Freaky Food Fads and Far Fetched Fodder

tuna casserole

Photo by undress / CC BY 

I grew up eating a number of questionable things, but the one that sticks out in my brain the most is the tuna casserole my mother the recipe for from a woman’s magazine which shall remain nameless. My mother put it on the dinner table excitedly exclaiming that the dish du jour was fish and chips. This was not the fish and chips we were expecting, but rather tuna casserole topped with crushed potato chips.

To this day I tease her about it and she doesn’t quite understand what all the fuss is about. It was tuna casserole covered in chips. “What’s not to get about that?” she wants to know. I tell her it’s funny. It’s a play on words, and blame it on the magazine, but not for nothin’, it was awful.

It all sort of made me think about some of the weird, sometimes downright unappetizing foods of the past. You know, the ones photographed in stunningly horrid bleak color palettes that did anything but tempt your palate?

Here are a few freaky food fads that make me happy as a clam that trends and photography have come a long way since then.


Photo by x-ray deita one / CC BY 

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this? Me, that’s who.


Photo by classic_film / CC BY

Did I know it was this good? No. No I didn’t. The hamburgers I got at home were hockey pucks cooked to smithereens in a pan on the stovetop, placed on a bun, wrapped in foil and then “finished” in the oven to a crispy crunch. I love the part that says “Nourishing meat”.  I guess ground chuck has its moments of nourishment.

jello salad

Photo by x-ray dieta one / CC BY

If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, chances are one of these beauties adorned your dinner table. Especially during the holidays.  Ah yes, the Jell-O salad! I guess this was Jell-O’s way of making us feel like a packet of colored sugar with added…uh…sugar, could be a nutritious salad. Just add fruit, present it on a bed of lettuce surrounded by tomatoes (??) and voila! You have salad! Something the whole family will enjoy.  (Said no one ever.) In my house, it was usually lime green Jell-O with mandarin oranges…wait for it…served alongside spaghetti. Mm…mm…good! The one pictured above is particularly disturbing. Is it Pimento Salad? It’s got celery and green olives floating in it. Good God, and what are the triangular things? One can only imagine. “Don’t let a week go by without serving one!” And my mother never did.

corned beef hash loaf

Photo by alsis35 / CC BY

How about a nice, tantalizing corned beef hash loaf? Mmm…sounds scrumptious, does it not? Accompanied by vegetables with all the color, flavor and nutrients boiled right out of them, this makes for a meal to remember. (That you’ll spend years trying to block from your memory)

beef wellington

Photo by LP / CC BY

Remember that standard of upper crusty living that was Beef Wellington? I didn’t, until well into my twenties, a friend made one. It’s beef wrapped in pastry dough. And for some reason, I kind of liken it to the Turducken of its time, maybe because it was a food product inside another food product. You could be fancy if you ate this dish.

What weird concoctions do you remember eating growing up?


2 responses on “Freaky Food Fads and Far Fetched Fodder

  1. Alyson Herzig

    Ugh the Jello Salads! How did anyone come up with that? It’s still popular in the Midwest, this breaks my foodie heart every time I see it.

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