A Strange Trip Down Memory Lane: 40+ Bizarre Food Choices That Were Popular At Parties Decades Ago

By Liezel L

We thought it was mostly pregnant women who created the most absurd food combinations and recipes to satisfy their cravings, but as it turns out, we’re wrong. Apparently, people who wanted to make their parties a massive hit decades ago were also guilty of making questionable creations that none of us would ever dream of putting in our mouths.

The kicker? These absurd dishes were quite popular then. From putting fish in jelly to making a holiday tuna tree, people from the bygone era tried hard to make astounding dishes. Luckily (or should we say, unluckily?), a Facebook group called “Disgusting Vintage Recipes” has been compiling these abominations for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of their best finds. Good luck!

Savory Bananas

Bananas are already delicious on their own. Sure, they are sometimes great on a sundae or with some cream, but that’s it. They’re perfect as the sweet fruit they are. However, some people decades ago seemed to disagree with that.

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

It seems someone was trying to make a savory dish with bananas. And you know what? We give an A plus for the effort and the presentation. We are just taking points away for everything else. It’s just a big no.

Straight Out Of Halloween

For some reason, the more you look at this weird dessert, the worse it gets. Whoever came up with it has one sick, sick mind. And by the looks of it, they really put all their evil into the details of the dish. 

image courtesy of Rich Mintz/ Facebook

If we had to guess, we’d say the dish was for a Halloween party and was meant to be disgusting, or at least we hope. This should have just been on display at the party since we doubt anyone who invites you to their home would willingly feed you this.

Merry Christmas Food Poisoning

By looks alone, this dish doesn’t seem too bad. In fact, it does look the part of a star dish meant to steal everyone’s attention, and we’re pretty sure it was a hit at parties before. However, was it a hit with people’s tummies too?

image courtesy of Tobi McCullough/ Facebook

When shrimp is left at room temperature for too long, it never ends well for the consumer. With this setup, you’ll never know if the one you’re picking up has made it through the ordeal or is ready to cause one in your stomach! We guess people were brave enough to take chances before.

Jelly From Hell

Whoever thought they could mimic fish swimming in an aquarium with clear jelly was definitely a creative at heart, don’t get us wrong. However, we think something went wrong with the execution part here. This entire thing looks like it was thrown up by hell.

image courtesy of Ethan Allen/ Facebook

Instead of portraying happy swimming fishes, this looks like the murder of poor innocent sardines memorialized by jelly. And we don’t think the flavor makes up for it, either. How in the world this makes a party a hit, we don’t want to know.

Peek-A-Boo Disaster

Unlike the other cooks on this list, at least this one tried to hide the absurdity of their dish. However, we are not sure they succeeded since we still scrunched our noses. Frankly, we’re not even sure we want to know exactly what was used here.

image courtesy of Jenn Wild/ Facebook

It may look innocent enough, but the risk of retching is still too great. We might consider taking a bite of this once we get a little whiff, but if we smell anything remotely fishy, we are definitely tapping out.

Red Velvet Delight

If you’re like us, when you hear the words red velvet, you immediately think of the tasty lush red spongy cake that is a beloved dessert all over the world. However, people from decades ago had a different version of this dish, and theirs was more fruity than ours. 

image courtesy of Anika J Webb/ Facebook

It seems that they doused their version with tons of pineapple. Although we’re not even sure if that’s cake or just plain tartare, whatever it is, it doesn’t look appetizing at all. We can’t even say we hope it tastes better than it looks because we can’t imagine anyone putting it in their mouths!

Weird Pizza Preference

People have different preferences when it comes to pizza; we know that. But generally, most would eat whatever kind there was if there was nothing else on the table. It’s a delicious universal food, and not many people would pass one up. Well, except for this one maybe.

image courtesy of Jenn Wild/ Facebook

With this pizza, people who love pineapples on pizza and those who don’t would finally find a reason to unite. Instead of tuna and pear, this one should be called tuna and fear because that’s definitely what we’d be feeling in our stomachs if we were offered this at a party.

