70s-themed dinner
January 10, 2014 5:25 AM   Subscribe

What food items could be made for a cheesy, funny 70s themed dinner?

For Thanksgiving we brought a turkey shaped cheese ball. Now, they are coming to our house for dinner. What other food items could fall into that funny-but-at one-time-really-was-made category? I think the 70s were a boon for these type of food items but I'm not married to that era in particular. Chipped beef? Crazy drinks with little umbrellas? Kooky fondue? Any suggestions appreciated especially if there is a recipe or link attached. Thanks!
posted by notcomputersavvy06 to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Fondue was all the rage in the 70's.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:28 AM on January 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

A timely Buzzfeed post. So really, lots of Jello-O and molds.
posted by supercres at 5:28 AM on January 10, 2014

I remember hearing a lot about Baked Alaska in the 70s. I don't really hear of it much now.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:33 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Crêpe Suzette.
posted by three blind mice at 5:33 AM on January 10, 2014

Watergate Salad.
posted by chavenet at 5:36 AM on January 10, 2014

Pick from any of one of these abominations.
posted by jquinby at 5:38 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Tuna noodle casserole made with cream of mushroom soup.
American chop suey (which was known in my house as "Glop").

I was a kid in the '70s and we really ate this stuff, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, broiled chicken, and my mom's homemade bread. A lot of the recipes in that Buzzfeed link look to me more like '40s to '60s.
posted by underthehat at 5:38 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well, rats - there are pics in my link but no recipes. A flickr pool shows people trying to actually make the stuff, though.

It might be a little retro for the 70's, but Polynesian-themed stuff can be hilariously bad, since it generally amounted to tossing pineapple and/or ham onto something else.
posted by jquinby at 5:41 AM on January 10, 2014

Mac and Cheese (from the famous blue box)
Pigs in a blanket
Swedish Meatballs
posted by HuronBob at 5:46 AM on January 10, 2014

Duck l'orange was the height of fashionable high-end cuisine in the 70s.
posted by General Malaise at 5:47 AM on January 10, 2014

Whatever you do, serve it in wooden plates and bowls.
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just so you know, salad bars came into existence in the Seventies.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:58 AM on January 10, 2014

Julia's Chocolate Mousse. Bonus--SO, SO tasty!

'70's drinks were Tequila Sunrise, Harvey Wallbanger and Sangria. To serve with dinner, Mateus. Or heaven forbid, Reunite on Ice (that's nice).
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:00 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two appitizers that went over amazingly at parties (in a 'hahaha, that is so 1970s...can I have more?' way) were sweet and sour meatballs (in a ketchup and pineapple sauce) and bacon-wrapped water chestnuts (simply wrap whole chestnuts in bacon slices and the bake, brown sugar glaze optional).
posted by hydrobatidae at 6:01 AM on January 10, 2014

Pineapple hedgehog. For extra classiness, add maraschino cherry nose.
posted by HeroZero at 6:03 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My folks had an avocado green electric fondue pot with a collection of wooden-handled, color-coded fondue forks they dragged out for Every Single Party, along with pitchers of red and white sangria and milk-based cocktails like Grasshoppers and White Russians. (Then we'd be whisked off to the neighbors' or Grandma's before the guests started showing up. We weren't allowed to do fondue, because my mom was convinced we'd set ourselves on fire and/or stab our eyes out with the fondue forks.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:08 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

The thoroughly enjoyable 1970s episode of The Supersizers Go (BBC historical food tv show) has a couple of well-researched period menus, plus historical commentary and style inspiration.
posted by Bardolph at 6:11 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Pineapple upside down cake.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:29 AM on January 10, 2014

One of my friends is dating a guy, whose (very nice!) mother is still cooking from the same cookbook she acquired in the 70s. Two memorable dishes that Mom has caused my friend to endure:

-Some kind of baked beef loaf, that is saturated in rosemary, but has no other discernible spices or salt.

-Baked butternut squash halves filled with cottage cheese. No other sauces or seasonings.
posted by Coatlicue at 6:34 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My favourite seventies appetizer--which I confess I still love-- is ripe avocado halves filled with shrimp or crab salad. You can also use crumbled blue cheese, or goat cheese, but I can't vouch for the authenticity.

Also, anything on top of a Ritz cracker screams seventies to me, especially if a dollop of Miracle Whip is involved.
posted by rpfields at 6:46 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Fondue is retro and also tasty! A quick google turns up this recipe which matches my memory of the best cheese fondue ever. I may not have used the nutmeg, but the kirschwasser definitely helped with the flavor.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:07 AM on January 10, 2014

Mock Chicken in a cob loaf for dipping into whilst enjoying sherry beforehand.
posted by h00py at 7:12 AM on January 10, 2014

Anything in a fondue, definately yes. But I'm sorry to say, Jell-O molds and tuna casseroles are more sixties if not fifties. All Ruthless Bunny's drink suggestions are great, though, as well as lots of pineapple all over the menu.

