their juices.
This recipe doesn’t sound too bad until you taste or even see one in front of you. Juices, pulps, and pineapple pieces are mixed in orange Jell-O. This chilled Jell-O cake is then served with lettuce and other greens, of all things!
World’s saddest charcuterie
Charcuteries and portioned platters used to be a huge deal in old times. Charcuteries were often presented to the guests with different fruit or dry fruit, kind of like a small buffet. The elite was served delicious edibles to snack on.
Well, out of every charcuterie we’ve seen, this is the blandest and saddest looking one of them all. This looks like a small breakfast buffet with toast, eggs, cheese, rice, veggies, and dates. It’s healthy, sure, but it’s also pretty dull.