Slug Fest

We hope this isn’t an actual giant slug, but it sure looks like one. We have chosen to assume this is spinach wrapped around something else (hopefully a tasty something else). They really didn’t do well when it came to meal presentation.

image courtesy of Rivers Peterson/ Facebook

Nothing on this plate looks the least bit appetizing. Of course, we have to admit that effort went into this, but we all know that when it comes to food, that just won’t cut it. Hopefully, the taste isn’t as bad as we imagine, or at least we hope they never serve it again.

The ‘I Hate You’ Cake

If you really wanted to make someone feel just how much you resent them, this would be the perfect way to do it. This cake will send such a clear message that they will never mistake your true feelings towards them.

image courtesy of Mira Zacchaeus/ Facebook

The cake looks like it was made out of purely vile intentions. Seriously, just look at that okra in the middle. This might be the kind of cake or burger they feed you in hell. It’ll definitely make you want to play nice again and pay for your sins.

Tart and Fishy

Usually, a little bit of lemon actually goes pretty well with fish like salmon. Its acidity balances out the taste of fish and makes it something delectable. With that said, we never knew that this combination could be twisted into something like this.

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

Whoever made this dish took that idea and mixed it all into one meal. If it was tuna, it might’ve actually been fine but sardines? That’s a different thing. Maybe if you scoop it up and put it on a cracker, that’ll make it bearable.

Jello Concoctions

Tomatoes and apples in salads don’t actually seem too bad mixed together, especially if you have other ingredients to complement them. However, if you make the mistake of putting those two together in jello, you’ll make the strangest jello anyone has ever seen.

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

We have no idea why the person who made this thought that apple and tomato flavors go well, especially with jello. It would be interesting at a party, but you can trust that we wouldn’t be found anywhere close to that table.

Veggie Stuffed Pancake Tower

We all know how hard it is for some kids, and even adults, to eat their veggies. We think this weird pancake tower was one mom’s attempt at getting their child to eat their greens. However, we’re not sure it was very effective if that was the goal.

image courtesy of Brenda Berry/ Facebook

The pancake tower aspect would have been appealing, for sure. But it would be too easy to pick out the veggies and set them aside into another pile. Plus, it also looks like a poor attempt at recreating the world’s strangest pizza.

Alien Dish to Die For

This looks like a dish that could literally kill you. It’s the stuff of nightmares. The worst part is that we have no clue what it is. It may look like an alien tentacle at first, but it’s probably something like a pig’s tail or intestine, perhaps? 

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

Maybe if it was better presented, it could have been better. However, we still don’t think any kind of decent presentation would make us put this in our mouths. It’s just one of those foods you’d have to bite into with your eyes closed!

Unappetizing Appetizers

If that was guacamole or maybe even humus, we might not have had a big issue with it because it might have been tolerable. However, according to our trusty uncle Google, those are leeks with a side of pear and bean puree. 

image courtesy of Erik Royek/ Facebook

It appears that someone might have wanted to change up their appetizers and ended up with something that accomplished the complete opposite of what an appetizer should do. But who knows? Maybe the combination was actually good since this is a list of foods that were loved before. 

Fish Out Of Water

We have got to admire this person’s effort in the presentation of their meal. It is not too bad or immediately revolting. However, we think that the presentation is actually what did more harm than good to this strange dish. 

image courtesy of Mira Zacchaeus/ Facebook

If they were looking to make an impression with this, they absolutely succeeded. That fish will forever be etched in our memory. However, when it comes to actual eating, not even a famished seal would come close to this thing!

A Loaf Full Of Flavor

Most people find bread a little too plain for their tastes. But that’s why we have jam, butter, and other things that you can spread on your plain loaf bread to make it tastier. They also help prevent creations like this.

image courtesy of Brenda Berry/ Facebook

No, that’s not cat food in the center. Apparently, that’s tuna and mackerel made into a picnic loaf. And while we don’t condone this attempt at efficiency, what we find most heinous is the fact that they would destroy a perfectly good loaf of bread for this abomination.

Milky Chicken

Milk makes a lot of food taste better when you just add it to soup or even marinate something in it. With that said, we don’t think it has the ability to make every kind of dish better, especially if that wasn’t needed in the first place. 

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

It seems that the chef behind this dish was trying to combine savory and sweet. However, we don’t think milk was the best way to go at it, especially when they already had a pair of perfectly roasted chicken. Those were already the stars of the show on their own.

