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Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

thedragonlady Oct 5, 2009 03:48 PM

I'm helping to plan a friend's Birthday party and we're having it themed around the types of party foods we grew up with at our own parent's dinner parties. Fondue, meatballs in ketchup and grape jelly, vienna sausages, pigs in a blanket, jello-molds and deviled eggs are the only things that come to mind right now. I'm drawing a blank and I refuse to make rumaki. Keep in mind we'll have a couple of vegetarian friends and I'd like for them to eat more than Chex-mix and french onion dip. Any suggestions would be great!

  1. Antilope Oct 5, 2009 03:52 PM

    Waikiki Meatballs from the 1970's Betty Crocker Recipe Cards set

    Some other ideas:

    -Monkey bread
    -Sherbet - 7-up punch
    -Jell-O pudding pops
    -Boboli Pizza
    -Ranch dressing veggie platter
    -Party cheese ball
    -Baked potato bar/buffet
    -Flavored popcorn
    -Gummi Bears, Gummi Worms, Pop Rocks, Jelly Belly's, Starburst candies, etc. etc.

    1. v
      Val Oct 5, 2009 04:25 PM

      ooh ooh! I know...how about the English muffins with crab & Old English cheese? I believe you can freeze them in quarters and then bake or broil just before serving...might suit the vegetarians? (but not if they are vegans, certainly!)

      5 Replies
      1. re: Val
        Siobhan Oct 5, 2009 08:15 PM

        I have the "official" recipe if anyone would enjoy it...

        1. re: Siobhan
          ChrisKC Oct 6, 2009 10:48 AM

          I'd like to see that, I've seen them mentioned many times but have not personally had them. They sound good

          1. re: ChrisKC
            phyllisw Oct 7, 2009 10:16 AM

            Crabbies! Yes, I love these. We have them every year as part of our family's all-appetizers-and-desserts Christmas party. My aunt can barely get out of the kitchen with a full tray!

        2. re: Val
          pikawicca Oct 8, 2009 04:55 PM

          Heads up, Val, vegetarians don't eat crab.

          1. re: pikawicca
            Val Oct 8, 2009 05:18 PM

            THENK YEW...LOL...there are "vegetarians" I've met who tell me they eat seafood...I'm JUST going by experience...like I said...to ME, if you say you are a vegetarian, then you don't eat flesh of any creature...but these folks seem to have a diff definition of the word. "know your guests" is all I can say...if they say they are veggies but they eat fish, what-the-hell...just serve what they'll eat, right? I'm not about to get into a 'word war" with anyone.

        3. LaLa Oct 5, 2009 05:55 PM

          cocktail weiners in bar b que sauce
          sausage balls

          2 Replies
          1. re: LaLa
            foodsnob14 Oct 5, 2009 06:00 PM

            My mother used to make this in the early 80's and as gross as it sounds it's actually really tasty. Brown 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 bob evans sausage crumbled, drain fat.
            melt a stick of velveeta in and serve on light;y toasted mini bagels.

            Wing dings which are baked wings with shake and bake

            1. re: foodsnob14
              cookieluvntasha Oct 7, 2009 10:23 AM

              OMG Shake n bake!!! Oh the memories!

          2. nofunlatte Oct 5, 2009 06:02 PM

            Watergate salad (70s)
            Nachos became mega popular in the 80s--easy to vegetarianize

            Serve with Harvey Wallbangers (70s) or Wine Coolers (80s)

            7 Replies
            1. re: nofunlatte
              LaLa Oct 5, 2009 06:04 PM

              My grocery deli makes watergate salad and I love it....people go nuts when they come to visit and find it in the fridge..lol...

              1. re: LaLa
                nofunlatte Oct 5, 2009 06:15 PM

                I have never actually had this, but my mom used to buy the instant pistachio pudding all the time in the 70s.

              2. re: nofunlatte
                karykat Oct 5, 2009 06:37 PM

                What is Watergate salad?

                1. re: karykat
                  nofunlatte Oct 5, 2009 06:40 PM

                  A "salad" made of pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, nuts, mini marshmallows, and Cool Whip.

                  1. re: nofunlatte
                    thedragonlady Oct 5, 2009 10:42 PM

                    *gasp* I've had that before! I never knew it had a name...but the version I had contained a can of fruit cocktail instead of the pineapple. It seemed odd, but the pastel green pistachio pudding really set it off. Looks godawful, but it was super yummy.

                    1. re: thedragonlady
                      nofunlatte Oct 6, 2009 05:32 AM

                      And it's green, so it MUST be a salad and be good for you! :)

                2. re: nofunlatte
                  hotoynoodle Oct 6, 2009 08:10 AM

                  my mom used to make harvey wallbanger cake.

