Party like it's 1974?
March 15, 2006 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Help us party like it's 1974! A friend is throwing a 1974 party (she was born in that year) and my partner and I would like to bring a gift to the party relevant to that year. We've already drawn up an extensive list of '74 references (see inside) but are really missing out on ideas for food and drink.

It's quite likely that there will be lots of inaccuracies in this list as we created it by scouring the web. As we're based in the UK it's quite Britain-centric but I'm happy to see ideas from the USA too.

The key thing is for you to suggest some popular but perhaps kitschy 1974 food and drink items. Other fads and trends are also noticeably absent and could do with a bit of filling in. The party is fancy dress so we have to pick a costume connected to the year as well! Song ideas could be good as we might make her a CD. But if you want to make any other recommendations for the list, feel free.


UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Watergate scandal
Mikhail Baryshnikov defects to Canada
Portugese army overthrows Portugese dictator
Patty Hearst kidnapped by the SLA
Yasser Arafat makes his first appearance before the UN
USA responds to energy crisis by commencing daylight savings time four months early
Last Americans evacuated from Saigon (April 28)
India detonates its first nuclear weapon
UPC barcode used for the first time in a supermarket
US President - Richard Nixon, who resigns that year to be replaced by Ford
Ceefax is launched by the BBC
Lord Lucan disappears
IRA bombs in UK - London, Woolwich, Birmingham
Milgram experiment on obedience carried out at Yale
Sears Tower, Chicago is opened
Last crew of Skylab returns to Earth


The Streak - and streakers
The Wombles - Eight UK top ten hits
String bikinis
Muhammad Ali (Rumble in the Jungle vs George Foreman)
Evel Knievel
Dungeons & Dragons released
Jon Pertwee is the Third Doctor, replaced by Tom Baker in 1974
Sonny & Cher split up in 1974
Pan's People
Screaming Lord Sutch
Package holidays become popular in the UK - particularly Spain
Chiffon, used on capes, ponchos and wraps
Bead chokers
Magna Doodle invented
Lego named Toy of the Year (invented 1933)
First Knebworth Rock Festival held
Amityville - the Defeo murders are committed


Richard Adams - Watership Down
Peter Benchley - Jaws
Stephen King - Carrie
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Joy Of Sex
All The President's Men


Little House On The Prairie
The Waltons (1972-1981)
The Rockford Files
Kojak (1973-1978)
Wish You Were Here...? premieres in the UK
Columbo (1971-78)
Are You Being Served (1972-1985)
John Craven's Newsround (1972-)
Last of the Summer Wine (1973-)
Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974)
The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)
The Partridge Family (1970-1974)
Hawaii 5-0
Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971-1974)
It Ain't Half Hot Mum
Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-1975)


Blazing Saddles
Death Wish
Foxy Brown
The Godfather Part II
The Great Gatsby
Herbie Rides Again
Man with the Golden Gun
Murder on the Orient Express
Night Porter
Odessa File
Parallax View
Sugarland Express
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Sting
Towering Inferno
Young Frankenstein


Mud - Tiger Feet
Suzy Quatro - Devil Gate Drive
Alvin Stardust - Jealous Mind
Paper Lace - Billy Don't Be A Hero
Terry Jacks - Seasons In The Sun
Abba - Waterloo
Rubettes - Sugar Baby Love
Ray Stevens - The Streak
Gary Glitter - Always Yours
Charles Aznavour - She
George McCrae - Rock Your Baby
Osmonds - Love Me For A Reason
Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting
Elton John - Bennie & The Jets
Jackson Five - Dancing Machine
Steve Miller Band - The Joker
David Essex - Rock On
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
Marvin Hamlisch - The Entertainer (Music From The Sting)
Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were
MFSB - The Sound Of Philadelphia
Grand Funk Railroad - The Locomotion
Kool and the Gang - Jungle Boogie
Wings - Band On The Run
Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lose That Number
Barry White - Never Gonna Give You Up
Johnny Bristol - Hang On In There Baby
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Eric Clapton - I Shot The Sherrif
David Bowie - Rebel Rebel
Joni Mitchell - Free Man In Paris
Pink Floyd - Money
Sparks - This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us
Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing - Stevie Wonder
Bill Haley and His Comets - Rock Around The Clock (re-release)


Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
Bob Dylan - Before The Flood
Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
Roxy Music - Country Life
Jackson Browne - Late For The Sky
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Dolly Parton - Jolene
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Randy Newman - Good Old Boys


Duke Ellington
Samuel Goldwyn
Mama Cass
Georges Pompidou
Nick Drake
Ed Sullivan


Kate Moss
Christian Bale
Ian Huntley
Robbie Williams
Victoria Beckham
Penelope Cruz
Andrea Corr
Alanis Morissette
Tim Henman
Joaquin Phoenix
Sara Cox
Denise Van Outen
Nicole Appleton
Ana Matronic, Scissor Sisters
posted by unclemonty to Society & Culture (39 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I suggest a quick look-see through here at some of the vintage cookbooks that Lileks has compiled.

