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80's Party!!!

Hi!I am planning on a 1980's themed party this summer.And I was wondering what was the big thing to bring to get togethers in the 80's?Is there anything that sticks out in your mind from back then?Not what was popular in resturants but what home cooks were making then?

All help will be greatly appreciated!

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    1. Two that were popular and should rest in peace are Chicken Marbella and white Zinfandel. Both insipid, cloyingly sweet and thoroughly revolting.

      Pesto had an extended run back then, if memory serves, as did blackened fish a la Paul Prudhomme.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rjbh20

        White zin spritzer. How/why did I drink those things? Older and wiser now.

        1. re: pine time

          LOL! that's what I thought of too. White Zin - my wine training wheels. haha and the Bartles & James mentioned below. Am happy to report, I've grown a little older and wiser too. But, MAN, those were some good times!

          1. re: pine time

            "How/why did I drink those things"

            because back in the day we enjoyed headaches :(

        2. I remember Chef Paul Prudhomme was very popular and everyone was blackening fish and chicken breast.

          4 Replies
          1. re: dave_c

            What exactly do you mean by blacken?

            1. re: Slimpup85

              He had a spice rub that he put on fish or chicken. Then cooked really hot in a cast iron pan. Kind of spicy.

              1. re: Slimpup85

                My roommate in college did not know how to cook, but he learned a recipe for blackened chicken breast so that became his go-to dish.

                Blackening involved coating chicken for fish with a salt, black pepper (lots and lots) and cayenne mix.

                Next the protein is cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet.

                Here's a common blackening mix: http://southernfood.about.com/od/seas...

                1. re: dave_c

                  One of the best foods I ever ate was a blackened burger from Tumbledown Dick's in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Man was that good.

            2. I think I made that layered taco dip for every party in the '80s and we had lots of parties then. And the Ranch dip with the veggies. Velveeta dip and tortilla chips, salsa.

              1. whatever you serve, make sure you wash it down with a 4pack of Bartles & Jaymes!


                1 Reply
                1. re: Foody4life

                  Yeah wine coolers for sure. Maybe a "pasta bar."

                2. We were making Spinach Dip w/ Knorr's, served in a French Bread Bowl
                  Artichoke dip (the baked one) had just come on the scene
                  Those of use who made pizzas at home were putting lox and creme fraiche on them
                  Blackened anything a la Paul Prudhomme
                  Resurgence of Cajun food, per Justin Wilson
                  And we were still making beaucoup deviled eggs and sweet/sour chafing dish meatballs.
                  Oh, and right around that time, "raw veg platter" became "crudite" and it was fashionable to do a monotone crudite platter: say, asparagus, celery, cucumber, green onion, hearts of palm, green pepper strips, etc., served with a seafood dip of some type. Or Knorr veg. soup mix dip.

                  15 Replies
                    1. re: mamachef

                      not just ANY chafing dish meatballs -- the ones made with a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce.

                      Don't ask me how that combination ends up being tasty, but it does.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        This! Ugh. I am still on '80's overload from those jelly/chili sauce meatballs.
                        ....as well as the KNORR!

                        1. re: jarona

                          I just want to know how drunk the creator of that recipe had to before a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce sounded like a good combination

                          Uh yeah...then we'll heat it up, and add MEATBALLS!


                        2. re: sunshine842

                          We made those meatballs with grape jelly and ketchup. There was also a dish with pieces of hot dogs and a mustard and apple jelly sauce. They both sound gross, but weren't bad at all.

                          1. re: pemma

                            I've had the ones with the little smokies and meatballs and I confess in front of G-d and everyone else that I LIKED 'em!

                            1. re: mamachef

                              those meatballs are great in a "sweet 'n sour" kind of way. i ain't proud. i'll eat those puppies.

                          2. re: sunshine842

                            Them's the ones, sunshine! I would like to know the name of the FIRST person who ever dreamed it up and did it. I'm bettin' Midwest.

                            1. re: sunshine842


                              one party we had at our hair salon was a feature of the month we'd come up with. the person that chose for that month decided on an Italian theme for whatever reason. anyway, her contribution was the meatballs in the grape jelly that everyone was talking about. what about that is Italian, I have no clue. they stuck to my teeth, I found them awful and offensive to my taste-buds and hideous, just terrible. I never understood the fascination with those disgusting things but guess what, they all disappeared from the crock pot that day, so go figure...
                              she did a big jar of welchs grape jelly ONLY over her balls in the crocker, I watched her do it at the shop, just ick on a toothpick

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                just grape jelly?
                                i always did the grape jelly and ketchup..like pemma said..
                                just the jelly doesnt sound good...

                                still do them once in a while...

                                1. re: srsone

                                  I'm afraid I'm with you on the ick on a stick if it was just grape jelly.

                                  I don't know what it is, but there's something about the ketchup or chili sauce that makes it irresistable -- I've never seen leftovers at any party I've ever attended.

                              2. re: sunshine842

                                Tee HAW! When I first read this post I was thinking "80's - nothing was going on them and it was just a little bit ago!" Gulp. I am an old fart! I LOVE the Knorr's, meatballs and taco layer dip ideas. They are SO 80's. The meatballs need to be brought to the party in a crockpot.

                                Of course no 80's party would be complete without TAB. You could make Koozie's from old shoulder pads. : ). What a vile fashion era.

                                The big question is what are you wearing?

                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                  i hate to admit it...but i had one of those skinny leather ties that had the piano keys on it...

