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10 Revolting Retro Recipes

Wonder what they were thinking in the 50s & 60s? Never mind that, what the heck were they eating – that’s the question! Maybe all the peace, love and kitsch furniture took its toll, or perhaps our taste buds were simply less evolved back then – either way a lot of the dubious recipes below are a direct consequence of the rise in convenience food, TV dinners and food processing. Whatever the reason, eating prior to the late 70s was more like a test in human endurance than a pleasant means of sustenance. 

So without further ado, here is our pick of the top ten revolting retro recipes we’re happy to leave in grandma’s pantry.

1. Spam & Limas


The only thing worse than eating spam is, we imagine, eating this ungodly combination of spam and lima beans. But back in the 60s this was one step away from a steak dinner, if this fervent bit of advertising is anything to go by.

We love the idea that chucking some tomatoes and onions into this repellent little number is all it takes to spruce it up with a ‘Spanish sauce’. Less ‘ah’ inspiring, more ‘eew’ inspiring.

Ingredients: chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, spam, 1 truckload of lima beans

2. Liver Sausage Pineapple

sausage pineapple

We don’t know what’s more baffling, that people used to eat this or that a human being actually conceived of it. We like to think that someone wanted to soften the blow of eating a mound of pure liver sausage by stylising it in the form of something more appetising. The result is a baffling affront to the senses; a garish pineapple exterior concealing a pile of…liver.

Ingredients: liver sausage, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mayonnaise, gelatine and a vomit bag

3. Jelly “Perfection” Salad


The post-war reliance on canned goods left many with a strange affinity for gooey and gelatinous creations that would have better served as Halloween décor. No better demonstrated than with this wobbly “salad” that someone decided to describe as ‘perfection’, when ‘putrefaction’ might have more been more appropriate.

Ingredients: lime jelly, cabbage, celery, pimentos, peppers, any other vegetables you feel like ruining

4. Ham Banana Hollandaise


“You know what’s really missing in this ham sandwich? Bananas!” – said no one ever. And yet here we have it, the monstrosity that is ham banana hollandaise – apparently a suitable recipe for a light lunch or brunch when accompanied by a green salad. And a hefty dose of utter madness.

Ingredients: bananas, ham, hollandaise sauce, lemon juice, mustard, madness

5. Blue Cheese Mousse

blue cheeseThat doesn’t sound so bad right? Wrong. As with most of these deplorable dishes, copious amounts of gelatine is involved and you’re left with a near-insurmountable mound of Danish Blue Cheese with an eerily waxy finish. Y-u-c-k.

Ingredients: blue cheese, jelly, a devil-may-care diet regime

6. Banana Candle

banana candle

From the enlightened minds who bought you the 1972 cookbook Be Bold with Bananas comes this rather obscene creation that begs the question: ‘were they serious’? And yes, yes they were. According to the authors, the banana candle is just one of many ways you can get creative with your bananas. Others include slathering lashings of mayonnaise onto them and pairing them with salmon…

Ingredients: bananas, pineapple rings, lemon juice, mayonnaise, glacé cherries, your culinary dignity

7. Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters

jellied boull

Another retro recipe that looks (and we imagine tastes) every bit as revolting as the name suggests. Like so many of these regrettable culinary ventures, gelatine is at the party and ruining it for everyone. Take frankfurters, eggs and celery and then imprison them in a wobbly mould of gelatinous hell.

Ingredients: beef stock, gelatine, frankfurters, eggs, celery, sadness

8. Glacé Fish Mould

Glace Fish

Again someone has tried to overcompensate for the lack of taste, nutrition and general enjoyment in this dish by moulding it in the shape of a friendly fish. Look deep into those olive eyes though and you will be confronted with a glimmer of absurd despair, because the only thing worse than fish-shaped jelly is fish-shaped jelly containing tuna and olives.

Ingredients: tinned tuna, pimento-stuffed olives, tomato gelatin, despair

9. Unidentified Green Mush

green mushAttributed to the folds of a 1950s homemaking magazine, this unidentified green mush takes the prize for epitomizing everything that was wrong with the food of this era. Even if all of the ingredients used here were tasty, the bizarre presentation and texture that appears to resemble dog food would be enough to put off even the most adventurous diner.

Ingredients: ???

10. Super Salad Loaf


You know that any recipe starting with ‘Scoop out the centre of a 1 1/2-pound piece of bologna …’ is going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Super Salad Loaf is neither super, nor a salad, though it may still qualify as a loaf (albeit a loaf of tripe filled with peas and mayonnaise). This recipe makes a pot noodle look like a Cordon Bleu masterpiece.

Ingredients: bologna, gelatine, mashed peas, mayonnaise, parsley to garnish (as if that’ll help)

Well that was unpleasant! Which one of these revolting retro recipes would you like to see our talented chefs try and replicate in the Gousto Kitchen?  

For something slightly more promising recipes, check our our 5 Essential Summer Vegetarian Recipes or Quick Dinners: 20 Recipes Ready In 20 Minutes posts.