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Food from the 70's!

I am hosting a 70's disco for an association i am involved with. we want everything to reflect the 70's. Please help me with the buffet menu. What food was hip in the 70's? We've covered the chocolate fountain; but other than that, we need assistance.

Deviled Eggs? TV Dinners - or was that the 50's?

We want it to be creative and upscale, but fun!

I appreciate your help!

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  1. Tuna Casarole. I think my mom made it once a week from 1970 through 1979.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mattesq

      you know, i bet we could do a very upscale version of a couple of casseroles. what other casseroles were popular in the 70's?

      1. re: burntcream

        I'd say fondue took off in the mid- to late-60s.

        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          Fondue was still going strong at least in the early 70s. All those fondue sets given as wedding presents in the 60s weren't yet ready for the trash heap.

          Hummus & co. went mainstream in the 70s. So did health food.

          1. re: mbfant

            I was married in 1977 and I got a fondue set at my shower then.

            1. re: coll

              I wonder if your set was new then, or perhaps re-gifted a number of times until you received it.

              1. re: Tripeler

                I did get a few regifts, didn't think this was but who knows. I did use it a lot at the time though, it wasn't out of fashion.

                One crystal bowl I got still had the name tag of the original receipient and giver inside the box ;-)

              2. re: coll

                I'll see your fondue pot and raise you, Coll. I got 2 when we were married in 78 (and still have both). So, yes, definitely still in fashion in the 70s

                1. re: masha

                  That's what I thought, I do remember using mine quite a bit until we moved in the early 1990s and I gave it to a neighbor.

                  1. re: masha

                    Believe it or not, the kids on my dead end street are often out in the street playing when I'm going to bed in the summer. I feel like such an old fart!

                    1. re: masha

                      Darn, we were married in 1987 and I actually had to go out and BUY a fondue pot a few years back.

            2. Green Goddess Salad Dressing on iceburg or romaine lettuce
              Surf and Turf (and it was usually steak and lobster
              Potato Skins
              Deep Fried Mushrooms and Zucchini
              Anadama Bread on the table with butter
              Dessert was Mud Pie?
              Stuart Anderson's Black Angus and Charlie Browns in the Bay Area were seriously busy in the 70s. Remember all that dark wood with open beam ceilings?

              24 Replies
              1. re: chef chicklet

                I remember going to Black Angus when I was a kid thought it was soooo chi chi!
                Hippies were huge, my Dad was a big ol' hippie and I remember pita bread, sprouts, tomato and avacado sandwiches.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  also Sangria, I think that is when I first heard of Sangria being a cool party drink...

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Annie Greenspring wine. In the unlikely event it's still made. Lancer's and Mateus as well.

                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        Hey why not go for the laughs and get a case of Boones Farm? My Mom actually used to like those. Cold Duck was her other fave.

                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                            I was just about drinking age myself, but the bottles were too small to take an unnoticed swig!

                          2. re: coll

                            Never any of that in casa lagatta...

                            1. re: lagatta

                              I think my Mom was the first person in the US to discover Kahlua too, she liked to let her hair down when the occasion called for it! Good old Mom, she's 83 now and still going strong.

                              Yeah, let's put Kahlua on the list too.

                              1. re: coll

                                Oh, I don't mean any absence of wine! Just a horror of that sweet stuff.

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  Kahlua is the epitome of sweet, Mom does have somewhat of a sweet tooth though.

                              2. re: lagatta

                                I'd absolutely love to know if Bill Hunt actually ever tried any of those wines, including the horrendous Zellar Schwartz Katz and whatever that gross wine of the same brand that made the leibfraumilch in the pottery bottles.

                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    But they were only a dollar! We went through a lot of those in high school.

                              1. re: laliz

                                "get juiced on Mateus and just hang loose..."

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  At the very least, you should have a few Meteus bottle candle stick holders with lots of wax dripping down the sides.

                              2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                What? No Bali Hai, Ripple or Boone's Farm? And the notorious gallon jug of Gallo "Hearty Burgundy" post-production red grape fermentation swill had us all blow groceries during at least one frat party....maybe more.

                                1. re: Chefpaulo

                                  Wait, Hearty Burgandy was my Italian MILs house wine. For the time, it was pretty much as good as it got.

                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                    Had them all. No regrets, but never again.

                              3. re: chef chicklet

                                Exactly, chicklet...teriyaki sirloin, baker with everything (sour cream, chives, bacon etc), salad with bleu cheese (no ranch!), some kind of bread and butter. Fried appetizers.