                                  1. re: srsone

                                    didn't ric ocasek have one of those?

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      it was either him or kevin bacon in footloose...
                                      i dont remember

                            2. Whatever you make, be sure to have Boy George playing in the background!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                "do you really want to hurt me...?"

                                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                  You will need some WHAM! And Madonna. Maybe people can bring their mixed tapes their BF anfd GF's made for them. ACK! Maybe a little Soft Cell? Guys wearing Miami Vice outfits and Duran Duran hair.

                                  I spent the better part of the 80's looking like Joan Jett. Please do not tell anyone.

                                2. Sounds like some great ideas...My aunt still makes the spinach dip with knorrs...What about for a main dish?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Slimpup85

                                    Mid-rare Duck was a monster back then, with some or another fruit/vinegar reduction, jus or gastrique.
                                    Anything blackened; especially fish
                                    Because of the Cajun resurgence, Gumbos and Jambalayas too
                                    Oh, salads with fruits, nuts and cheeses on greens became popular right around that time, like greens with blue cheese, sliced apple, and toasted/candied walnuts or romaine with oranges, goat cheese (and let's not forget Hot Goat Cheese salad, either) and almonds, usually with a vinaigrette.
                                    The buzzword of the '80's was Big. Big Hair, Big cars, Big money, luxury components. Think scallops; think chateaubriand, think cream sauces (or cuisine minceur, for the other end of the literal scale.) Think caviar and truffles. Go Big!

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      Alot of what you list still sounds good and is seen regularly. I don't remember 80s food being a genre. But I was living in SF and eating lots of Asian and Hispanic food so maybe I just wasn't aware.

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        I remember going to a wedding shower back then -- the salad had strawberries in it, and it was a super-sweet dressing. Just nauseatingly sweet, but very common at the time. And it was a small gathering and I couldn't duck the salad.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          Ah, yes indeedy. The ubiquitous Spinach and Strawberry salad. I was in MN a few years back, and lo and behold that salad showed up on the menu of an Italian restaurant we went to. I recall Gramma Mimi saying, "Now THAT'S unusual," (it was, for MN, even in '08) and ordering it and hating it. : )

                                    2. I think I remember these 6 foot long giant sub sandwiches or something like that. Cut into individual pieces of course. Or are those still popular?

                                      Right - white zinfandel - ugh!

                                      1. grrr. why oh why do I have to keep signing into CH every day?
                                        The one food at parties that I recall being made by all my friends and they were different versions were stuffed mushrooms.
                                        I made them then with ham, mozz and parm, the stems, fresh garlic and bread crumbs.I remember them being stuffed with bacon and spinach and cheese, or just bacon or sausage etc, but they were all good and still are.
                                        and the other appetizer like thing here in the bay was the egg based, with zuchinni little fritta like squares. Scallion, eggs, zuchinni, garlic etc baked

                                        Also, there were these muffin things, mayonniase, bacon, cheese and scallions on an English muffin, baked for a few minutes until bubbly, and then cut into quarters. one more, ham rollups, stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, scallions. I made a little pie with cream cheese pastry, stuffed it with a crab salad like stuff, then baked them and served hot.

                                        1. I just think of "When Harry Met Sally"---- "Pesto is the quiche of the 80s." :)

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: cmd

                                            Yes that's true and I think it was the frugal gourmet that introduced it to me.
                                            That and chicken picatta.

                                          2. Make sure you serve everything in Tupperware containers :-)

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: penelopek

                                              Lol!My mom still has one of those off white tupperware chip and dip containers..(with a lid) was thinking of borrowing that.I love mini quiches so that might work too..Thanks for all the tips you guys are comming up with great stuff I wouldn't think of..I was born in 85 so I don't remember much of the 80's...Which is sad because it's probably one of my favorite decades...

                                              1. re: penelopek

                                                Tupperware was more of a 60s than an 80s thing. Sure, if there was a potluck, people brought food in tupperware, but I cannot recall any host who used TW for serving at their own home, unless perhaps it was a very casual family outing.

                                                Now Corningware was something else ... if you can find CW with the harvest motif, you'll have the decade nailed (the cornflowers were earlier).

                                                1. re: masha

                                                  I went to a ton of Tupperware and Princess House parties in the 80's. I think I have some of the very same tupperware left.

                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                    Sorry, I think you misunderstood my remark. I was responding to Penelopek, who said to make sure to serve everything in Tupperware at the party, not to hold a "Tupperware party." Sure, Tupperware parties were still happening in the 80s but I don't recall many hostesses of other types of parties who used Tupperware as serving pieces in their own homes, which Penelopek seemed to be suggesting.

                                              2. Be sure to drink Harvey Wallbangers.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  I hadn't thought of a Harvey Wallbanger in years. We had one of those big bottles of Galliano that was in a stand. I loved those things. Tequila Sunrises too.
                                                  My husband and I used to have daiquris and stuffed mushrooms on Sunday afternoons.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    Harvey Wallbangers are pre-80's. For sure.

                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                      yeah, these were 60's and 70's. Depending on how old you were in the eighties, you could start the evening off with some Jello shots, Sex on the Beach, or Long Island Teas if you really want to get in the mood.

                                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                                        Jello Shots and Sex on the Beach were still popular in Florida in the 80s...the only mood that LIIT got me into was facedown and incoherent.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I just remember my little brother drinking them in the early 80's.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            I'm quite sure that my parents never served nor drank a HW. Must have taken a generation to catch on.