And don't forget the decor: lots of avocado green, with brown, orange and yellow accents. Think big simple patterns --- Pucci's designs would be great. If you can find one, a brass or bronze colored fondue pot would be preferable to a stainless or steel colored one.
posted by easily confused at 7:14 AM on January 10, 2014

I lived through the era and survived, and while everybody's parents had a set of fondue pots, I never saw one used - fondue was more of a sixties fad. Quiche, preferably a simple one with somewhat unimpressive cheese, was the dish everybody brought to parties. Greek recipes were the adventurous home maker's idea of ethnic food, especially for appetizers. Pasta Primavera was a rage in restaurants, a dish that had no connection to anything traditionally prepared in any part of Europe. Alice Waters' recipes from Chez Pannisse were widely copied, particularly the forty clove garlic baked chicken. For veggies there are the classic Moosewood Cookbook (Rule #1: Add cheese. Now add more cheese!) and just about anything macrobiotic using millet. I grew to hate millet. Everybody grew to hate millet.

You may want to look at The United States of Arugula by David Kemp. It is a history of the Foodie phenomena, particularly in the 60s and 70s.
posted by zaelic at 7:36 AM on January 10, 2014

Oh, and curried rice pilaf. Boil rice, add non-animal bits, make it yellow with curry powder. Horrid stuff.
posted by zaelic at 7:39 AM on January 10, 2014

Shrimp cocktail, preferably with jumbo shrimp
Chow mein -- Chinese food was still new and exotic in the 70s
posted by hydrophonic at 7:39 AM on January 10, 2014

It might be a little lowbrow, but Hamburger Helper was new and exciting in the 70s. Also, microwaves became really popular then, so something cooked in a microwave would be good.
posted by TedW at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should just make what I had for dinner at my mom's a couple of weeks ago. She still makes the same things she did in the 1970s. We had pork chops, sauerkraut, and jello salad.
posted by interplanetjanet at 8:06 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just came to say serve chilled vermouth. Over ice. With a twist of lemon. None of this fannying about making martinis. Drink it like Burt Reynolds would have done.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:24 AM on January 10, 2014

Early 70's: Canned ravioli. Canned Chinese food. Rice Krispie squares. Bologna sandwiches on white bread with mayonaise. Macaroni and cheese. Anything with avocados - they were new and exotic. (In my family that meant guacamole.) "Spanish" rice.

Later 70's: Anything made on a grill, like burgers and chicken drumsticks. Baked potatoes with fixings were becoming a thing. Salad bars were basic, but a novelty. Sweet and sour chicken. Beef stroganoff. Sour cream and chive potato chips. Michelob beer was considered fancy. Screwdrivers. And in some circles, pot brownies.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:00 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Salad made with iceberg lettuce, cucumber chunks and tomato wedges. Bottled Thousand Islands dressing.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:07 AM on January 10, 2014

Don't forget the key bowl! ;)
posted by feistycakes at 9:42 AM on January 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Apparently they still make and sell Riunite wine, which is so nice on ice for a 70's themed party because it was one of the most widely available and thus the most popular wine of the 70's - not that other companies didn't try to get in on the popularity with their own marketing campaigns.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:53 AM on January 10, 2014

Every once in a while the cooks at Bad Jelly make something that doesn't taste horrible.
posted by dizziest at 10:06 AM on January 10, 2014

I recall lots of Spam and RiceAroni, unfortunately.
posted by cestmoi15 at 10:15 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Blue Nun wine was all the rage, although it appears it's no longer the sweet thing it used to be. A Liebfraumilch would be an appropriate replacement.
posted by blob at 11:24 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My mom used to make a "salad" consisting of a canned pear half with a dollop of Miracle Whip in the dimple of the pear, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and paprika on top of a single leaf of iceberg lettuce. Magnificent!
posted by bfootdav at 11:35 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you seen this foodtimeline? It looks really fun.
posted by Blitz at 1:07 PM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

They are called alligator pears, and they're all the rage.
posted by klangklangston at 1:18 PM on January 10, 2014

Oh, oh... California Dip! I loved this stuff when I was a kid. Apparently it was invented in 1954 but my mother made it for parties in the 70s.

Chicken ala King... sounded French and fancy, basically shredded chicken, mushrooms and pimento in a creamy sauce served over toast, rice or in a fancy pastry shell. Delicious!

Also, Chicken Divan.

Spray cheese on Ritz crackers as an appetizer. Use the decorative nozzle to make the pile of cheese look nice and accent it with a slice of green olive with pimento.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:57 PM on January 10, 2014

This is really challenging even my tendency to romanticise what the 70's may have been like! Great idea for a night. You need to watch Abigail's party - a Mike Leigh amusing social commentary on the rise of the ?? upper working class/nouveau riche.. it's all gherkins and olives. Enjoy.
posted by tanktop at 5:19 AM on January 11, 2014

Oh, gosh, yes, quiche!!!!! It really was a seventies thing.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:44 AM on January 11, 2014

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