Can we interest you in a peach Spam bake? No? Well, what about some lime cheese salad or perhaps a cold slice of mayonnaise Jello? Sounds made up, doesn’t it? Well, these recipes are 100% real, and believe it or not (though how could you not?) these mid-century recipes have a pretty fascinating history. Let’s take a look.
There were a number of recurring themes in vintage foods such as clear gelatin coating a number of processed foods, the use of bright colors, and strange food combinations; or at least what seems strange to us now.
One of the main factors contributing to this strange food phenomenon was the industrialization of food, meaning food was being made very differently, and yes, we’re talking about processed foods. So how do we get from food industrialization to unearthly recipes? The answer to that is quite simple; contrary to popular belief, these recipes were not coming to fruition by way of our grandmother’s, but by way of advertisers and writers. Recipes and their individual ingredients were being marketed as “modern, eye-catching, colorful, and exotic”. These recipes were also meant to be easier and less time-consuming for the modern housewife.
Mid-century recipes were also interesting in the sense that they often called for “exotic” foods of the time such as bananas or lemons. They were also considered to be economical often calling for foods that were cheap to purchase such as weiners or foods that were more than likely sitting in the fridge as leftovers, like ham. Another classic trait of these recipes was that they also typically called for at least one component that was considered “fancy” such as a particular sauce or cheese.
Advertisers were also notorious for marketing their foods together creating some, uhm, unique combinations.
And the last contributing factor to the gross recipes fad? Advertisers aimed to appeal to the mid-century eye by using colors that were popular at the time such as pink, yellow and green. Here are a few more of our favorite, most disgusting mid-century dishes!