                                                    2. Southern Comfort was very eighties. Buffalo wings, potato skins, nachos, that kinda stuff.

                                                      1. you could see if you can find some NEW coke.....instead of classic coke...

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: srsone

                                                          Is there a difference between the two?I never understood that.

                                                          1. re: Slimpup85

                                                            oh, it was a GINORMOUS difference. New Coke tasted like Pepsi.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              yes ...coke thought people wanted coke to taste more like pepsi..partly due too pepsi's advertisement about the hidden taste test.....and coke supposedly doing their own research...they changed the formula too NEW coke ...it was a disaster and so many people demanded they change it back that when they did coke use went up by 25%
                                                              which many people still believe was the intent all along...
                                                              google new coke ...u can see the whole story...

                                                        2. I'm with chef chicklet on the stuffed mushrooms, particularly with any sausage combo.

                                                          The melon with prosciutto comes to mind, and the new potatoes stuffed with sourcream, topped with caviar.

                                                          For 80's, I mostly think of foods already mentioned like pesto, white zinfandel, and above all the knorr's dip bread bowl which "the fam" still has me make.

                                                          60 Replies
                                                          1. re: lilgi

                                                            What's dated about melon with prosciiutto? And I have done new potatoes with caviar. Although I'm not a huge fan of pesto, I see it all the time.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              melon with prosciutto is pretty much standard issue at our house in the summer.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                I agree, standard issue in lots of homes even before the 80's and classic, but imho this decade dated it. No longer have I served it as an appetizer (in any variation) or have I been anywhere where this has been served since then. I think if I had to cater an event and prosciutto and melon was suggested, I'd look for another caterer. If I have the ingredients at home we'll make a snack out of it. I still make the bread bowl, but it was all the rage in the 80's. Of course, we still make a lot of these foods mentioned.

                                                                The one I haven't figured out yet are those grape jelly meatballs, but honestly I have never had them. They must be pretty friggin good ;)

                                                                1. re: lilgi

                                                                  "or have I been anywhere where this has been served since then. "

                                                                  If melons were in season and I went to an Italian restaurant that DIDN'T have this, I'd be shocked. It's so fantastic. I'd be willing to be it's been eaten in Italy for lifetimes. I never have prosciutto just hanging around the house. Too expensive for me 'cept for special occasions.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Yes, I'm very well aware this is an Italian classic as I mentioned in my earlier post. Just curious, which restaurants still serve this?

                                                                    1. re: lilgi

                                                                      Right this minute? Probably not many as the melons won't be in season for several more months. An easier question, and shorter list, would be which DON'T serve it. I guess I'd describe it as ubiquitous.

                                                                      Also if I were choosing a cater, I'd be thrilled with high quality p&m.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        So you always have this, when you are dining out, when it's in season? Would love to know where you have had it recently. I don't think I've seen this on a menu since....well the 80's. I know I wouldn't order it at a restaurant.

                                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                                          First of all, nowhere did I write that I ever order it but that it's ubiquitous in Italian restaurants. I rarely order anything that I'm able to make at home. I think it's great tasting but I can source it.

                                                                          Here's a google search that will show you that I'm not making this up.


                                                                          The point here is not whether any of us eat or ate these things. My point is that I wouldn't serve p&m at an 80s party cause it's not an 80s dish. FWIW, I've never had that bread bowl thing you describe but wouldn't order it in a restaurant :)

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            I can assure you, that prosciutto and melon was all the rage and served QUITE frequently in the 80's as it was considered somewhat "fashionable" to serve. I don't make the fashion rules, they just happen. But no one here is telling you what and what not to eat ;)

                                                                            For an 80's party? Most definitely would I serve prosciutto and melon in the tackiest way possible.

                                                                      2. re: lilgi

                                                                        EVERY eating establishment in France from the humblest hole in the wall to the places with the finest linen serves this as an appetizer in the summer -- sometimes it's prosciutto, other times it's Bayonne ham, but it's absolutely everywhere...including my house and my friends' houses.

                                                                        It's a classic, and absolutely not dated (won't argue that you ate a lot of it in the 80's -- I wasn't with you in the 80s, so can't say one way or the other!) -- but it's still very much alive and well.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          In Europe. As I said before we all eat this - at home. I consider it very passe to be eating this out, but whatever floats your boat.

                                                                          I did a search in NYMag - a quick one because there are too many; criteria critics' picks and most exclusive. I continued on with different criteria and you had to weed out the ones that serve it over the ones that don't. There are a VAST number of Italian restaurants that don't serve it over the ones that do. The percentage of any better restaurants that do was almost negligible.

                                                                          As I said earlier, I never said this is not a classic dish. So is shrimp with cocktail sauce.

                                                                          1. re: lilgi

                                                                            Am I alone in thinking that the word 'passe' should never be applicable to food? If it's tasty and made with good ingredients, I'm happy to eat it and fashion can keep the aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks away from my plate!

                                                                            This is especially applicable to something like melon and prosciutto, which is traditional, regional food at its heart, and was never faddy to start with.

                                                                            1. re: Isobel_A

                                                                              No, you're not alone.

                                                                              Good food, well-prepared with good ingredients, can never be unfashionable. (if anyone raises an eyebrow, tell them it's 'retro')

                                                                              1. re: Isobel_A

                                                                                No, I think you're 100% correct. I will always remember being in El Cortez Ingles (did I get that right?) in Lisbon and watching the cured hams being sliced paper thin with these tiny little "scalpels." And the beautiful melons. Passe? Please.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  C Oliver, you still use the Martha Stewart h' ordeuvres cookbook?