                                1. re: tobycat

                                  oh yeah, the baked potato, loaded, they would come around with a doggone cart full if stuff to put on the baked potato! some places had this huge lazy susan that would spin on the table!
                                  And Prime Rib was the cut I always wanted it's all coming back!
                                  That would be hysterical to do a cart full of baked potato toppings~
                                  Palazzo pants with Bare Traps or Colored Jeans with Candies for the gals, and Angel Flights with a matching vest for the guys!

                              4. stuffed mushrooms. Perhaps Swedish meatballs? Spinach salad?

                                Early healthfood or vegetarian food. A lot of it is stodge you wouldn't want at your party (brown rice casseroles...) but you might find some edibles in the New York Times Natural foods cookbook, and of course, in Anna Thomas's early books - always tasty food but her early books were full of very rich recipes. Find an old copy of The Vegetarian Epicure.

                                Hash brownies and biscuits, though I doubt it is that kind of party...

                                Galloping gourmet - late 1960s to 70s...

                                I never saw a chocolate fountain in the 1970s - guess it depends on your milieu. (We weren't disco types).

                                Devilled eggs and especially TV dinners are 1950s food, though of course they were still around.

                                From a UK site. The trout with almonds actually looks very tasty: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wine/main....

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lagatta

                                  I also don't remember seeing/hearing of chocolate fountains until the 90s.

                                2. Guacamole was big, and with veggie dippers and tortilla chips. Pasta with pesto was getting discovered.

                                    1. Some typical '70s dishes are:
                                      Broiled pineapple appetizers, guacamole, meatball dip, mini kabobs, pineapple cheeseball, pineapple yaki tori, stuffed celery.
                                      Eggs & cheese
                                      Basic cheese souffle, corn souffle, maracroni & cheese, quiche Lorraine, Spanish omelet, tuna cheese omelet, tuna quiche.
                                      Meats, poultry & fish
                                      Beef goulash, celebration ham loaf, chili dogs, Creole pork chops, crown roast of pork, eggplant casserole, enchilada casserole, hamburger-corn pie, islander spareribs, meatloaf Wellington, veal parmigiana, cherry chicken supreme, chicken cacciatore, Hawaiian chicken, peachy oven fried chicken, sesame chicken, lemony salmon crepes, salmon loaf, shrimp Creole, sweet sour shrimp, Tuna chow mein.
                                      Cherries jubilee, pineapple ambrosia, pumpkin parfait, applesauce cake, pineapple upside-down cake, lemon sunshine cake, tomato spice cake-cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake-lemon cream frosting, key lime pie, prune bavarian pie, pumpkin pie, harlequin bars, pineapple oatmeal cookies.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Gio

                                        And carrot cake...

                                        Quiche - including crab quiche, which would be a bit more upscale

                                        1. Funny you should ask that! I have a 70's nostalgia web page, and people kept emailing me and asking for suggestions for their 70's theme parties. I finally collected a bunch of ideas for food, decorations, entertainment, etc. and put them on a 70's party page. Take a look at http://www.casagordita.com/70sparty.htm . And if you come up with anything new and cool, please let me know so I can add it!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: MsMaryMc

                                            That is a really cool site, dude.

                                            It reminds us that there were many 1970s. Mine was a more Gallic version of the hippie alternative version - we HATED disco people.

                                            Indeed there were some truly dreadful things made with overcooked lentils and brown rice, but the Anna Thomas cookbooks remain very tasty vegetarian food...

                                          2. Fondue, for sure.
                                            Anything flambeed (crepes suzette, steak veronique, etc etc)
                                            Caramelised oranges in syrup

                                            Sadly, I don't see those working too well in a buffet-type setting. :(

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: tartiflette

                                              I think of flambée things as even earlier - more 1960s. Guess it depends on where you live. I first had tartiflette in the 1970s, but that was here in Montréal, and in France.

                                              Fondue stayed in style for a long time. I remember Chinese fondue taking over from Bourgignonne, because it is rather lighter.

                                            2. No one has mentioned string beans almondine! You know, the ones baked with cream of mushroom soup, popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Anything from the Moosewood Cookbook, esp. the mushroom pate and strudels.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: pitterpatter

                                                Quiche Lorraine and Waldorf Salad.

                                                1. re: pitterpatter

                                                  pitter, I think you're referring to good ol' Green Bean Casserole.

                                                2. I have no idea what desserts they had in the 70's and I am having a dinner party! Answer soon!

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: 90306400

                                                    Grasshopper Pie, Black Russian Cake. Anything with booze! Recipes all over the internet.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Love Grasshopper Pie. And Grasshopper Cocktails.