                3. greygarious Oct 5, 2009 06:10 PM

                  This will give you the info you seek: http://www.foodtimeline.org/fooddecad...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: greygarious
                    thedragonlady Oct 5, 2009 10:45 PM

                    GREAT link! Thank you, Greygarious.

                  2. Phurstluv Oct 5, 2009 07:25 PM

                    Wow, half of the stuff listed by Antilope, my kids & I still eat, like the candy, didn't know we were living in a time warp!!!

                    Anyway, you've got to have at least one casserole!!! How about tuna noodle casserole for the veggie crowd? And the green bean casserole made with everything canned? That's vegetarian too. And wasn't cheap wine, like Bonny Doon (not quite so bad, anymore actually!) & Riunite in style? Gotta do those. And, I see you have the requisite jello-molds. Sounds like a party! How fun!!

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Phurstluv
                      nofunlatte Oct 6, 2009 05:36 AM

                      Mateus wine, along with the Riunite (on ice, that's nice!)

                      1. re: nofunlatte
                        Chefpaulo Oct 6, 2009 06:19 AM

                        Lancer's was big in the 60's and Dubonnet became the 70's rage. And what was the bottled sangria that was so heavily promoted?

                        1. re: Chefpaulo
                          karykat Jan 18, 2010 11:02 AM

                          Yes, my parents served Mateus and Lancers. Only for special occasions. It was the height of chic.

                      2. re: Phurstluv
                        DGresh Oct 6, 2009 05:38 AM

                        sorry but tuna noodle isn't vegetarian! Neither are the crab muffin things, good as they are. Wasn't the moosewood cookbook a huge thing back then? There's where to find some authentic veggie fare.

                        1. re: DGresh
                          Val Oct 6, 2009 06:37 AM

                          DGresh...aren't there some vegetarians who say they do eat fish and cheese? Just wondering....that's what I've heard some people say, anyway. Not trying to start an argument about the meaning of the word "vegetarian" but some people do play loosey-goosey with the term.

                          1. re: Val
                            DGresh Oct 6, 2009 08:28 AM

                            Accurately, vegetarian can include eggs and cheese. Vegan does not include eggs or cheese. There may be some "vegetarians" who will eat fish, but that is grossly inaccurate and really not very common in my experience.

                            1. re: Val
                              decolady Jan 18, 2010 01:02 AM

                              Pescetarians eat fish. Vegetarians do not. If a person eats fish and calls themself a vegetarian, they don't know what they are. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products. Vegans eat no animal products at all.

                          2. re: Phurstluv
                            hotoynoodle Oct 6, 2009 08:11 AM

                            aren't casseroles more a 50s thing? the era of 'convenience foods" being introduced to help oh-so-busy housewives save time and effort?

                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                              Phurstluv Oct 6, 2009 09:52 AM

                              Don't know, wasn't around in the 50's but know I ate a lot of them in the 70s since my mom worked.

                          3. Emme Oct 5, 2009 08:17 PM

                            Things I think of from the 80's...
                            Chicken Divan
                            Cheeseburger Pie
                            BBQ Chicken Pizza
                            Broccoli Limon
                            Impossible Pies
                            Anything with sundried tomatoes
                            Rice Krispy Treats
                            Chocolate Tortes or Lava Cake

                            the '70's...
                            Chicken a la King
                            Cheese or Corn Souffle
                            Stuffed Celery
                            Waldorf Salad
                            Broiled Pineapple
                            Anything Hamburger Helper
                            Cherries Jubilee

                            1. s
                              sedimental Oct 5, 2009 08:55 PM

                              yes! celery with creamy cheddar cheese (jarred pimento cheese would do it)....and some jumbo canned black olives. Then stick 5 of them on your fingers and wave them around!!!!!

                              1. h
                                Hassley Oct 5, 2009 09:41 PM

                                sheppard's pie,
                                tuna casserole

                                1. thedragonlady Oct 5, 2009 10:57 PM

                                  Awesome ideas, everyone!!! Thank you! We're going to have so much fun with this menu. The glutton inside of me is almost prompted to invite MORE people just to increase the variety of dishes. I also have a feeling that you Chowhounds are enjoying this trip down memory lane. Thanks to ALL of you and keep 'em coming!

                                  1. c
                                    Chefpaulo Oct 6, 2009 06:13 AM

                                    I didn't see the iconic spinach dip served in the hollowed out bread boule. And you have to have at least one big hunk of Port wine cheese.

                                    Another "Gourmet" addition from the late 1940's was cubes of poached chicken breast on toothpicks served with a sauce of Dijon mustard and currant jelly. Very adventurous for the day.