                                                                                  VERY 80's ;)

                                                                                  1. re: lilgi

                                                                                    I think you may have your decades confused. It was published in 1999.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      oh, okay, way before 1999 I was no longer looking for anything written by Martha Stewart but hey, that's me ;)

                                                                                2. re: Isobel_A

                                                                                  I'm hosting a few graduation parties this year. I'm Italian. I will not be serving prosciutto and melon no matter how "fashionable" some think it STILL is.

                                                                                  1. re: lilgi

                                                                                    Sorry, lilgi, was that directed to me? If so, I'm not sure I understand why. My point was that food shouldn't be fashionable or not, *not* that prosciutto and melon is still fashionable. I couldn't care less whether it is or isn't - I like, I eat it. If I was in a restaurant and it was on the menu and I was in the mood for it I'd eat it, and I don't care whether anyone considers it passe or not. And, incidentally, I had it served to me twice the last time I was in Italy (Lago Maggiore), which was two years ago.

                                                                                    I'm also in Europe, not America, so maybe that makes a difference.

                                                                                    1. re: Isobel_A

                                                                                      Isobel, people still eat lots of foods listed here. And yes I responded to you.

                                                                                      1. re: lilgi

                                                                                        OK. It just didn't make sense to me as a response, that's all.

                                                                                      2. re: Isobel_A

                                                                                        Nope, Isobel. No difference. 'Course you're closer to the source(s), dang it :)

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          You're off on the deviled eggs too, btw. Still served now but a big rage in the 80's.

                                                                                          1. re: lilgi

                                                                                            I got a real kick out of the fact that they originated in Ancient Rome!


                                                                                            I think this got posted previously:


                                                                                            Looks like the eggs were most trendy in the 50s:


                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              The 80's were definitely not a blur for me, but I can understand how it can be ;)

                                                                                      3. re: lilgi

                                                                                        You eat food according to it's currency or fashionability? Interesting. I eat food because it tastes nice. : )
                                                                                        Cheers, lilgi. Not trying to be snarky, just my .02.

                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                          I most certainly do, except for the dang breadbowl ;)

                                                                                          1. re: lilgi

                                                                                            oh, the breadbowl -- with the remnants of the knorr's spinach-veg dip? that squishy goodness? oh YES, that's for me, then, lilgi; just leave it on the table, ok?

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              I'm deadmeat if I don't still serve that. OMG!!!!!!!

                                                                                        2. re: lilgi

                                                                                          Ah, when did you move from Italy? Do you go back regularly? I'm surprised that you would consider a classic like that to be anything other than wonderful - unless you don't like the ingredients. But I believe you said you serve it at home. Oh well. To each his own.

                                                                                          BTW, I was going through an old church cookbook from Atlanta, published in 1974. It had "those" meatballs in it, as well as stuffed mushrooms and a few other things that have been mentioned in this thread.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            I think those meatballs were an American phenomenon, but stuffed mushrooms; I remember those! I used to dread dinner parties as I am not a mushroom fan and my parents always made them.

                                                                                          2. re: lilgi

                                                                                            Here's what we had in Riccione, Italy last June. Man, was it good. Perfectly ripe, sweet melon, and salty-sweet prosciutto. I have no gripe with this classic -- particularly when it tastes so good.

                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              Yup, in Italy. But I thought we were discussing food trends in the 80's - in America?

                                                                                              That looks really unappetizing btw. Just my .02.

                                                                                              1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                That WAS the intent of the OP but somehow it veered very far away from that, as things are wont to do here. No assignation of blame; just sayin.

                                                                                                1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                  I think this is one sandbox I'm better out of now, agreeing to disagree. I'm pretty sure that for every recipe I can imagine being relevant to some particular era, someone somewhere predated it. Like the Campbell's Green Bean Casserole, which many would point to the late sixties and seventies as the "era of....." which actually originated in the early '50's.

                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                    Mamachef, lots of foods listed were pre-dated, we were talking about trends and rages.

                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                        C Oliver very informative the timeline. Melon and ham for formal dinners in '75. Oh, but we weren't talking about how popular it was in the 80's, correct?

                                                                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                          all right, all right...back to your corners. round five over. ;-)).

                                                                                                          come on ladies, this is a thread about food popular in the 80s. is it worth getting a blood pressure hike? if i ate it in the 80s, i still might be eating it these days. it may have originated in ancient rome, when i was a simple, wee lass, but still may be good today. especially that garum. mmm mmm goood!
                                                                                                          <<<<ok, ok, where do i pick up my nobel peace prize? har-de-har-har>>>>

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Alkapal, this has taken my mind off waiting for one more response from colleges for S - the big one today. I think I needed this ;D

                                                                                                            1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                              ok, ok.....yes, it does get distracting doesn't it?

                                                                                                              may i recommend instead a lovely passionfruit and ginger-lime martini i saw recently. ;-).

                                                                                                              1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                                I hear you (I'm a mom also in that spot).

                                                                                                                And I will not say a word about P&M. or deviled eggs. I *still* think that stuff from the Moosewood cookbook, as vile as (I think) it is, is appropriate for the 80s.

                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                  Hey anything to take our minds off this right? Some people still like to wear "Giorgio" ;D

                                                                                                                  ....and best of luck to you!

