Stuff Your Great-Grandparents Ate That Sounds Honestly Disgusting
A culture's cuisine is a significant reflection of its people and policies. Looking at recipes and meals from American history is a great way to gain a better understanding of the corresponding period. But it can also make you start to doubt the sanity of people from the past.
These dishes can be overwhelming in many ways. Luckily, these 'foods' are now in the past — or so we hope.
Chicken-Flavored Scrambled Eggs
What sounds better than eggs mixed with creamed chicken soup? Honestly, lots of things. This scrambled egg dish combines two things that taste great on their own, resulting in something that tastes overwhelmingly like both eggs and creamy chicken broth.
Peach Spam Bake
Spam may indeed contain ham, but one thing is for sure — it doesn't contain peaches. At least, it shouldn't. But at some point in the murky past, advertising executives at Hormel Foods decided that sweetened fruit and canned pork were a match made in heaven, generating one of the most unappealing peach-based recipes in the history of man.
Golden Vegetable Shortcake
In 1948, consumers were only beginning to acquire appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and electric cookers. Pre-packaged, processed foods were seen as a luxury. Shelf-safe cheeses like Velveeta and Kraft were advertised as being the perfect addition to any food item.
During the World Wars, US citizens had to make do with small portions of groceries and food goods. This was known as rationing. One way that families kept themselves fed was by eating all the parts of an animal, making the supply of meat last longer. This recipe for 'spiced tongue' could be an example of rationing.
Plastic didn't begin to reach its true potential until the 1970s, and many processed food items were kept in either fragile glass containers and bottles or aluminum and tin cans. For the most part, if manufacturers could put something into a can and sell it to the public, they did.
Tuna Pizza With Mayonnaise
This advertisement/recipe isn't something that anyone should be thanking anyone else for. Baked tuna and noodles? There are far more disgusting casserole dishes. But tuna pizza? Consisting of unrolled crescent roll dough, tuna fish, mayonnaise, onions, sweet red pepper and American cheese, this creation is confusing, frustrating and entirely unappealing all at once.
Beans and Pickles
Most modern recipes found on blogs tend to start with a narrative relating to the recipe. Older recipes occasionally did the same thing. But things begin fairly rough with this one and quickly spiral into some bizarre extremes. The first sentence compares a 1950s wife to a 'dinner bell.' Oh boy.
There's something so stomach-churningly vile about the idea of 'deviled lettuce.' Iceberg lettuce is a pretty flavorless vegetable, and people have nearly always used spices and sauces to liven it up. But this concoction takes things too far. In total, it contains an entire 8oz. package of cream cheese and nearly half a cup of Miracle Whip.
Moms often use sweet or savory ingredients to cover up vegetables, but there's nothing quite like canned yams and orange slices. The yam, a cousin to the sweet potato, is far more starchy than it is sweet, which is why the recipe for this dish calls for 1/4 of a cup of brown sugar and a ton of tiny marshmallows.
This dish should set off a parade of red flags as soon as you see that it contains 'old shredded cheese.' While each portion of this penny-saving meal costs less than a fast-food hamburger, there's a point at which you should ask yourself if mixing pre-cooked spaghetti, mushroom soup and moldy cheese together is worth the financial benefit.
Gelatin Vegetable Pie
Enjoying a lovely gelatin dessert is common, even today, but creating a gelatin mold with milk, meat, eggs, mayonnaise or canned vegetables is just wrong. Gelatin is notorious for its involvement in some of the most repulsive, stomach-churning recipes from the past.
Turkey Au Gratin Sandwich
America's poor eating habits began around the same time as TV dinners, canned and frozen foods and shelf-stable cheese were released onto the market. These recipes from yesteryear not only make our throats do uncomfortable things, but they also offer a little perspective on the previous few generations.
When a product's tagline is, "It's digestible!", it may be time to question existence and how the human species ever got to the point where they felt that they needed to label food items as 'digestible.' However, when you realize that the tagline belongs to Crisco, a brand of shortening, everything begins to fall into place.
Sweet pickles, vegetable soup and fish. A match made in the bowels of someone's worst nightmare, or the greatest act of vengeance. But for the cooks of 194, these were the ingredients for a suspicious item known only as 'fish loaf.' Perhaps it was meant to resemble meatloaf since they both use chopped onions.