Mustard Bowl

Brocolli and some vegetables – this dish doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, not exactly, because the ring around those veggies is just made of mustard. And while mustard is a great condiment, we don’t know how to feel about a whole jello ring made out of it. 

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

We may love a bit of it on burgers, hotdogs, and the like, but who can eat spoonfuls of the stuff? We suspect indulging in this ‘delicacy’ would put us off the condiment for good! We’re pretty sure no one in the world loves mustard as much as the person who made this.

A New Take On Eggs

Eggs, curry, sun-dried fruits – we love all those things, but separately. They’re delicious, and we’d never say no to them. But together, we don’t know how to feel about that because we believe that you just can’t put too much good stuff together; there has to be a balance. 

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

The idea is novel, we give the chef that, but there is a limit, okay? You can take something good and mix it with another good thing but never too much because it just all cancels out like this dish. 

Jello Board

Oh, these look absolutely adorable, and we’d certainly be delighted to see this at a dinner party. However, since this is a list of weird vintage dishes, of course, there’s a catch. If you look closely, you will spot little peas and carrots in there.

image courtesy of Sarah Hayden/ Facebook

While the idea might’ve been fun on a dessert kind of platter, we think the chef here decided to put the main dish into jello. And sadly, that just kills the joy out of the whole thing. ‘A’ for effort, though. Too bad it was wasted.

Rosy Perfection Salad

Again with the salad! We know people back then were really trying to get creative with these often bland treats, but now we know why their creations never really stood the test of time. Just look at this horrendous thing.

image courtesy of Erik Royek/ Facebook

The rosy leaves would’ve been perfectly fine on their own. They didn’t have to go in and add jello. That just ruined everything. Just imagine chomping on that and feeling the mix of crunchy and slimy jello texture. It gives us the chills!

The Vegetable Cake Of Nightmares

There is a reason why very few people in the world try to incorporate vegetables in deserts. That’s because most of them know it wouldn’t work. Need proof? Just look at this next creation and tell us if that would appetize you.

image courtesy of Jenn Wild/ Facebook

It’s all the vegetables you’d need for a healthy meal put into a jello cake. If they were trying to get the kids to eat their veggies, we think it’s safe to say they put them off for life! Even adults would be deterred from eating greens after seeing this. 

Pears and Beans

It’s not unheard of to put veggies and fruits on one platter. We do it all the time with our salads, and it works. However, when you do that, you have to make sure the flavor profiles go well together, or you risk a disaster like this person.

image courtesy of Rivers Peterson/ Facebook

Pears go well with so many other veggies, but we don’t think that beans would fit into that category. Texture-wise and flavor-wise, there are just no benefits. Additionally, putting onion in there just killed any hope of ever getting anything good from that.

It’s Bananas!

Nowadays, people can do a lot of things with bananas. We can use them to make bread, pancakes, and cupcakes, and as usual, we can put them into fruit bowls or smoothies. Back in the old times, though, we think they just didn’t know what to do with them.

mage courtesy of Sarah Hayden/ Facebook

As it seems, they experimented a lot to try and discover new ways how to deal with bananas aside from peeling them and eating them. Unfortunately, we don’t think this particular experiment was a success. Bananas are better for sweets and pastries.

Burying The Spam

Spam isn’t the best kind of food out there, but it works well on its own and is good for a meal. Plus, it doesn’t taste half bad. So there’s really no need to bury it underneath the veggies to make it seem healthy.

image courtesy of Joe Masher/ Facebook

Plus, if they were going to bury all that spam underneath all those limas, they could’ve at least added something that would add a little moisture to the dish. Maybe then it wouldn’t have looked as bad as it does right now.

The Brocolli Nest

Kids demonize broccoli a lot, but it’s not really that bad a vegetable. It’s actually one of the best ones if you want to soak up the flavor of a dish. However, if we had been presented with this dish, we might have reconsidered our take on broccoli.

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

Just by looking at it, though, there’s nothing too bad about it. There are eggs, which we love, and broccoli. What we’re afraid of is what went into the broccoli for it to take that shape and what else the chef put in there with this concept in mind. Very sus.