                                                                                                    1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                      I thought we were also discussing how things thought to be trendy, specifically in the 1980s, could also be considered classic. Prosciutto e melone is one such food that is a classic, and something that I would happily eat either in the US or in Italy, or anywhere else good prosciutto and melon are to be had. We didn't think it looked unappetizing, btw, we thought it was quite a funny presentation, your .02 not withstanding.

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        I think you get the drift - that was popular party food in the 80's here. It was a trend, and that was the point of the thread.

                                                                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                          In all the "gay repartee" I think you must have missed this post:


                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            The food timeline? I addressed this a few posts above.

                                                                                                            1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                              That link shows foods that were "trends and rages" for each decade. I thought it was fun and informative.

                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      I first had this (prosciutto with melon) in 1972 in Toronto with my then boyfriend and now husband, and I know I'd read about it well before that and am sure it's been eaten for ages. It's certainly on menus in the NYC area today, thank goodness, I love it. It has no particularly '80s associations for me.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Sparks steakhouse in the city has that on their menu; I was there about 10 or 15 years ago, didn't order the p and m. Truthfully their menu looks like it hasn't been changed in decades.

                                                                                                        Trust me there are many more medium to high-end restaurants that don't serve this anymore in the US.

                                                                                                      2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        *licks the screen*

                                                                                                        (and that was supposed to be up there, closer to the photo) : /

                                                                                          3. re: lilgi

                                                                                            actually as far as the meatballs or little smokies in grape jelly/ketchup
                                                                                            i think that goes back farther than the 80s..
                                                                                            i remember having those when i was kid as far back as the early 70s

                                                                                            1. re: srsone

                                                                                              That sounds right. Curiosity will have me try those one day.

                                                                                              1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                they're sort of like sweet n' sour pork in concept. the grape jelly meatballs dish must be in thousands of community cookbooks. not gourmet, but not terrible-bad.

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  I have one for "Polynesian Meatballs with Apricot Sauce". I'll bet this might be similar? I've had it for a while but never used it. The sauce is apricot jam, cider vinegar, BBQ sauce, chili sauce, and paprika. The meatballs have some water chestnuts. Maybe I'll do a 70's thing ;D

                                                                                                  1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                    yep, it's the same concept. try it; you might be surprised. just think if you used all the ingredients that make up those products -- apricots, sugar, vinegar, chiles, tomato sauce, etc. -- then you can see how the "shortcut" recipe using the store-bought stuff might work and taste.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        I thought the recipe I had was a nicer version, but I should probably try the real thing.

                                                                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                          it probably IS a nicer version (darned near anything would be!)...but that's the traditional recipe.

                                                                                      4. Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
                                                                                        Salmon mousse on cucumber rounds
                                                                                        Barbecue- sauce meatballs...in a crockpot!
                                                                                        Pigs in a blanket
                                                                                        Deviled Eggs
                                                                                        California Rolls
                                                                                        Cheeseballs - Flavored cheese rolled in a whole bunch of crap
                                                                                        Rainbow sherbet punch
                                                                                        And of course, Fondue!

                                                                                        I know there was a thread somewhere that had a bunch of ideas...I think it was for someone's retro party? Perhaps someone with superior search skills could post a link?

                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                                                          Come on now! Deviled eggs????? I've eaten those all my life and they're an oft-demanded thing at potlucks. Just ask Veggo.

                                                                                            1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                                              Yeah. Last year after Easter I bought one of those cute lttle deviled egg platter - 75% off!

                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                              Let me first start out by saying, I love me some deviled eggs... but I think they became a bit passe in the 90's, thereby making the 80's the last time it was 'fashionable' to serve them. These terms are so subjective I could spit, but I don't remember a single party in the 80's without them. Much fewer in the 90's and fewer still in the 2000's.

                                                                                              I think beef tartare was big in the 80's. I recall seeing pictures of raw ground beef dented with a little space for a raw egg. Not sure what else went into it, but I'm not about to test any recipes in this post-Ecoli era.

                                                                                              1. re: soypower

                                                                                                I was born in 1947 and have eaten deviled eggs in every decade since. I went to a very fashionable Christmas open house in SF in about 2000 and they were the hit of the party.

                                                                                                I still make and eat steak tartare so you and I are on different sides on that one. E coli has been around a long, long time. Non-contaminated meat doesn't magically become contaminated. Don't know your point on that one.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  IIRC, c, you grind your own...and *that* is what makes it different. No way I'd eat raw hamburger bought ready-ground in the US...but if I knew it was ground to order, or if I ground it myself, then I'd ask you nicely to get out of my way just once before I elbowed past you.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    Come on out to Tahoe. You won't have to sleep on an airbed and I'll make tartare for you. I will eat a rare burger in a restaurant not knowing it's source but I'm a braver person than many and also live in a "magic house."

                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    I think the point of this thread is to suggest ideas of foods that were quite prevalent in the 80's. Foods that bring back the feeling of the era. Not things that were only consumed in those years and no other. Milkshakes and hamburgers might be what some people would serve for a 50's party, but certainly those pre-date that era and are still popular now.

                                                                                                    I'm not going to argue with you about whether deviled eggs are 'fashionable' or 'in'. As I said, those are incredibly subjective terms.

                                                                                                    And of course I know that e coli has been around for quite a long time, but I point to the period where the dangers of e coli became widely known and feared in the mainstream consciousness. I point to the Jack in the Box incidents in the early 90's. At any rate, that comment was made with my tongue firmly planted in cheek. I enjoy medium rare burgers quite often, but only when I know the source and have seen the actual chopping of the meat. Something I didn't do until those events transpired.