                                    And, for those who haven't heard, Gourmet Magazine is ceasing publication. I can't tell you how many recipes from this venerable publication graced our table when I was growing up. A moment of silence is due.


                                    1. shaogo Oct 6, 2009 08:22 AM

                                      My father used to make a "Sweet and Sour Pork" dish that involved pork, peppers, onions, apricot preserves and Italian dressing...

                                      I remember attending parties in the '70s where little beef meatballs were served in a gravy that was made of tomato sauce and jellied cranberry sauce.

                                      How about the pinwheels made by spreading cream cheese on slices of olive loaf, rolled-up and cut in slices?

                                      Finally, I'm *so* loving the retro ideas I think I'll treat myself to some Mateus rose and some Port Wine Cheese on Triscuits, tonight!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: shaogo
                                        Antilope Oct 6, 2009 08:25 AM

                                        That's right. Spinach dip made with Mrs. Grass homestyle vegetable dip and soup mix. Or Onion dip made with Liption's onion soup mix. Of course, here in California there was also the Guacamole dip or 7-layer Mexican dip.

                                        1. re: Antilope
                                          Phurstluv Oct 6, 2009 09:55 AM

                                          I didn't think that spinach dip was that old - did they use canned spinach?? I just remember there being a lot of canned foods, as opposed to fresh or frozen.

                                          And lots of vegetarians eat fish, call themselves pescatarians. There just weren't a lot of vegetarian casseroles I could think of. You can always make a veggie quiche. Of course, vegans won't eat / wear/ consume anything animal.

                                      2. hotoynoodle Oct 6, 2009 10:11 AM

                                        ya know, it seems a lot of the ideas here are pretty kitschy, but silver palate was a monster hit in the 80s and really revolutionized home entertaining. most of their dishes still hold up well. cuz, i'm sorry, vienna sausage and jello molds kinda gross me out.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          ginnyhw Oct 6, 2009 11:02 AM

                                          Everybody wasn't eating canned spinach and jello molds or drinking Reunite wine. People were chowhounds even then! I remember lots of quiches and California wines in the seventies. My crowd discovered tahini and every dinner party started with home made humous or baba ganouch with pita bread. Leibfraumilch wine was our go to drink and we had lots of wine and cheese parties. Boursin and brie were big. I think the microwave really was a huge influence on party food but that was closer to the nineties.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                            masha Oct 6, 2009 11:43 AM

                                            Having grown up in the 60s and been a young-married by the late 70s, I agree with the comments that a lot of the suggestions here -- pigs in blankets, jello molds -- were more 60s foods than 70s-80s. Yes, there were people still serving these things in the 70s or 80s, but they were already passe.

                                            Antilope and Ginnyhw are on the right track: I definitely remember spinach dip, made with dried Knorr spinach soup mix, in bread bowls at least by the early 80s, as well as Boursin and quiche. Other party foods of that era included:

                                            a. crudites served with ranch dressing; Hidden Valley had only recently introduced its foil pack, which you mixed with mayonnaise to make it.

                                            b. mini eggrolls

                                            c. Fondue (got 2 fondue pots as wedding gifts in 1978)

                                            As for alcohol, cheap roses like Lancers, Riunite and Mateus, as well as Leibfraumilch were certainly big in the mid 70s, as well as California Chablis. For harder stuff, in addition Harvey Wallbangers, I recall Tequilla sunrises.

                                            1. re: masha
                                              ginnyhw Oct 6, 2009 01:08 PM

                                              Oh yes, fondue pots with color coded forks for each dinner guest.
                                              And Tequila sunrises but I have trouble with the recall part.

                                          2. s
                                            silverhawk Oct 6, 2009 12:40 PM

                                            fermented fruit topping for desserts. this was the kind of compote that required starter from a friend. many families had a glass crock of apples, pears, raisins, etc fermenting on their avocado counter tops--right next to the gingham potholders and the country kitchen style book rack that held the joy of cooking.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: silverhawk
                                              meatn3 Oct 8, 2009 04:52 PM

                                              I had completely forgotten about that fruit! It was a huge thing - starters were given as holiday gifts. I think there was even some rhyme or story which was included with the starter.

                                            2. h
                                              HillJ Oct 6, 2009 12:59 PM

                                              Deviled eggs

                                              Also, I still have the Tupperware green & white jello mold with lid. I use it to make the jello/ice cream dessert. People still love it; super easy.

