10 Disgusting Foods Your Grandparents Ate In The ’50s, ’60s, And ’70s

10 Disgusting Foods Your Grandparents Ate In The '50s, '60s And '70s

Growing up, we were all familiar with the picky-eater. And most of us had a phase. You know the routine: imploring all the old tricks, spread your food around the plate, pretend to take bites, give a fake “Mmm… that’s good,” capped off with an “All done, may I be excused?” Yeah, Mom never did fall for it, but it was worth a try.  And for those that were cynical of the choosey eater, we want you to hold that thought because today we are counting down the most disgusting dishes from the past. No, we’re not talking about Brussel sprouts, creamed spinach, or Aunt Fran’s mysterious casserole with raisins. Sorry, Aunt Fran, we’re taking it a step further. 

Today, we’re naming the foods that would even make the most adventurous open-minded diners think twice. From a Glace Fish Mold to a Ham and Bananas Hollandaise, the creators of these dishes must have been outright cruel, or perhaps they were picky eaters making us all feel their pain.  We can’t even imagine trying to stomach some of these now! What’s even more fascinating is that a lot of these dishes are still being made today, either vintage-style or with a modern twist. Whether the dish was for a special occasion or ‘just because,’ we are left with the same question “What were we thinking?!” Do you remember these disgusting foods?


1. Monterey Souffle Salad

grandparents ate
Monterey Souffle Salad / Flickr

Fair warning, the Monterey Souffle Salad looks nothing like a salad. This eye-of-the-dragon looking salad was created in part, by Star-Kist Tuna. They put out ads in 1955 containing this recipe. So check your cabinets now, and see if you can prepare one today. Look for lemon gelatin, tuna, preferably star-kist wink-wink, mayonnaise, and vegetables. 

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And yes I honestly have no idea how any of that goes together. The veggies specified are chopped cucumber or celery, some sliced olives, chopped pimento, and of course grated onion. Because if we cry when we cut onion, just imagine the tears that’ll stream as you grate the little sucker. 

The recipe also suggests Hellmann’s mayo, but personally being from South Carolina, I prefer Dukes. Granted, I have not tried Duke’s in this tuna jello, maybe next year for my birthday. A supporter messaged us saying her family would add a can of undiluted cream of tomato soup to spice it up. Because I for one, needed this tuna jello mold to be MORE interesting.


 To be honest, I have made a dish similar to this, just sans the jello. I’m talking about a Tuna Rice Salad. Brown rice, tuna, celery, lemon, and tomato, simple and cheap dish. However not as exciting as this mold of fun. This jiggly dish was often made in a 1950s casserole dish. So, it could suffice for virtually any occasion. We’re not entirely sure it would’ve made the Top 10 list at any special event though.

2. Peppermint Popcorn Tree

grandparents ate
Peppermint Popcorn Tree / Flickr

Honestly, this one doesn’t sound too bad, but definitely might not be the healthiest.  Similar to the Star-Kist promoted Souffle, this recipe is brought to us by a product. An original ‘60s ad for this sweet treat says “Holiday Candy Favorites made better with Karo (CARE-O) Syrup,” which is basically a sweet corn syrup with added salt and vanilla.

This was probably a hit back in the day during Christmastime, but we’re not sure it would still hold up today against Limited Edition Peppermint Bark Oreos, for example! Yum! This is a vintage recipe that has been adapted for modern convenience.  Most recipes online now abandon the sculpting into a tree, and just have the delicious peppermint popcorn plopped in a bowl. And I for one appreciate the recipe modification. 

The recipe itself is quite simple; popcorn, white chocolate candy coating, and peppermint candy. For a twist, you can substitute dark chocolate for the white, you just won’t get the ‘White Christmas’ snowy effect. 


3. 7-UP Mayonnaise Jello Salad

disgusting foods
7-UP Mayonnaise Jello Salad / One Country

Here at DoYouRemember? we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the many things that go well together. Laverne & Shirley, Bert & Ernie, Milk and Cookies, ya know 7-up & Mayonnaise… Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think mayonnaise, 7-UP, and Jello go together.  The recipe is as basic as it sounds. Mayo, 7-UP soda, diced fruit, marshmallows, cream cheese, and of course, gelatin to make this less-than-appetizing concoction.  

Just look at that texture folks. Can you say, “Yum?”  This ‘salad’ is traditionally served for the holidays and has a tropical flavor due to the pineapple, cherry, and lime flavors. This recipe gained some popularity a few years ago when Ellen highlighted this comedian named Kalen, who gained fame by live-commenting those popular overhead-shot recipe videos. 

Apparently this dish isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It tastes somewhere between a key lime pie and a citrus cheesecake. Why is the mayo even in the recipe? Is it to cut down the sweetness? Is it to gross out my brother Pat who cannot touch the stuff. But we’re gonna leave it in because it’s been in the recipe for almost a century.

4. Glace Fish Mold

disgusting foods grandparents ate
Glace Fish Mold / Flickr

Ever felt the need to take flaked fish, chopped pimento, and throw it in a gelatin mold? Nope, neither did we. Hey, it’s shaped like a fish, that’s pretty cute! Nope, not at all. It definitely makes the list for our Top 10 disgusting foods. 

 Now, this one actually might take the cake, or the jello how this countdown is going, for the most jaw-dropping dish on this list. I mean just look at it. This recipe is basically a Jell-O’d fish that is often completed with ‘olive eyes.’ You start out melting the gelatin with sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Then fold in the fish. Is it a Goldfish? No, fold in the fish- and actually, you can use any type of fish or even shellfish. Along with the flakey seafood, add green pepper, cucumber wedges, onion rings, pimento, and celery. That’s it. Pour it into your fish mold that we all have. served with a bowl of mayonnaise on the side, because why not. Finally, the garnish and the greatest touch.  Place the olives for eyes to give off the appearance of the fish actually being alive. That way, you can meet your jiggly fish before you devour. Ummm… Bon Appétit? Mmm… Maybe not!

5. Perfection Salad

disgusting foods
Perfection Salad / Flickr

Nothing screams perfection like the site of this bad boy. Another ‘salad’ on this list that doesn’t actually look anything like a salad, noticing a trend here. Don’t get your hopes up. This one can be added to the ongoing pattern of foods being made with Jell-O back in the day. 

 Again you would start by melting the gelatin and stirring in the apple & Lemon juices, alone with vinegar and water. Next step is adding all the ‘Perfection’.  Add in the carrot, celery, cabbage, green pepper, and pimento before pouring into a mold. Any type of fish mold or other would do. And you guessed it, serve alongside this perfection, the perfect bowl of miracle whip or mayo to add more excitement. Apparently, it’s a very lemony sweet & sour coleslaw. I’ve also heard of people using shredded apples and lime flavoring to give it a different twist. I also wish I could go back in time like Marty Mcfly, not to bet on sports, but to buy stock in pimientos and mayonnaise, because they were in everything!

Read onto the NEXT page for more DISGUSTING foods your grandparents used to eat…

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