                                                                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                                                                      plus the times that things were "in" varies -- I've recognized a number of things that were fads in Florida, but I *know* they weren't hot at the time that someone else remembers them as being so...

                                                                                                      In Florida, deviled eggs have always been in the background, but I don't remember them being anything but one more dish on the table.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        deviled eggs a dish on the table? the dinner table? our deviled eggs -- and everywhere else i've encountered them -- are served as an appetizer. they are also the FIRST thing hoovered up by people noshing before a holiday (and most any other) dinner.
                                                                                                        where were you in florida, sunshine?

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          I spent most of my adult life in and around Tampa. (I'm a Bull from LONG before football days)

                                                                                                          I meant at parties and potlucks, mostly - they just always seem to be there, right next to those stupid meatballs that everybody loves!

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            and they both get gobbled up!

                                                                                                            sunshine, did you ever participate in the ""fess up, i'm a hog when it comes to eating...." thread? it is fun! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573626
                                                                                                            you'll see my confessed adoration of deviled eggs.

                                                                                            3. In my neck of the woods it wouldn't have been a party in the 80's without:

                                                                                              Long Island Iced Tea
                                                                                              Buffalo Wings
                                                                                              Shooters in test tubes, especially B52's

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                Lol,my friends and I still drink Long islands at the bowling alley!!!

                                                                                              2. At some point in the late 80's, everything suddenly had sun dried tomatoes in it. Tortilla chips and salsa become an every day thing at our house (as opposed to something you got at a Mexican restaurant). Then nachos and buffalo wings followed. When we could sneak alcohol or get into bars, it was sloe gin fizzes and white zin. My mom served a lot of baked brie back then. Yum.

                                                                                                1. Flourless chocolate cake was THE dessert of the early 80s.

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                    I thought chocolate mousse was the dessert of the times. I also seem to remember spinach balls being served quite often.

                                                                                                    1. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                                      spinach balls are timeless in my book. ;-).

                                                                                                        1. re: Slimpup85

                                                                                                          Are spinach balls those bread bowls with spinach dip in them?
                                                                                                          Please let us know. I can't say I've had a spinach ball to be quite honest with you.

                                                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                            No, it's cooked spinach mixed with egg and stuffing, rolled into balls and baked, and they are GREAT.

                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                              Wow, I just caught a glimpse of some spinach balls online and I have to say they look hideous ... LOL. Other than that they sound delicious and it's a great way to cook up some spinach too. : ) Gotta try some.

                                                                                                      1. re: masha

                                                                                                        I remember my mom making that in the 90's and always wondering how it worked without flour...

                                                                                                      2. Vol au vents, with some kind of cheesy/fishy filling
                                                                                                        Stuffed mushrooms with parmesan (as a non-mushroom eater, they still haunt me!)
                                                                                                        I also remember a lot of nachos and tacos (in NZ, so it must have been a craze 'cause not a lot of Mexican food available, especially in really rural places like where we were at the time)
                                                                                                        Very sweet cocktails

                                                                                                        The 80s party we had recently involved mini-gherkins on toothpicks, and cheese and pineapple on toothpicks. I think that sort of thing passed for 'stylish entertaining' in the UK in the 80s.

                                                                                                        1. Fuzzy Navels (orange juice and peach schnapps) and White Russians were the big cocktails that I remember (not including the frat party Jungle Juice -- Everclear and Hawaiian punch mixed up in a garbage can with a golf club. Ugh)

                                                                                                          Brownie Bottom Pie -- my girlfriends and I made a steady diet of those (brownie, scoop of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and chopped walnuts)

                                                                                                          1. Ohhh,I love Rainbow sherbet punch...I make an orange variety every year for Halloween and it still is a favorite..I was thinking maybe getting some subs and making a few appetizers instead of a main dish..How do you think that would be?My work makes subs and I could get a discount.

                                                                                                            1. Spanikopita, nachos, quiche.
                                                                                                              I think fondue was from the '70's and late 60's.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                                                I agree on the fondue. I was in grad school in the 80s and fondue was at that time something my parents had done "way back when". I agree with pesto; I think quiche was more 70s. Absolutely agree that sun-dried tomatoes were huge in the 80s. And goat cheese. Not that I still don't like goat cheese. I also think the whole "moosewood" thing was really getting off the ground in the 80s (at least it was in my circle of friends). So horrible cheesy-sunflowerseed-brocolli casseroles.

                                                                                                                1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                                                  Ditto that fondue was from the 70s. We got married in '78 and received 2 fondue pots as gifts. Even then the trend was on its way out.

                                                                                                                2. You can hardly do an '80s party without going all Martha and decorating your trays of food with lemon leaves and flowers. It's as '80s as fondue parties were in the '70s.

                                                                                                                  1. I remember having little halved baked potatoes with a schmear of sour cream and a dab of caviar.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                                                      And stuffed potato skins! Cheddar, bacon, green onion, sour cream. Yum!

                                                                                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                        i can eat stuffed potatoes any time! i like them especially when copious amounts of sour cream and crumbled bacon are involved.

                                                                                                                        blackened fish
                                                                                                                        ooh...and BAKED BRIE!

                                                                                                                        the '80s were all right, now weren't they? ;-).

                                                                                                                    2. brie rounds baked in the oven with butter and sliced almonds on top. served with a crusty french baguette. swoon food. honestly. have you ever tried it?

                                                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        its all my sister would order in restaurants back then.....

