Retro food is getting cool again – Rochester Minnesota news, weather, sports


Here we are, on the cusp of a new year with many of us looking back on the past year.

It got me thinking about foods from the past and even products we hardly see anymore, like the Beemans and Black Jack gum display at HyVee last week – a blast from the past.

They belong to a category of food that historians call “retro”.

While we also use the term in reference to the fashion of 20-30 years ago, the same goes for culinary things.

As we know, food trends and products come and go. When was the last time you had a fondue?

Generally speaking, retro foods were – are – less complicated and more familiar with not hard to find ingredients, much like what you might find at a church potluck. Kale wouldn’t show up.

Think molded salads, creamy soup stews, grape jelly meatballs. A quick browse through any church cookbook will introduce you to Retro Lane.

What’s interesting is that many of these foods are cooked again, or even with modifications – fat-free, low-fat, sodium-free, fresh rather than canned.

At the very least, the past 20-30 years will be seen as the healthiest generation with a variety of diets, like Vegetarian, Vegan, and Keto diets and the farm-to-table movement.

Once you start thinking about what was popular 30 years ago, here are a few things you probably had:

  • Lipton Onion Soup Dip.
  • Anything on a stick (not counting the State Fair).
  • A sweet salad.
  • Pop Tarts.
  • Twinks.
  • Spaghetti casserole.
  • Spaghetti-o’s.
  • Pineapple upside-down cake.

It was a surprise to me until I learned that it was introduced in 1926 and won a cake contest decades later in the 1960s. This victory brought it into the mainstream. cake until the 1990s. Interestingly, it now appears on restaurant dessert menus. Like so many foods, its popularity goes up and down.

One of the wackiest things I’ve seen on this topic lately was on TikTok, led by a granddaughter. The personality is B. Dylan Hollis and his specialty is cooking retro recipes found in everything from church cookbooks to 1950s recipe brochures.

Among the things he’s cooked up are a Peach Spam Bake, Corn Cookies, Amish Lard Cake, Fried Cookie Dough, Chip Cookies, and a Jell-O 7-Up Salad.

While browsing a gift shop a few weeks ago, I came across a Retro Recipes book from the 50s and 60s. Included were three salads that seemed like more of a dessert – Strawberry Bretzel, Ambrosia, and Watergate Salad. They were loaded with whipped topping or whipped cream, canned fruit, and mini marshmallows.

Speaking of desserts, this author recalled a favorite – the Baked Alaska made with a pound cake, a scoop of ice cream and topped with meringue which is then browned with a blowtorch. culinary cuisine. (Rather than having it, go to Prescotts and order it. Much easier.)

Foster bananas and Jubilee cherries were also on the vintage list. I hope the list makers leave the crème brûlée alone. I would hate to see that go away.

Want to try some retro recipes? Here are three.

GOULASH from the 50s

1/3 plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup beef broth (or water)
2 15 oz. tomato sauce cans
2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 cups uncooked macaroni

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and sauté until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, onion and the rest of the olive oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves and seasonings and mix well. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the uncooked macaroni and stir until combined. Cover again and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

1 24 oz bottle of barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cup grape jelly
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
3 pounds. frozen meatballs

Coat interior of slow cooker lightly with cooking spray. Add barbecue sauce, grape jelly and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Add the meatballs and toss to coat completely. Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high power or 8 hours on low power. Pour onto a serving platter and insert a toothpick into each meatball. Ideal for a New Year’s Eve.

Salad or dessert? You decide.
1 12 oz can crushed pineapple with juice, undrained
1 3.4 oz pkg. pistachio instant pudding mix
1 cup of mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped pecans
1 8 oz. container of whipped, thawed topping plus more for garnish
Chopped pecans for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the crushed pineapple, pudding mix, marshmallows and pecans. Stir in the whipped topping. Pour into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or more. Garnish with additional whipped topping and chopped nuts, if desired. Slice or put portions on plates. If you are using it as a salad, put each serving on a few lettuce leaves.

Post Bulletin food editor Holly Ebel knows what’s coming. Send comments or story tips to

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