The Gallery of Regrettable Food
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on March 15, 2006

What you need is a great big ol' platter of Hamburger Helper and/or Manwiches.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:37 AM on March 15, 2006

Cheese ball.
posted by Miko at 10:37 AM on March 15, 2006

Try getting a stack of these.

And Tang. Don't forget the Tang.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:39 AM on March 15, 2006

Definitely something involving a jello mold.
posted by empath at 10:41 AM on March 15, 2006

I would suggest anything from a 70's era cookbook, in which every recipe, for some reason, seems to me made with cream of mushroom soup, cracker crumbs, and Jell-O.

Admittedly, this may be a more North American phenomenon.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:42 AM on March 15, 2006

Fondue pot.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:42 AM on March 15, 2006

Also the Circa 1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards, although (sadly) the site owner has never gotten around to actually putting up the recipe sides.
posted by Gator at 10:43 AM on March 15, 2006

Jello! Kool-Aid. those are 2 very US-centric choices.

they're not specifically 1974, but they strike me as very 70s. or maybe its just that I was in kindergarten that year.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:43 AM on March 15, 2006

Vienna Sausages wrapped in Crescent Rolls and baked.
Also find a copy of All American Ads of the 70s. I bet they'll have some ads in there you can reference.

Oh and how about finding a vintage fondue set (burnt orange!)?
posted by DonnieSticks at 10:43 AM on March 15, 2006

Jello pie. I am not kidding--someone brought one of these to the house when my dad died a few years ago. The little crunchy un-cooked Jello bits lingered in my mouth for hours.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:44 AM on March 15, 2006

Combine your costume and food! Dress up as superheroes and bring Hostess snack cakes and fruit pies! (More late-70's than early, maybe)
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:45 AM on March 15, 2006

Crock-pot ANYTHING. More and more women were going out into the workplace, and this was a must-have item.

Also, salad bars started becoming popular in the 70's.

And let us not forget quiche!
posted by konolia at 10:47 AM on March 15, 2006

Try and get a hold of some of those Kraft commercials they used to show during the Carol Burnett show. They always had the grossest recipes, which usually featured things being smeared with Velveeta or peanut butter.
posted by chococat at 10:47 AM on March 15, 2006

I'll third fondue. This article opens with the sentence: "If, like me, you were married in 1974, you likely received at least one fondue set as a wedding gift."

It would be great for a party, as it is a very social and tasty food.
posted by AgentRocket at 10:48 AM on March 15, 2006

Yeah, I think any sort of casserole or fish-molded mousses will be appropriate. I suggest including cut-up hot dogs, tuna, or other readily available pre-prepared meats and calling it some sort of Mystery Surprise Casserole.
posted by mckenney at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2006

Oops, I just re-read your post...the Kraft commercials were pretty North American.
posted by chococat at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2006

Yep, quiche and fondue. So 70s that it hurts.

Also, What to Serve at a 70s Party.
posted by iconomy at 10:51 AM on March 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Reuben casserole (my mom still makes this), or just about anything on this page.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:54 AM on March 15, 2006

Food - black forest gateaux

Where does the long list of 1974 references fit into the party plan? (particularly Ian Huntley and the IRA)
posted by the cuban at 10:58 AM on March 15, 2006

Cheese balls. Busch Beer. Highballs. Fondue. Hamburger Helper. Jello salads with miniature marshmallows. Layered lettuce salad. Sweet and sour pork made with Minute Rice. Grapette grape soda. Quaaludes. $15/oz. marijuana. Drinking and driving. VD was treatable and sex was promiscuous. &tc. Kools and Marlboros, dry hacking coughs.

There was a decidedly different zeitgeist in the first half of the seventies than the second. The first half was really the last gasps of the post '68-sixties.

Republican presidents faced impeachment for breaking the law.

Ah yes, the good old days.
posted by wordswinker at 11:00 AM on March 15, 2006

Instead of something from the 70's, how about something from the 70's such as Interior Desecrations : Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s
posted by Mick at 11:10 AM on March 15, 2006

how about something about the 70's.


posted by Mick at 11:11 AM on March 15, 2006

I definitely think fondue is a good way to go for food. Also, pick up some Tab for drinks/mixers. I envision lots of feathered hair and polyester.

