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1950's appetizers

Friend is having a party themed 1950's and asked me to come up with some appetizers. I wasn't going to cocktail parties in the '50s so am not
sure what will fly. Little smoked sausages in barbeque sauce, chicken liver pate, but what else? Need about 6 more if you 'hounds can supply
the ideas. Thanks in advance.

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        1. There's always that grapefruit that is made into a porcupine with all those feathered toothpicks with cheese,meat and maybe a grape on them. Be authentic.use Spam!.lol

          And ..GAWD forbid!.....anything in Jello!

          1 Reply
          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

            Oh, I've never seen a grapefruit done that way. Only pineapples, and what a disturbing sight it is too. olives and celery stuffed with various cheese and dips, wrapped in bacon and broiled, then skewered and jammed into a pineapple.

            Also stuff on crackers. Cheese wiz on spam with another olive or cocktail onion nestled on top. And dip made with sour cream, cream cheese and onion soup mix. Finally there is the all time classic chex mix. Yes, we used to make that from "scratch" instead of buying it already mixed.

            One thing that was common, but not so much any more that I do miss is a good relish tray. This was before they called them crudities. Of course there must be a bowl of the lipton onion soup dip in the middle.

              1. Chicken livers wrapped in bacon, skewered with toothpicks, and cooked under the broiler.

                9 Replies
                1. re: kcshigekawa

                  Don't forget the slice of water chestnut inside.

                    1. re: sandylc

                      I don't think my mother ever knew that water chestnuts existed! But it does sound good.

                      1. re: kcshigekawa

                        All of the rumaki that I ate in the sixties had water chestnuts in them...

                    2. re: kcshigekawa


                      I had a negative childhood experience with Rumaki. I was about 7 years old and my family traveled to Minneapolis to attend a Minnesota Vikings game in December. The game was played at the old Met Stadium and it was cold (I remember wearing 2 snowmobile suits.)

                      Anyway, my father owned a radio station that broadcast the Vikings games and there was a cocktail party for the broadcast affiliates in the hotel at which we were staying.

                      The Vikings GM had a conversation with my father at the cocktail party, and when he found out my father's three boys were upstairs in a hotel room, he had a tray of hors d'oeuvres sent to our room. I saw the tray of food and got excited about the bacon speared with a toothpick. I was excited until I actually put it into my mouth.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          You might remember the Vikings GM during the early glory years of the Minnesota Vikings. The GM was Jim Finks. The game in question was in the early 70s at the height of the Purple People Eaters.

                          Anyway, I did not like chicken livers then, and I'm not a fan of them now. I looked at the bacon on a toothpick and thought "bacon!" and was rewarded with chicken liver and water chestnuts.

                          I remember the guy sitting in front of us had a Schmidt beer bottle 'popsicle'.

                          I just looked it up, the temperature was 18 above, but the windchill was 3 above. The memory I have makes it seem colder than it really was.

                          What I do remember were the Vikings scarves, stocking caps, ponchos, and other paraphernalia we got to keep.

                          1. re: John E.

                            Great memories, despite the horrible liver...!

                            Don't remember anything Vikings - I actually didn't grow up here! And, not a football follower....

                            Snow predicted for three days this coming week.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              I forgot that you were a Hoosier during the Purple People Eater years. Although I was quite young, I remember those failed Super Bowls to this day.

                              The only other story I remember from that game is that another broadcaster had a thermos with brandy in it. The owner of that thermos asked the waitress at the hotel to put hot water into the thermos (hot toddies?). Anyway, when the guy opened his thermos at the game when the windchill was 3 degrees, he discovered the waitress rinsed it out.

                              The lines at the restrooms were quite long as well.

                    3. Onion dip--Lipton's packaged stuff combined with sour cream and/or cream cheese

                      Shrimp on toothpicks with that ketchup/horseradish cocktail sauce

                      Rumaki--chicken livers with water chestnuts, wrapped together in bacon, then grilled

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: femmevox

                        Rumaki! Betty Draper on Mad Men made it.

                      2. Swedish meatballs, deviled eggs

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Coribdx

                          Made a LOT of the swedish meatballs- everyone goes for seconds!

                          1. I recalled seeing some hideous looking savory Jello molds formed in bundt cake pans in my moms old cookbooks. They had like Spanish olives and lunch meat in them. They probably taste like crap, but would be funny to include.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Atomic76

                              I have an old Jello recipe pamphlet. The savory recipe relied on Jello flavors that are no longer available but I bet a good duplicate could be made using Knox gelatin and broth. I see one recipe uses lemon jello and v8 juice for an aspic.

                              But I don't think the jello molds were served at cocktail parties. It was things more like wedges of bologna spread with a creamed cheese filling.