Prawn Abuse

If it was not obvious by now, it seems that in those days, people loved their jello too much. But dishes like this one make us hate it. How could they treat those delicious prawns like that? How dare they?!

image courtesy of Mira Zacchaeus/ Facebook

The prawns were already good and ready for the world on their own. It was completely unnecessary to put them in a disgusting jelly mold. That just killed everything good about them. The people who made this had absolutely no mercy.

Prune Fest

First of all, the presentation of this dish is just awful. No amount of fancy dishes or cutlery can make up for just how horrible everything looks. Second, who in the world thought up so many prune dishes, and why did they put them all in one meal?

image courtesy of Jack Smith/ Facebook

If this is not a cause for a direct trip to the bathroom, we don’t know what is. Maybe one dish would be enough, but this person just went into overkill mode. Hopefully, they had enough bathrooms to accommodate their guests.

What’s Worse Than Chicken In A Can

People back then loved their chickens in a can. But this person took that up a notch with this sweet-and-sour chicken mold thing. And while not all of the ingredients are as wacky as they seem, it’s the thought of mixing them all together that churns our tummies.

image courtesy of Barbara Camacho/ Facebook

It was even presented ever so nicely. Sadly, no matter how pretty it looks, we’re not about to go diving into that. The fact that it has shredded canned chicken in there would be enough for us to opt to go hungry for the night.

Jazzing Up A Craft Dinner

There is nothing wrong with wanting to jazz up dinner from a box, but really, why mix cantaloupes with mac n’ cheese? We’re sure the flavor isn’t as revolting as other unique inventions on this list, but it’s completely unnecessary. 

image courtesy of Barbara Camacho/ Facebook

Leave the poor fruit alone and maybe save it for a separate dessert meal. There’s just no use combining your main meal and dessert into one if you’re going to ruin them both at the same time. Better save one to save the other.

The Blob

For some reason, this is the thing we picture when we think about a monstrous nightmarish blob chasing you down the street to your death. It looks the part, doesn’t it? Not many people would have the guts to go near that thing.

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

Seriously though, why would they desecrate tomato like that? There’s nothing wrong with serving it up in a sandwich or using it for spaghetti. Sometimes it’s better to just leave things as they are instead of ruining them in the name of experimentation.

Bored With The Usual Peas and Carrots

We know that peas and carrots can get pretty boring. That’s the main reason why they’re often left on the plate after a meal. As such, it seems this person tried to turn these sides into the main dish by amping up the presentation.

image courtesy of Erik Royek/ Facebook

We can’t blame them, really. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to end the wastage. Sadly, we don’t think it was much of a success. No decent chef or homeowner would be okay with serving this to their guests.

Sill Cocktail

This dish might look a little confusing, and that’s because it really is. Sill, which is the thing at the bottom of the glass, is pickled herring, and it usually goes great with a creamy sauce or mustard sauce. We’re not sure about egg yolks, though.

image courtesy of Rivers Peterson/ Facebook

This was definitely a mad food experiment, and since we’re not exactly willing to try it out ourselves, we hope it went great or at least well enough not to send guests straight to the bathroom. We feel bad for the risk-takers.

Not The Salmon Dish Of Dreams

Frankly, someone should have snatched jello and molds away from people back in the old days because they really went too crazy with it and not in a good way. Just look at this salmon cottage cheese concoction they made.

image courtesy of Erik Royek/ Facebook

What kind of party star dish were they hoping for? One that sent guests hungry or straight to the bathroom because that’s the kind of thing that this does. Oh, and they added pickles, too! Those poor souls. Hopefully, someone banned jelly in that house.

The Eye of Sauron

The presentation of this dish itself already makes it terrifying, but it’s really the combination of everything in there that might deter you from taking a bite of this sandwich. It reminds us of the eye of Sauron in Lord of The Rings.

image courtesy of Erik Royek/ Facebook

In this sandwich, there is a normal egg tossed in with sardines on top of a beef patty that’s resting on a soggy piece of bread. All these items are set on top of a very sad-looking lettuce to make things worse. Maybe it might have worked if they were rearranged.

Frankenstein Loaf

People back then seemed to really like taking all their meals and turning them into one dish. As proved by some dishes on our strange list, they loved smushing ingredients together into one big lump and calling it a day.