In many ways, this old recipe is the crowning glory of its generation. By then, people had already begun combining soup, beef and cheese in multivarious combinations when this dish hit the public in 1969. What this dish did, however, was put bacon, meat and soup into a bundt pan, bake it and cover it with melted cheese.
Any food that naturally looks like an internal organ is immediately nauseating. This is the case with the 'Lunchbox special Spamwich,' which looks like scrambled brain matter with tiny chopped pickles. Bon Appetit for some, but for others, repugnance.
Tabasco-Infused Chinese Food
When you think of Tabasco sauce, you probably don't immediately think about Chinese food. And yet — hopefully for a brief time — it seems as though the two things were connected via awful recipes. Though the poorly researched dishes don't resemble Chinese meals in any way, shape or form, they're honestly not the worst combination of ingredients.
Hash browns — shredded potatoes fried in a skillet — are a popular breakfast item. Breakfast hash, on the other hand, is a combination of many familiar breakfast ingredients, including eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. One of the great things about breakfast hash is that it can be made with leftover ingredients from the previous morning's meal, saving both money and time.
Seeing these old dishes could convince anyone that members of the older generations were trying to poison one another. Regularly. This Jello salad features a lime base — yum! Unfortunately, that's the beginning and end of anything good to say about this appetizer. Radishes, vinegar, salt and scallions all do their part to turn this strange concoction into an absolute tragedy.
There are many different types of salads, and some are healthier than others. This salad gets its name from the outstanding amount of cheese required to prepare it. While it could be enough to chalk this up to a dairy-fixation, rename it 'cheese salad,' and move on, there are other peculiarities that need sorting out.
Spam isn't the only four-lettered canned pork producer of the past and present. Canada has its own version of Spam, known as Prem. The taste of Prem must have been relatively equivalent to the original taste of Spam because nearly every recipe that includes Prem also contains a massive amount of melted butter.
Ham and Asparagus Sandwich
The late 1960s and 1970s were a time of social experimentation for many, and it seems that the beloved sandwich was not immune to trying new things. It is often said that the only way to become stronger, wiser and better is by making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes.
Mayonnaise and Almonds
In addition to cheese, our recent ancestors had an unrelenting passion for mayonnaise. It is more common to find mayonnaise in a vintage recipe than it is to find nearly any other ingredient, save maybe butter or cheese. This take on chicken pasta is creatively titled 'chicken almondzini,' and its three major components are mayonnaise, milk, pasta and almonds.
Canned Salmon Chinese Food
Canned tuna persists, but thankfully, other forms of canned fish have mostly gone the way of the past. There are tons of ethical quandaries relating to eating canned fish, in addition to health concerns associated with storing raw meats in metal containers.
Canned Shrimp with Rice and Cheese
Canned fish is easy to turn your nose up at, but canned shrimp takes things to a whole new level, especially when that shrimp is added to a plated wreath of steamed white rice and promptly smothered in cheese. How does someone eat something like that? Slice it like a cake — one with gooey yellow cheese sauce and bright-pink canned shrimp?
Canned Ravioli And Peas
Many homebound wives and mothers of the 1950s were encouraged to 'loosen up' and let their new technological gadgets save them time and household work. Because of this, a great portion of the adult female population was finally able to spend time on themselves or with female friends.
Shredded wheat can be a delicious treat when adequately coated in sugar, cinnamon or some other sweetener. Left on its own, it's probably the closest thing anyone could ever experience to eating shredding cardboard. Flavorless and dry, the original shredded wheat product was a difficult thing to love, especially without jam, fruit, sugar or cream.
Margarine isn't a product of this century, but rather the 1800s. It was created to be an alternative to butter, which was beginning to acquire a poor reputation. By the end of the World Wars, American citizens were tired of rationing, and margarine had all but disappeared during wartime.
Unsweetened Corn Flakes
Just as with shredded wheat, the original corn flakes cereal was utterly sugar-free — or at least the manufacturers didn't add any sugar or sweeteners to the corn-based breakfast. While recent increases in health-consciousness have helped to make sugar-free foods more popular, most modern products have some sort of spice or seasoning to make the food tastier.
Although there continues to be some debate as to whether fruitcake is abhorrent or wonderful, the majority of the population tends to agree that fruitcake is low on their list of favorite desserts. Even so, the holiday tradition of gifting someone with a fruitcake lives on.