                                              1 large box of jello
                                              1 pint of vanilla ice cream
                                              2 cups of boiling water
                                              1 cup of apple juice
                                              1/2 cup of fruit

                                              In a large bowl mix jello powder with hot water. Add ice cream and stir til thawed and incorporated well. Add juice. Distribute fruit in mold cylinder and add the jello batter. Refrig for 4 hours. Slice & serve. I tend to use strawberry or raspberry jello/fruit.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                blacvulture Jan 18, 2010 09:49 AM

                                                I am gonna make this :)

                                              2. thedragonlady Oct 6, 2009 04:57 PM

                                                You guys are right about some of these kitschy foods being from the 60's more so than the 70's or 80's, but those were some of the things I remember being on the table at the time. I guess my mom and her friends were just trying to keep their favorite party foods alive...but they sure bring back some delicious (far be it from sophisticated) memories!

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: thedragonlady
                                                  shanagain Oct 6, 2009 05:04 PM

                                                  I can't believe caviar hasn't been mentioned for the 80's. Aside from microwaved chicken breast w/lemon pepper (gak) and microwave Stouffer's anything (in particular chipped beef or spinach souffle or some wonderfully bad scallop & shrimp dish) it's pretty much all I remember from the 80's, foodwise.

                                                  1. re: shanagain
                                                    middydd Oct 6, 2009 05:27 PM

                                                    Didn't the recipe for the Bacardi Rum Cake come out in the late 70's early 80's?

                                                    It's such a great cake!!

                                                    1. re: middydd
                                                      shanagain Oct 6, 2009 05:39 PM

                                                      Yum. Putting Bacardi in anything is likely to end in deliciousness.

                                                      And a post in the latest board posts reminded me: Taco night!

                                                      1. re: shanagain
                                                        thedragonlady Oct 8, 2009 04:37 PM

                                                        So THAT'S where that came from! My mom was known for her legendary Bacardi Rum cakes and she eventually passed on (unloaded is more like it) the tradition of making a few every Christmas to me. Now I'm the one who makes them all the time for friends during the holidays, I can make them in my sleep. I've always known how delicious Bacardi Rum cakes are, but after baking them for so many years I don't get that excited about them anymore.

                                                2. e
                                                  EllenMM Oct 6, 2009 05:48 PM

                                                  There was a recipe that circulated around that time - chicken with a sauce made from apricot jam, Lipton soup mix and Thousand Islands Dressing, if I recall correctly. Gooey, sweet and not at all good for you, it was in the same family as the "Swedish" meatballs with cranberry sauce (or grape jelly) and ketchup.

                                                  1. tcamp Oct 7, 2009 10:46 AM

                                                    My mom made this awesome chile/cheese dip for parties. This was in the late 60's , early 70's and I am sure the recipe came from Sunset magazine or the LA Times as those were her main sources. Now that you have me thinking about this, I am going to have to find it. She would leave a bit behind for sis and I every time but I don't recall her ever making it just for us.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: tcamp
                                                      ginnyhw Oct 7, 2009 11:02 AM

                                                      Maybe it was the Rotel Dip? I just mentioned this in a post. I was never a fan of velveeta but I love this dip and it is always a hit

                                                      1. re: ginnyhw
                                                        tcamp Oct 7, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                        Along those lines, for sure. I don't remember Rotel being sold in SoCal in those days and my mom was more of a from scratch cook but you might be right!

                                                        Fortunately, she and her recipe collection are still alive and kicking so I can find out.

                                                        1. re: tcamp
                                                          laliz Oct 7, 2009 03:16 PM

                                                          Rotel still is not sold very much in SoCal. I've never had it and I have looked from time to time because I read about it.

                                                          1. re: laliz
                                                            Cathy Oct 8, 2009 04:41 PM

                                                            Rotel as well as the store brand equivalent is in Ralphs, Albertson's and Vons...which is Safeway, if you are not in San Diego. In the canned tomato section.

                                                            1. re: laliz
                                                              coll Jan 18, 2010 04:22 AM

                                                              I can find Rotel at my regular supermarket (seems like it first appeared around Hurricane Katrina time for some reason) and also the generic version, but the best deal of all is at Walmart, Rotel always 99 cents a can.

                                                      2. 4
                                                        4Snisl Oct 7, 2009 03:18 PM

                                                        Spray cheese and Triscuits. Low maintenance. People might just go for the spray cheese sans crackers, but that could make it a really fun party!

                                                        1. n
                                                          nami54 Oct 12, 2009 07:05 PM

                                                          My family still wants spinach dip on Thanksgiving. Guess I'm tragically un-hip! Anyone else remember the caviar pie from the 80's? It's pretty tasty! I may have to make a Bacardi rum cake soon. Anyone else make the chocolate version?

                                                          1. Sam Fujisaka Jan 18, 2010 05:05 AM

                                                            70s - 80s?? Had electricity been discovered yet? Did people wear clothes? Actually the foods you mention come from the 50s and 60s.

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