                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                          Ive only had plain brie on crackers...Never had anything on it though..The almonds sound good tho.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Slimpup85

                                                                                                                            get a small round, put some butter on top, then sliced almonds, and warm it in the oven (@ 300) till it starts to sag (maybe 15 minutes?).

                                                                                                                            this was our friday treat my last two years in oollege.

                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                              do you know the French NEVER bake Brie en croute? (but they like it!)

                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                i wasn't talking about brie en croute, but a plain brie.
                                                                                                                                here's a question: how do the french "like" brie en croute if they never "make" it?

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  they don't bake it at all -- room temperature, but that's about it -- even on a sandwich, it's not often warmed.

                                                                                                                                  I stumbled across that little factoid -- we were hosting a cocktail party not long after we moved, and I decided to make a Brie en croute (I used a cassis jam on top, under the pastry). Nobody knew what it was (all the guests were French) I was completely mortified, but I had figured hey -- used to make it all the time -- the idea must be French if it uses Brie, right?...someone finally tried a piece, and next thing I knew, there was nothing but a smear of jam and a few crumbs left on the plate. This particular group now requests it...and polishes it off every time.

                                                                                                                                  (and I live IN the Brie region...go figure!)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                    glad you taught the french something about serving brie! ;-). it is really quite a neutral (if not too ripe, of course), fatty, buttery base from which you can take many kinds of taste tangents.

                                                                                                                                    you've seen where you split a brie in thirds (parallel to countertop), then put pesto in one layer, and a sun-dried tomato "pesto" in the other?

                                                                                                                                    i tasted that at a whole foods cheese department, and it was good! i figured that i could do it for a lot cheaper than they were selling that one.

                                                                                                                                    it's pretty -- especially for italians with the red, green & white colors! ;-)). this photo shows a variant on the theme -- even prettier than the one i had. http://www.foodbuzz.com/photos/288283...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                      that is pretty -- I have a recipe from eons ago that layers cream cheese and pesto (mixed) with a sundried-tomato coulis (think a thick paste-ish marinara) in a bowl lined with slices of prosciutto and weighed down in the fridge overnight. It was in Ladies Home Journal or something similar, but it wins HUGE raves.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                        ooh, i think i've seen that! then you turn it out like a dome, right? or...a "mold."

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          Yep -- if you've weighted it down hard enough, it actually holds its shape really well, and it *is* tasty...it's not fancy, but it's good.

                                                                                                                                          (a bombe I believe, makes it snooty) :D

                                                                                                                              2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                My mother-in-law added some brown sugar to the almonds on top. God that stuff is heavenly. She'd make it as a pre-dinner appetizer and then scold us for ruining our dinner because we'd be gobbling it up!

                                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                  yes, that reminds me that i've also seen jam or preserves on top, under the almonds and butter, like a thin smear of apricot preserves. it is decadent & delicious. i haven't seen the brown sugar one, but it is the same idea...except one could get a nice little caramel crust thing goin' on top, like brickle. oooh, now think...what about butter brickle on top....now i'm just getting crazy!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                    I haven't donee it in ages but I'd cut the top off the round, a layer of chunky cranberry sauce, then pecans and bake.

                                                                                                                            2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                              We did this in the eighties too, but we'd also roast whole bulbs of garlic, top half inch lopped off, drizzled in oil and wrapped in foil with just the cut side open. Roast the garlic for about 40 minutes at 400 until soft, and it will squeeze out like a paste and is the most divine thing in the world on a buaguette with a smear of that melted buttered brie and some crunchy almonds. Made a nice garnish for the tray, too, unwrapped.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                I remember the roast garlic bulbs. Definitely the 80s.

                                                                                                                            3. And don't forget the Silver Palate Cookbook.

                                                                                                                              1. Have a burger platter and call it the McDLT station. Hot side stays hot..cold side stays cold.

                                                                                                                                1. "80's pasta salad"

                                                                                                                                  spaghetti noodles
                                                                                                                                  salad supreme seasoning from $hi!!ing < [?]
                                                                                                                                  garlic powder
                                                                                                                                  green bell peppers
                                                                                                                                  black olives
                                                                                                                                  tomato sauce
                                                                                                                                  pepperoni slices
                                                                                                                                  mozzarella chunks
                                                                                                                                  salt and pepper
                                                                                                                                  Parmesan cheese

                                                                                                                                  "80's dip"

                                                                                                                                  brick of cream cheese
                                                                                                                                  jar of cocktail shrimp
                                                                                                                                  triskets and wheat thins for dipping

                                                                                                                                  On a platter in the middle pour the jarred shrimp over the room temp cream cheese, surround with the two types of crackers

                                                                                                                                  ***or do the same with the cream cheese only use a jar of favorite store bought salsa and surround with fritos or tortilla chips

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                    salad extreme seasoning from who?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal


                                                                                                                                      back then it was either Shilling or McCormick.
                                                                                                                                      I know it's still made.
                                                                                                                                      it's what gave it that particular flavor....
                                                                                                                                      let me see if I can find a recipe for the seasoning on googlie :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal


                                                                                                                                        sorry Alkapal, it's salad supreme and here's the link.
                                                                                                                                        if it didn't have it in the recipe it wasn't the one everyone was buying/using/transporting to or for parties


                                                                                                                                      2. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                        Oh, the pasta salad brings back memories of the pasta salad my mother used to serve when I was growing up (in the 80s) - it was rotini spirals with sliced raw onion, green pepper, canned black olives, sometimes red pepper and/or sliced pepperoni if she was being fancy, dressed with Wishbone Italian salad dressing. Actually, Wishbone Italian was used a LOT in our house in the 80s - it was the marinade of choice for chicken breast and sometimes even for beef (flank steak, etc.).