                            2. Relish tray with fat black olives, radishes, celery.

                              1. French Onion dip and devilled eggs were the first two things that came to mind.

                                1. My charleston jr league cookbooks focus on seafood....crab dip, lobster puffs, shrimp bites, chafing dish oysters, seafood tarts

                                  Also musts. ...cheese straws, deviled eggs, any thing wrapped in bacon, cheese balls, stuff stuffed in celery

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: LaLa

                                    As a spectator at cocktail parties of the late 1950s and early 1960s, I can vouch for all these.

                                    Nothing wrong with some cheese straws and deviled eggs, along with a few celery stalks and endive leaves to hold seafood something. The classics live!

                                      1. re: MrsJonesey

                                        I've got the perfect excuse. We're invited to good friend's home for supper tomorrow. She's making pulled pork sandwiches and put me in charge of deciding/bringing "sides". Potato salad was already on my list, this will be fun to try - love the decoration.

                                          1. re: MrsJonesey

                                            Not that one, due to the salmon/herring, but I'll look for others.

                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                              Smörgåstårta is one of my all-time favorites! You can totally bypass the fish and go with ground meat salad spreads and cheese spreads for the layer fillings. Google the term with the diacriticals and you'll get a lot of decorating ideas. Very fun party dish: it's delicious, beautiful and mockable all at the same time! ;-)

                                              1. re: cayjohan

                                                i'd be happy to chow on that one pictured!

                                          2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                            I posted the photo of my version of the potato salad decoration over on WFD discussion - here's the link

                                            We decided to forego the glaze and because my loaf of potato salad was only half as tall as the one in the ad photo, we put the radish flowers on top. When served, the loaf did not slice - we decided that you'd need much smaller dice on the potatoes and probably more dressing to get it to work. Still a fun presentation.

                                            The radish flowers took patience and a steady hand - my cooking pal was much better at it than I am. The key is to carefully make 5 or 6 very thin carved peels that follow the curve of the radish, leaving them attached at the base. Then lay the radish on the cutting board and slice each peel section into 3-4 small petals.

                                            1. re: MrsJonesey

                                              Oh dear God, brings back memories (shudder). Grandma's bridge club. That salmon shortcake was enough to make me gag just looking at it, mostly because I remember how it smelled.

                                              1. Stuffed cherry tomatoes.

                                                  1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                    I. Actually. Made. This. For a neighbor's retro party. What I didn't really expect was how much people loved it -I am a liverwurst fan, but I know not everyone shares my affection. That crowd did, and the whole thing was eaten.

                                                    One thing: I had a devil of a time getting the liverwurst to stay molded around the jar - no amount of chilling prevented the slow slide into a lumpy liverwurst skirt around the jar's base. I finally scrapped the jar and just molded the liverwurst into a loaf, so the whole thing ended up looking like a half-pineapple, cut side down, then went to town with the fancification. It was pretty cute, really.

                                                    1. re: cayjohan

                                                      I read the instructions on "building" this thing, but I can't figure out how one would server or eat it? it doesn't seem to make sense! Your solution sounds sensible.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        I made it too, and I agree - it is pretty tasty! You serve it by cutting bits off and spreading on crackers, kind of like a giant cheeseball, Take your pictures first, then let people dig in.

                                                    2. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                      I am sorry that you had trouble with the pineapple assembly! I am mightly impressed at your work around!Your way is better! Loaf, half pineapple, done!

                                                      1. Tomato aspic. Or anything with canned tuna.

                                                        1. Deviled eggs, for sure…and I went to a '50's cocktail party years ago…not sure how authentic this was, but it sure was pretty…

                                                          Boil tiny new potatoes untill just done, cut in half and scoop out a bit of the center, and fill with creme fraiche (or sour cream). Top with caviar.

                                                          1. Just remember that just because it might be out of style doesn't mean that it can't be delicious...

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. You should look up the Madonna Inns website, and check out their dinner menu…I ate there once and found it to be very much a throwback in time...

                                                              1. I was too young to remember the 50's, but since my parents always served shrimp cocktail in the 60's, it must have been just as popular in the 50's....and before.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: EricMM

                                                                  Shrimp cocktail, definitely. Mom made ours with those itty bitty north Atlantic shrimp, pre-cooked and frozen of course, thawed and dumped into the cocktail sauce (made of ketchup, lemon juice, and prepared horseradish). Spooned onto Ritz crackers and devoured.

                                                                2. How about dried beef spirals?

                                                                  Mix onion juice and minced chives into softened cream cheese. Flatten out thin sheets of dried beef (the kind in a little jar, like you'd use for creamed chipped beef), spread with the cream cheese and roll up, then slice into little rounds.

                                                                  I remember these fondly from my childhood.