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Baby Boomers RETRO Dinner Party

I'm looking for a few really good--not just overly obvious--courses to serve for a 60/70's slightly upscale Retro dinner (comfort food) party. I was thinking very upscale mac n'cheese; lamb chops; interesting squash or pea side dish. 1st course could include: clam chowder; or split pea soap; and mixed garden salad or cantelope. Desserta; Tapioca pudding; or bread pudding; or make your own sundaes (something like that). I thought I'd serve Gin & Tonics (or vodka tonics), and slow gin fizzes. The apps. could include: sardines on crackers, interesting dips, and maybe shrimp cocktail, or oysters. Oh yea and POPOVERS! Remeber those? Any takers? I'd love your ideasl

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  1. A bit more 50s-60s: Celerey and carrot sticks with the G&Ts; tomato soup or green salad w/tomato wedges, and bottled dressing; pork chops, frozen peas and carrots, mash (don't forget the parsley sprig); chiffon cake; Drambui. Carlo Rossi red jug wine w/ dinner.

    1. See if you library has copies od Jane and Michael Stern's American Gourmet and their A Taste of America. It will get you going in the right direction and focus a bit better.

      Onion soup to start or Vichyssoise
      Meat loaf Wellington
      Pan roasted Potatoes
      Brown and Serve rols
      Caesar Salad made with the coddled egg
      Baked Alaska or a Bombe

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Candy, this menu really brings me (way)back! I love the idea of Vichyssoise to start, pan roasted potatoes, Brown & Serve rolls (I S0 remember my mother serving these), Ceasar Salad, and maybe Baked Alaska. I have to find a recipe for Meat Loaf Wellington to decide to make it. Thanks so much for these great suggestions! Robbie 7ll

        1. re: Candy

          I second this recommendation--American Gourmet is one of my favorite cookbooks. No one loves "camp" cooking like the Sterns; the book is witty (e.g. a recipe for "A man's tartar balls"), instructive (they trace the rise of "gourmet" from the inception of Gourmet magazine through Julie Child (don't forget the impact SHE had on cooking in the sixties and seventies!) to "Gourmania"--aka back-of-the-box cooking. And the recipes work!

          1. re: LenaNE

            How could I forget Fondue??? Great idea, but now I have too many germ-phobes in my life to pull it off. I will think about it, though. Thanks!

            1. re: Robbie711

              The proper way to eat fondue is to use your fondue fork for swirling, and then push the morsel onto your plate and eat it with your own fork. For hygienic reasons, the fondue fork never goes into your mouth.

          2. When I was a kid, a couple my parents knew threw a Day After Christmas party every year and always served a crab bisque made of condensed split pea soup, condensed tomato soup, crab meat and sherry. Everyone thought it was so sophisticated. Can you imagine? To me, that's about as 60s/early 70s retro as you can get.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Glencora

              That was called Mongol soup. Another good source for some retro recipes is Sauce Pans and The Single Girl, reissued last summer. I still have my 1965 edition and the sequel How To Keep (After You Caught) Him ca 1968. They are full of the stuff that was going on then and was 'In".

              1. re: Candy

                When I was a kid in Pittsburgh in the '50s, my grandfather told me he had invented "Puree of Mongol"!

                1. re: The Librarian

                  Mongol soup is the dish that gives an entire engagement party food poisoning in Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone--her mother doesn't have enough space in her fridge, so she leaves the crab (purchased in bulk at bargain prices) out on the counter for a day or so. Not a problem with the dish per se, of course, but I was tickled to see it here!

            2. harvey wallbangers
              pigs in a blanket
              stuffed mushroom caps
              stuffed cherry tomatoes
              swedish meatballs
              scallops wrapped in bacon
              iceberg lettuce, cukes and tomatoes with either 1000 island or green goddess dressing
              cheddar cheese on ritz crackers
              roasted ham with pineapple slices cloves and maraschino cherries
              chocolate mousse
              banana pudding pie
              watermelon carved into a "basket" filled with melon balls

              9 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I especially agree with swedish meatballs. But what is a harvey wallbanger? It sounds painful.

                1. re: Glencora

                  lol, it's vodka, galliano and orange juice. my mom actually used to make a "harvey
                  wallbanger cake" which was delicious.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    A variation on that was the bacardi rum cake.

                    This is so funny. I stopped by a restaurant today .. the Beli Deli ... started in the 70's that time never touched. I was just thinking ... I'm surprised someone hasn't opened a retro 70's restaurant yet. One sandwich was called 'bodacious meatloaf' ... when's the last time you heard bodacious?

                    Anyway don't forget the sprouts if you serve salad ... maybe a lttle Green Goddess dressing on that iceberg.

                    Yes on shrimp cocktail. No on sardines and crackers.

                    Other good drinks ... black Russian, Tequila Sunrise

                    1. re: rworange

                      not to t/j... but we had a 70's restaurant in the Chicago 'burbs called Flourchild's...very retro with 70's record album covers everywhere (it was embarrassing how many of them we actually have in our record collection). They went out of business pretty quickly.

                    2. re: hotoynoodle

                      Brings back memories. We drank Harvey Wallbangers out of a boda bag during the speeches at my college graduation. I don't think I've had one since.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        I used to make Harvey Wallbanger cake too, I liked it better than the drink (I think I actually have a partial bottle of Galliano in my liquor cabinet, maybe I should make one for my husband's big birthday coming up!)

                    3. re: hotoynoodle

                      I'm going to include pigs in a blanket and stuffed muchroom caps, and sweedish meatballs for appetizers, and think about the other items. BTW, what do you stuff your mushrooms with? TIA

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        This is a great menu to work with--appriciate your considered input! The stuffed mushroom caps and cherrys, and sweedish meatballs &/or the scallops really bring me back--perfect ideas (and,chocolate mousse is a must!) Thanks very much! Robbie

                        1. re: Robbie711

                          How about the little cheesecakes in individual cupcake holders, with a Nilla wafer on the bottom and canned cherry pie filling on top. Easy, delicious and they look good too.