                                                                                                                                      3. -Gouda Delight: a round of cheap Gouda wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent roll dough. 350 oven, 20 min. rest, cut into wedges.
                                                                                                                                        -Beadbowl dip: Knoor seasoning w/H2O chestnuts, frozen spinach, and Philly.
                                                                                                                                        -Crab dip: Philly, canned crab, coctail sauce.
                                                                                                                                        -Garbage can fruit punch: New garbage can (or sorta clean bathtub), everyone brings a bottle of booze and fruit (apple, nanner, orange , strawberries, grapes, etc). Throw it all in and imbibe, and wait for the sirens to apear in your noggin; police or EMS that is!

                                                                                                                                        1. Just remembered another thing that went mainstream in the 80's - California Rolls.

                                                                                                                                          1. Every. Single. Thing. Out of the Silver Palate Cookbook, the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, and the New Basics. I have been cooking out of these for ages and it was only in the last year or two that I noticed they were as totally '80s as Hot Tub Time Machine and as fun to read as your Better Homes cookbooks from the '50s and '60s. And the margins of all the Silver Palate books are crammed with party and menu tips. Martha's cookbooks from those days are almost as good (by which I mean funny).

                                                                                                                                            I worked at a very haute restaurant in the mid-80s. Highlights of the menu included cold clam and salmon soup, cold melon soup, fruit sauces on everything, chicken mousse, fetuccine alfredo, and chocolate pot de creme. Also, every tomato on every salad was peeled. Peeled.

                                                                                                                                            As for Knorr spinach dip, man, I still make that a couple times a year. That has no decade. It is timeless.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: dannyola

                                                                                                                                              I think the things you mention sound much more 80s.

                                                                                                                                            2. Since I was born in 1975, there was nothing for me to do at family gatherings in the 1980s……..so the only thing I can remember is the foods of those gatherings…..

                                                                                                                                              Someone already mentioned the friggin’ grape jelly meatballs
                                                                                                                                              Jello moulds with fruit suspended in it……
                                                                                                                                              Bunt cakes with powdered sugar on it….
                                                                                                                                              Wine cheese (ie. Wispride stuff with walnuts on it)
                                                                                                                                              Litpon onion soup mix and sour cream with Ruffles chips
                                                                                                                                              Stuffed Mushrooms
                                                                                                                                              Cornish Game Hens (which I banged out again for a retro Christmas Day this year)….
                                                                                                                                              Salads with those little mandarin orange slices, cheese, walnuts and fruity vinaigrette
                                                                                                                                              Tomato juice cocktail as a “starter”….wtf was up with that?

                                                                                                                                              Those are off the top of my head.

                                                                                                                                              1. I also remember those layered salads. You layered in a tall glass salad bowl peas, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, green pepper, shredded cheese, pepperoni or salami and other stuff and topped it with a cup of mayo and let that sit and the mayo eventually slid down and permeated everything. Weird but it tasted pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                                                                                  There was a lot of crap in the 1980s that was odd but somehow worked......like pegged pants....

                                                                                                                                                  Creme de menth over vanilla ice cream was something that ended up at dinners as well....I can still see the electric green.........

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: River19

                                                                                                                                                    The creme de menthe ice cream thing I made back in the 70s, I believe. Maybe even the early 70s.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                      Was all the rage in the mid to late '60s in my part of Canada.

                                                                                                                                                2. The Big Chill Soundtrack. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was required at every college party I ever went to in the 80s. Big hair, as somebody mentioned above. Neon clothing (yellow and pink went very well together back then....or so we thought). Anything Smurf. Wine coolers. Frozen yogurt. And Reece's Pieces because of E.T. Wasn't that the era of juice boxes, too? Capri Sun?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      and the 2010s, depending on where you are.

                                                                                                                                                    2. This was a go to recipe in the '80's. People gobbled it up. Since your party is in the summer, veggies would be extra good.

                                                                                                                                                      Vegetable Pizza

                                                                                                                                                      2 cans of Crescent Rolls
                                                                                                                                                      2 8 oz, pkgs. of cream cheese
                                                                                                                                                      3/4 C. mayo
                                                                                                                                                      1 Tbsp. dill weed
                                                                                                                                                      1 tsp. garlic salt
                                                                                                                                                      Large can of pitted black olives, chopped
                                                                                                                                                      Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, fresh mushrooms, red bell pepper, onions, cut up into small bite-size pieces
                                                                                                                                                      Grated sharp cheddar

                                                                                                                                                      Unroll Crescents onto ungreased baking pan. Press together at perforations and up sides of pan to form a 'pizza' crust. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 10 mins. Let cool completely. Combine the cream cheese, mayo, dill weed and garlic salt. Spread on cool crust and top with olives and raw veggies. Sprinkle sharp cheddar over top.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: justalex

                                                                                                                                                        WHITE pizza -- I'd almost forgotten about that. Pizza crust, alfredo sauce, sliced chicken breast, and blanched broccoli, then cheese. (not low-calorie, but it was tasty)

                                                                                                                                                      2. homemade tacos was something we ate in the 80s... chicken divan(with velveeta)... powdered iced tea mixes like nestea... mint chip ice cream...

                                                                                                                                                        1. Like we've removed a number of off topic replies from the thread. Please like remember to keep your responses food focused.