Not that it's from the year, but be sure to include Ryan Adam's song, "1974" (from his Rock N Roll album) on the mix.

p.s. I was also born in 1974 :)
posted by cherryghost at 11:22 AM on March 15, 2006

If you want music like the cool kids, ditch that list of singles. We'd hear that stuff on the radio, but most of it was irrelevant crap (Barbra Streisand!? For real? How about "Knock Three Times" and "Smokin' in the Boy's Room"?) You want LPs, of course, and here's some suggestions:

David Bowie "Space Oddity"
Elton John, "Don't Shoot Me" and "Good-bye Yellow Brick Road"
Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" "Meddle" and "Obscured by Clouds"
Stevie Wonder, "Innervisions" "Talking Book" and "Fulfillingness' First Finale"
Led Zeppelin IV (just put "Stairway to Heaven" on repeat and your 1974 soundtrack is complete)
The Who "Quadrophenia"
Yes "Fragile"

Whatever their records were, by
Bachman Turner Overdrive
Free ("All Right Now")
and Deep Purple ("Smoke on the Water")

Wings, Olivia Newton-John, Abba -- get that crap off the turntable. I'd also hear this when trying to queue up Genesis or Roxy Music. Joni Mitchell, occasiaonally, when one of the girls got to the stereo. They'd also put on Loggins and Messina or Steely Dan.

And -- what to serve? Not Jello, Quaaludes.
posted by Rash at 11:39 AM on March 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Go to Goodwill (or something similar) and get some cheap old furniture. Nothing screams 1974 like avacado green couches and orange lamps. :D
posted by drstein at 11:46 AM on March 15, 2006

Tab, Fanta, Fresca.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:48 AM on March 15, 2006

Don't you all need a good shag? Or maybe something with feathers? Or you could go with the 'fro.
posted by pracowity at 11:51 AM on March 15, 2006

Based on my experiences in 1974, no party would be complete without a hefty supply of ganja. I seem to recall Thai-stick being especially popular. That or some hash.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:59 AM on March 15, 2006


The BBC "I Love 1974" programme is probably a good place to start. You can download this off most BitTorrent sites. The BBC's 70s and 80s nostalgia programmes are way ahead of their US-oriented VH-1 competition... longer (90 mins), more in-depth, and actually gets the subjects of the retro faddish in to talk about themselves or be lampooned.
posted by meehawl at 12:04 PM on March 15, 2006

1974 a la Wikipedia
posted by Sara Anne at 12:52 PM on March 15, 2006

Dang. I had no idea Alyson Hannigan was my age.
posted by Sara Anne at 1:00 PM on March 15, 2006

Friendly Dog Salad

Because Charles Schulz probably threw a legal shitfit over this.
posted by hermitosis at 1:15 PM on March 15, 2006

Robyn Hitchcock has an excellent song called "1974": lyrics link
posted by Eater at 1:42 PM on March 15, 2006

Serve up some Harvey Wallbangers, Tequilla Sunrises, and Boone's Farm Wine. Plus Quaaludes.
posted by tula at 1:46 PM on March 15, 2006

Did you watch Life on Mars? That was a great resource for starting with 70s thinking, costumes, etc, because it deals with a modern-day person going back to 1973 and it's UK. If you didn't watch it, see if you can get hold of even one episode from somewhere. Check out the BBC's Life on Mars site, especially the 'Remembering the 70s' page and the page which compares decades (and has a list similar the the one you've made above).

What you really need to do if you want to find some 70s recipes is to see if you can go to the local charity shop and pick up a couple of cheap 70s women's magazines like Woman's Day. They'll have recipes and more importantly ads which will detail the types of foodstuffs that were popular in the UK at the time - I suspect a lot of the responses you're getting here, while they're great, are very much US-centric.

I don't have many food ideas except for fondue, which really does seem to have been the quintessential 70s thing even here in Australia. For costumes, though, my lingering 70s memories are of ankle-length skirts, halter necked tops and dresses, tight denim for both males and females, large lapels and wide ties, lots of brown, orange and green.
posted by andraste at 3:42 PM on March 15, 2006

1974 was my era. Ice cream drinks were very popular then, served at all the fancy "supper clubs". With names like "The Timbers" and, in my hometown there was "Velzey's Supper Club". The ice cream drinks I most remember were: Pink Squirrel The Grasshopper. The Harvey Wallbanger was also a big drink then. My parents drank Manhattans, which I thought was very sophisticated.

As for food, yes fondue was a big fad then, but the fanciest dinners we had were really thick, super marbled steaks, iceberg lettuce salads with blue cheese dressing, and a baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives. We would then have chocolate fondue for dessert.

Hors d'oeuvre were things like radishes, olives, sweet pickles, and pickled herring in a fancy serving dish. Also, there was the old standby of potato chips, with sour cream and onion dip in the middle.

The only thing I really miss? Iceberg with Bleu Cheese dressing.
posted by generic230 at 4:46 PM on March 15, 2006

You must serve horrid "cocktails" like rum and blackcurrant or brandy and Babycham (my God... can you still get Babycham? If not use any sparkling cidery sort of drink). Prawn cocktail (with bottled thousand island dressing and limp lettuce) should be involved. Little cubes of pineapple (tinned) and cheese on cocktail sticks. Cocktail sausages on sticks. What the hell was it with the early seventies and the word "cocktail"? This has only just occurred to me. Black Forest Gateau, Chocolate Fudge Cake or Banana Cream Pie for afters.

And yes, I lived through it.
posted by Decani at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2006

posted by davidmsc at 7:18 PM on March 15, 2006

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