                                                      Also, layered parfaits involving jello.

                                                      Baked Alaska.

                                                      Party food of the 70s slideshow:


                                                        1. re: 90306400

                                                          I remember a time (mid 70’s) when Jolly Rancher watermelon and green apple sticks were all the rage at my school. There are several JR watermelon drink recipes online and Amazon sells the jello http://www.amazon.com/Jolly-Rancher-W...

                                                          1. Get that Anna Thomas cookbook and make that cold lemon soufflé with blueberry compote. It's a '70's dessert that is STILL killer. I make it often and always
                                                            get raves.

                                                            1. Tang and Space Food Sticks.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: 4X4

                                                                Those were popular in the 60s during the "space race."

                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                  I was born in 1970 and they were popular when I was a kid.

                                                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                  Quiche and zucchini bread, Mom's fancy luncheon menu.

                                                                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                    That changed in the 80s, when it was decided that real men don't eat quiche. :)

                                                                    1. re: 4X4

                                                                      And funnily enough, my husband (who is a man's man) fell in love with quiche around that time. Must of been the bacon ;-)

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        Adding on to say, he first fell in love with quiche at the exact same time that the article in Playboy about real men vs quiche debate was published. To his great amusement! His Mom kept him up to date on his subscripton, she was pretty cool. I know it was a book but I remember the Playboy article jumpstarting the saying.

                                                                      2. re: 4X4

                                                                        Whoever decided that had obviously never been to Lorraine, a land of miners and steelworkers on the French-German border. Which meant lots of troops stationed there as well.

                                                                    2. Anyone have the cookbook "Alice's Restaurant"?

                                                                      I bet there are tons of 70s recipes in there - wish I had the book - collectible now & too pricey for me.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cstout

                                                                        What a fantastic idea!! Yep, she was on the leading edge of food that WASN'T packaged or otherwise adulterated. Believe it or not, I found my copy at a library rummage sale, in perfect condition. It was "too old," and "not right for our readership," (hah!) so.....bah bah, suckers!! (If anyone's interested, the author's name is Alice May Brock.)

                                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                                            Until I was at least 30, I was making Alice's Restaurant chicken. Browned in a skillet, then braised in (canned, frozen) orange juice, then served, sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds. Probably not the worst thing I ever ate.

                                                                          2. Ranch dressing with/on anything. Layered 24-hr. salad. Anything with green (hippie,spinach) noodles. Caesar salad was hot again. Varietal lettuces were just coming onto the scene. Make cocktails with Boone's farm "wine." Tequila was new and fashionable; margaritas anyone? even a Mexican seven layer dip would fit in just fine.

                                                                            1. There was a restaurant chain called "The Magic Pan" that served every kind of crepe. Being the 70s, as I recall my favorite involved spinach. I loved that chain.

                                                                              Garlic bread

                                                                              Beef Stroganoff and Coq au Vin

                                                                              Carrot Cake

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                Crepes, yes. My MIL got me an electric crepe pan when we first were married but I mostly just use it for Italian recipes....however, the possibilities are endless.

                                                                                1. re: EM23

                                                                                  Rice-A-Roni. The San Francisco treat. And there was only 1 flavor that I remember. Chicken.

                                                                                    1. re: EM23

                                                                                      I remember going to a friend's house for dinner and her Mom made HH Potato Stroganoff with frozen peas added. My 4th grade self thought it the height of sophistication--we NEVER had anything like that at home!

                                                                                      1. re: Jeri L

                                                                                        Isn't it funny how times change? I had my first HH run in when I was in 4th grade too, but it was in the 90s. My friend's mom served the "classic" HH flavor at a sleepover. I took one look at it and made up some excuse to call my mom to come get me. On the ride home, I said "She cooked up some sort of gloppy thing with noodles and meat in it. From a box." My mom thought I was being ridiculous.

                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                          My mom was a great home cook. We are Italian American so she was well versed in all the usual things: long cooked gravy, meatballs, lasagna, baked ziti, zeppole, sfinge, anisette cookies, etc., etc. all made from scratch. She could also whip up all the "American" staples as well from scratch: pot roast, roast beef, steaks, chops, hamburgers, etc. plus, other ethnic foods that were popular in the 60s and 70s when I was a kid. But, she was not beyond Hamburger Helper, Campbell's soups as an ingredient, Spam, Betty Crocker cake mix and many other things people here on CH disparage and shudder at. I think her balance between a lot of from-scratch cooking and baking along with boxed mixes, etc. makes me the eater I am today. I can dine at a "4 star" NYT-rated restaurant tonight for dinner and have Taco Bell for lunch tomorrow. It's all good with me!