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

Now, we’re not going to call this laziness because, honestly, the presentation was kind of nice and even creative in a way. But surely, a little bit of planning would have made the dish work. We can only hope someone gave them the same feedback back then.

A Wasted Souffle

The problem with a lot of these jello dishes is that there’s too much in them. Taking something out (something like the jello, maybe) would most likely make the dishes a lot better and allow them to be passed through generations. 

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

Take this “souffle,” for instance. Once you take the jello out of the equation, you could have a decent tuna salad. There is really no need to make things so complicated, especially with food. Thankfully, modern generations have understood that.

Not For The Weak Of Heart

For most of us, this might seem like a tummy-churning dish. Of course, not many people are used to seeing the whole head of a creature served up on a platter; that mostly only happens in movies. But in some countries, this is actually a normal dish. 

image courtesy of Samuel Brown/ Facebook

What’s weird about this one, though, is how they decorated the pig head with mayo and made it look like some kind of zebra-pig hybrid. The roasted head on its own would have been fine since it’s actually pretty delicious.

Prawn And Apple Delight

Combining sweet and savory things take a certain kind of finesse to get right, especially when it comes to finger foods like these. They are delicate, so you also have to be delicate with the flavors. Unfortunately, we doubt this person took that into account.

image courtesy of Brenda Berry/ Facebook

Even the poor prawns look like they’re trying to crawl out of those apples since they know that they don’t belong there! We don’t even want to know what’s in the rest of the stuffing. Thankfully, this dish is in the past where it belongs.

A Presentation Fail

Okay, those hotdogs don’t really look too bad. They seem to be coated in something crunchy, and well, crunchy stuff on hotdogs does make them a bit better sometimes. The only problem we have with this one is where they’ve stuck those hotdogs.

image courtesy of Sarah Hayden/ Facebook

Why did they have to use cauliflower? They could have just piled them on a plate rather than abusing that poor vegetable. Plus, they could have made something with the cauliflower. Well, at least this was not a complete fail.

An Acquired Taste

This dish is not a bad one, and yes, that’s really how it looks, but it is an acquired taste. It’s liver, so it will have that strong innard taste. However, according to the title, it’s spiced and fried, so that might offset the taste a little.

image courtesy of Mira Zacchaeus/ Facebook

If you’re not a fan of liver or any kind of innards, this might not be your cup of tea. However, if you’re brave of heart and willing to go on a food adventure, you can try it. This is one of those vintage dishes that actually survived their time.

A Revenge Dish

If you were a woman in the ’50s who had been upset by her husband, this would have been a great dish to serve. Look closely, and you will see exactly why this would make him regret ever getting you upset.

image courtesy of Mira Zacchaeus/ Facebook

It’s just pure genius as a revenge dish, and hopefully, that’s what it was. If it was anything but that, it would have been a wasted opportunity. The only plate this deserves to be on is that of an inconsiderate or mean person.

Care For Some Fruity Pork Chops

We are not unfamiliar with the concept of using fruit acids on meat to make them more tender or to introduce a little bit of refreshing flavor in there. But we’ve never really heard of anyone using cherries for that purpose. 

image courtesy of Rivers Peterson/ Facebook

Maybe this was someone’s unique take on sweet and sour pork, but all we can think about is the canned cherry flavor. It might work on cakes but on pork? We doubt it. The only sure way to know is to taste it. But clearly, no one’s bringing it up again for a reason.

Meet Salad -2.0

For years, many people have tried numerous ways to make salads a lot more bearable. And while some of them have succeeded, some have created absolute monsters like this one. There is just no way someone would order that anywhere.

image courtesy of businessinsider

We know that salads are not always as tasty as, say, meat dishes or desserts, but this does nothing to solve that. In fact, it makes it even more unappetizing and might just make the whole experience a little traumatic.

Fresh Out Of The Ocean Of Imagination

Props to whoever did this because it must have taken them quite some time and effort to mold like that. Still, we’re not so sure about digging into food that looks kind of traumatized. We might, but someone else has to take the first bite!

image courtesy of Anthony Wisler/ Facebook

The biggest problem here is that we don’t really know what’s in there, and given the tendency of people mixing odd foods back then, it’s really hard to take a guess. Biting into it would be a big risk. Would you do it?