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10 Retro Recipes That Actually Taste Good

Do you love tasting the foods of yesteryear? These retro recipes will have your mouth watering in no time!

By Mackenzie Z. KennedyPublished 5 years ago 5 min read

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

It's the emotion that we get when we find ourselves traveling back in time through the simple taste or smell of something familiar. Maybe it's a recipe that makes you remember visiting your mom, or a perfume your first crush had.

For many people, nothing incites nostalgia like the right food. The foods our parents raised us with can be incredibly nostalgia-inducing for people.

That's part of the reason I personally enjoy the taste of retro recipes like tuna casserole and pistachio-flavored pudding. They give me a window into other peoples' senses of nostalgia, and once in a while, also makes me think of days that are long gone. It's comfort food, you know?

That being said, not all recipes from yesteryear are good. There are plenty of gag-worthy retro foods that people actually ate; but these, however, will make your mouth water—guaranteed.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, making chicken dinners wasn't easy—or cheap. Chicken was pricey, and so were vegetables. So, housewives of the time would have to make do and get a little crafty with canned goods.

In the Midwest and South, few things were as commonly eaten for dinner as Chicken à La King. This recipe used canned mushrooms, peas, and cream of chicken as a delicious, low-cost topping for everyone's favorite dinner meat.

Honestly, it may be low cost, but it definitely tastes like it's fit for a king!

For real, is there anyone who doesn't remember their moms making this? Pineapple upside-down cake was first introduced to America in the 19th century, and carried on as a popular dessert well into the 1990s in certain communities.

This cake is baked with the toppings at the bottom of the pan, and is literally served upside-down. It's kitschy, sure, but we'd be darned if it didn't taste amazing.

Few retro recipes are as drool-worthy as this one. Personally, I enjoy this cake with coconut cream topping since it gives it that tasty tiki bar touch!

This is another one of those retro recipes that didn't really ever totally go out of style. Though it's no longer as popular a dish as it once was, Deviled Eggs are still very welcome at parties and brunches around the country.

If you're looking for an Atkins-friendly recipe that still manages to pack in a ton of flavor, you will definitely find a friend in Deviled Eggs. Adding a pinch of paprika on top of plain mustard-mayo-yolk Deviled Eggs is a great way to stay true to its retro roots, but I'm sure there are a number of variations in the best retro cookbooks you can still buy.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, ambrosia has become somewhat hated in mainstream culture. This is a crying shame, in my opinion, since it's one of the healthiest fruit-packed desserts you can make.

This salad features a wealth of different fruits, all smothered in sour cream (or Kool-Whip, if you prefer). Top it with some shredded coconut and sugar, and you've got yourself a fluffy, sugary, tasty treat that also packs in a nice, Vitamin C punch.

Seriously, what's not to love?

This is one of those retro recipes that faded out of favor because it's so darned tricky to make. However, for all the difficulty that this recipe has, it's absolutely, positively one of the best tasting desserts you have yet to try!

In plain terms, this is sponge cake, topped with ice cream, then covered in baked meringue. How do you keep this cake chilled and hot at the same time? That's the challenge.

Baked Alaska was very popular in the 1960s, and was often considered to be the mark of a good cook. Give it a whirl, and you'll understand why it was such a popular treat back in the day.

Note: You do not have to dig up dirt in Alaska to enjoy this dessert.

Canapes were a staple of just about every dinner party in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. They were small crackers or stale bread slices, topped with a variety of different fixings like hummus, cream cheese, cucumbers, and salmon.

Anyone who wants to have finger foods available at their next dinner party or swanky shindig needs to give canapes a try. This video recipe for crab and cucumber canapes is a great start—but you can always make your own unique twist!

Beef Wellington is one of those retro recipes that's often mentioned in television and old movies, but very rarely enjoyed by modern diners. Like Baked Alaska, the reason why Beef Wellington fell out of favor dealt with its tricky preparation.

This meal is a serious treat that's both savory and crunchy. To make Beef Wellington, you will need to cover a slice of beef with pate, then put the meaty mess into puff pastry. Then, you'll need to bake it.

If you're willing to put in the effort, then Beef Wellington will be a treat that you'll never forget. Perhaps that's why this old school family favorite is so frequently mentioned on TV.

Back in the 1950s, just about everything was made with Jello. Jello came in every flavor, every shape, and every meal of the day. I'm personally not a fan of jello meals, but when it comes to dessert? Bring it on!

This old school Lime Jello Dessert is about as retro as it gets. Give it a taste, and you'll understand why so many people still enjoy it—even if it doesn't look all that appetizing.

Back in the 80s, people were going a little chip crazy. They loved trying chips with all sorts of dips—cheese dip, crab dip, that weird solid sour cream and onion dip... You get the point.

This French onion soup dip uses packets of powdered French onion soup to impart a rich, spicy, and tangy flavor to your chips. It was a hit back then, and it is definitely a retro dish that are due for a comeback more than many other retro recipes do.

Yes, this is still occasionally presented on menus in small country restaurants, but it's not anything close to how popular it was in the 80s. This crispy, melty, creamy, and savory pie was just about everywhere—much to dietitians' chagrin.

This Chicken Pot Pie recipe will melt in your mouth, and bring you back to the days of big hair and bigger attitudes. You will love every second of it, as well as all these other retro recipes. I promise.


About the Creator

Mackenzie Z. Kennedy

Socialite and dating guru Mackenzie Kennedy knows all about the inner workings of people and society as a whole. It's not only her lifestyle - it's her passion. She lives in Hoboken with her pet dogs, Cassie and Callie.

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