                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                            My mom was the same way, but Greek American. She *only* used Betty Crocker cake mix, and often used refrigerated store-bought cookie dough, salad dressing mixes, and canned soup for lunch... but we never had boxed dinners. It wasn't a matter of it not being "good enough," but rather I just was never exposed to them so they freaked me out. I thought the meat came in the box too, and even at 8 or 9 years old, the idea of shelf-stable ground beef terrified me.

                                                                                            Mom's meatloaf, lamb chops, pot roast, and cranberry chicken were favorites of mine, but I was always secretly excited when she was too tired to cook and we had frozen fish sticks and peas/carrots/corn with ketchup for dinner.

                                                                                    2. ♦ Jiffy Pop
                                                                                      ♦ Doritos
                                                                                      ♦ Pringles
                                                                                      ♦ Soft Drinks: Hi-C, Tab (is that now extinct?), Mountain Dew (you have to do at least one Mountain Dew cocktail), Strawberry Milk Powder
                                                                                      ♦ Rumaki
                                                                                      ♦ Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper
                                                                                      ♦ Campbell's Chunky Soups
                                                                                      ♦ Cantaloupe wrapped in thinly sliced ham
                                                                                      ♦ Tacos with those very rigid factory-made taco shells
                                                                                      ♦ Manwiches/Sloppy Joes
                                                                                      ♦ Anything from the LaChoy cookbbok (chicken w.pineapple)
                                                                                      ♦ Anything from the Moosewood Cookbook
                                                                                      ♦ Sandwiches in pita pockets with sprouts
                                                                                      ♦ Hummus
                                                                                      ♦ French Bread Pizza
                                                                                      ♦ Pudding-in-the-mix cake
                                                                                      ♦ Candy: Chunky candy bar cubes, Kit-Kats, Reese's Pieces, Skittles, Pop Rocks
                                                                                      ♦ White Wine Spritzers

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: ninrn

                                                                                        Don't forget Screaming Yellow Zonkers

                                                                                      2. McDonald's (and other fast food) fries cooked in beef fat.

                                                                                        1. Ellio's frozen pizza
                                                                                          Chef Boyardee products (Spaghettio's and Ravioli)
                                                                                          Beefsteak Charlie's

                                                                                            1. re: AdamD

                                                                                              Anything Tiki. Rumaki, little ribs, eggrolls, Mai Tais and Hurricanes, etc.

                                                                                            2. Chex mix (though it was invented in the 50's I remember it at parties in the 70's)

                                                                                              Screaming Yellow Zonkers


                                                                                              Shake and Bake (you could use your own, more refined mix)

                                                                                              Swedish meatballs

                                                                                              Rice a Roni (again, you can use your own recipe and make this more upscale)


                                                                                              Tequila Sunrise

                                                                                                1. Quiche, spaghetti bolognese, cheesecake, kedgeree, cheddar and canned pineapple on sticks,

                                                                                                  1. The "tea bread" thing was in full swing. Not just banana and pumpkin bread, but all sorts of other similar breads. You served slices with butter and/or cream cheese.

                                                                                                    Hummingbird, or Doktor Bird cake.

                                                                                                    Harvey Wallbanger cake

                                                                                                    All sorts of Bundt cakes.

                                                                                                    Pizza became huge in the 1970s. We had different toppings, but not the enormous variety we encounter today. Pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, mushroom, etc.

                                                                                                    I think the ubiquitous green bean casserole became so in the 1970s.

                                                                                                    And yogurt became important then, if memory serves. I started cooking with yogurt in the seventies, but it had been around already for a few years.


                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                      The Green Bean Casserole appeared in the 1950s, I think of it more as a 1950s or '60s thing...... although it does refuse to die!

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        I first encountered it in the late '60s. Only in the '70s did I see it everywhere. I suppose experiences differ.

                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                          Possibly a regional thing? I think I stopped seeing much of it in the '70s myself. Then again, my Mom (who was Campbells biggest customer back in those days) never made it for us, so I'm just going on my friend's homes.

                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                            We never had it at our house, though my mother was not beyond whipping up other canned soup creations. I first encountered it in the late 80s at a friend's house.

                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                              The first time I ever made it (modified, of course!) was maybe 5 or 10 years ago, after reading the rave reviews here. My BIL, who had never even heard of it, fell in love and now I have to make it every Thanksgiving, just for him. But that's my own personal timeline.

