Cheese Porcupine from Bon Appétit October 1964
This week we are talking about the recipes that defined the decades, the dishes that popped up at every party spread or dinner table across the country for a time, enjoying a brief yet fierce popularity before disappearing almost entirely from our kitchens. No longer popular, no longer cool, they still hold a special place in our hearts (and bellies). We already shared our own take on the recipes that defined the 60s, and now we're asking Amanda Hesser, David Lebovitz and other food writers to share some of their favorite under-appreciated recipes from this and decades past.
What do you miss from the 60s? Green Jell-O? Onion soup dip? Foods shaped like porcupines? Oh, yes — and so many more.
Gelatin molded desserts. While they have become the butt of a number of jokes (mostly due to monstrosities containing everything from hot dogs to peanut butter), you can make a lovely, quivering jelly using wine or fresh fruit juice as a base, and embed fresh citrus slices, peaches, nectarines, or berries in the gelatin and make a gorgeous — and healthy! — dessert, in very little time. — David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen
Chicken Marengo, at its best, is like a rustic Italian dish with a scattering of mushrooms and tomato over well-browned chicken. In the '60s, the Era of Sauces, cooks often mucked it up by thickening the chicken juices with flour. Still, it was served at 34% of all 1960s dinner parties. I made that up, but I bet I'm close. — Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52 and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Pineapple upside down cake, hearts of palm salad and stuffed celery. — Judy Gelman, author of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook
Peaches & Cream Jello (with Schnapps)
Hot dogs slit down the middle, stuffed with Velveeta, wrapped in crescent roll dough, baked in a toaster oven. To me it still symbolizes the great embrace of convenience foods (not yet called processed foods). — Stephanie Weaver of The Recipe Renovator
Chicken à la King, Veal Cordon Bleu, Chicken Kiev, Onion Soup au Gratin, Catalina Salad Dressing, and also this crushed sponge toffee and whipped cream cake my mom made. And bless all the "ladies groups" of the '60s for cookie bars and squares of every description, Hello Dollies leading the pack. — Marcy Goldman, author of When Bakers Cook
Southern strawberry pretzel Jell-O salad, tomato aspic, hamburger casserole, and Waldorf salad: all gems from the '50s and '60s. — Kendra Bailey Morris, author of The Southern Slow Cooker
French Onion Dip with Caramelized Onions and Greek Yogurt
French onion dip with instant onion soup and sour cream...still served at every party that my mom gives. — Rick Rodgers, author of The Model Bakery Cookbook
I still ask my mama to make "porcupines" with ground beef and Rice-a-Roni! — Virginia Willis, author of Bon Appetit, Y'all
What are your favorite underappreciated recipes of the 1960s?
(Image credits: Bon Appetit; Victoria Belanger; Dana Velden)