                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                  Not too crazy. I use the Trader Joe frozen hericot vert, which is the main difference. Then lots of extra sautéed mushrooms, both fresh and dried, soaked in sherry, with the addition of shallots to the fry pan. For added flavor, worcestshire or soy sauce, and lots of black pepper. I think that's it. If you want to get really fancy, add some sliced almonds.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                      Yes I do, don't want to make it unrecognizable!

                                                                                                      2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                        The green bean-mushroom soup-fried onion squiggles was compliments of Campbell's R&D chef, Dorcas Reilly. In 1955, Campbell's was burdened with a warehouse backlog of mushroom soup and put out the call to R&D to "think of something." Dorcas came up with the casserole that was conveniently advertised weeks before Thanksgiving of that year and still served (and reviled) to this day.

                                                                                                        In a fit of nostalgic experimentation, I actually made this in the past year using all fresh ingredients. I had leftover homemade cream of Porcini soup, fried and drained sliced shallots until crispy and steamed a pound of trimmed fresh haricots. Assembled and baked as I recall, it still sucked.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                          I never ate this growing up in the fifties and sixties. About 1965 or 1966 I did eat a version that I loved, and very nice Southern lady told me how she made it. I did try to duplicate it after I was married, but I had trouble justifying those canned fried onions. Later I stopped all cooking with soup, except for King Ranch. (A long story.) I was married in 1970, so since I remember (sort of) eating this during that decade, I think it must have been popular then, even if it was invented in the 1950s. I do agree that most people associate it with the 1950s.

                                                                                                          1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                            I've made it too, and I love it. I will continue to serve it. Two years ago at thanksgiving I made the best one ever, but the only thing anybody remembers is that the onions on top caught fire while I was trying to crisp them up in the broiler.

                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                              My garlic bread did the same thing last Christmas, it looked like Baked Alasaka when it came out! All I could do was laugh.

                                                                                                        2. Drinks: Golden Cadillac, Tequila Sunrise, Black Russian, White Russian, and Long Island Ice Tea.

                                                                                                          Foods: Savory crepes filled with beef bourgignone, chicken bechamel filling (like chicken pot pie filling), or creamed (and cheesy) spinach. Dessert crepes filled with macerated strawberries and topped with whipped cream, flaming crepes suzette, chocolate mouse or "Whip 'n Chill".

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                            All great ideas. One could also approximate Jello 1-2-3 with a much fancier version.

                                                                                                          2. TV Dinners were never fashionable. Unless you were poor. When I was a $100 a week intern in 1969, I ate them every night. Swanson's, Salisbury steak or roast turkey. 49 cents each at Safeway.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: emu48

                                                                                                              Saturday nights were TV dinner nights. I LOVED it! Swanson's roast turkey, play some Parcheesi and then watch Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. Good times. This was the winter routine. I'm sure I probably wolfed down a TV dinner on Saturdays when it was nice out, but then I got back out and played team hide and seek or kickball until it was too dark to see.

                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                I remember that so well, too dark to see.

                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                  Yes! Do kids even experience this any more? I hope so.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                    On my dead end block they do, not every night but sometimes they're still out there when I'm going to bed in the summer, I feel like such an old fart ;-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                      You know you're an old fart when you start yelling at them to get off of your lawn.

                                                                                                                    2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                      But they can no longer come in and make a glass of Fizzies in time to catch "Leave It To Beaver" on the B/W Magnavox. *sigh*

                                                                                                                2. re: emu48

                                                                                                                  We were not poor, but we had TV dinners. For us they were a novelty, to be eaten while watching TV! It had nothing at all to do with financial status.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                    Us too, on the rare nights mom and dad would go on a real date sans children... It was a nanny and TV dinners. The best part being we actually got to eat in front of the TV, which was a big no-no usually.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                      I was a seriously picky eater as a kid, and my mother finally got tired of the epic battles between me and my "You WILL eat what your mother puts on your plate!!" dad. She finally started feeding us separately, and since I was as happy with a Banquet fried chicken TV dinner as with anything, that was in regular rotation at our house.

                                                                                                                  2. Fondue. Anything Tiki. Porcupine meatballs. Layered sandwich loaf. Banana bread and cream cheese sandwiches. Grasshoppers and Pink Ladies. Surf and Turf. Twice-baked potatoes. Dilly Bread. Tuna melts or creamed tuna on toast. SOS. Meatloaf. Beef Stroganoff. Canned mushrooms. Shrimp cocktail.