or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › 1950's-America's Popular Food and Recipes
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

1950's-America's Popular Food and Recipes

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Shawty cat gave me the idea to start a small research on the most popular food and recipes in the States during the 50ies.

These will be very familiar to most of you :)

The fifties have been called the casserole decade thanks to many new varities of canned soups that they were thrown in the market
It was in the 50ies when cooks discovered that creamed soups coud be used not only as soups but as binders in casseroles or as sauces with meat.

The hits in the American tables were tuna-noodle casserole, grean bean bake and hamburger stroganood

The shelves of supermarkets provided the home cooks with all the necessary ingredients to prepare gourmet and foreign cooking which became popular in the 50ies.

Bar b ques became very fashionable along with eating in front of TV

As Sue Dawson mentions

"Swanson's TV Dinner of turkey, stuffing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes cost only 98 cents, was easy to eat on a TV tray and involved no cleanup. For TV parties, California Dip, made from Lipton dry onion soup mix and sour cream, and Chex Mix were as necessary as rabbit ears.

Television's influence reached far. Early in the decade, a commercial on The Kraft Music Hall included a new recipe for clam dip.

Within 24 hours, New Yorkers had cleaned store shelves of canned clams"


I tried to sketch a time line based on articles of Sue Dawson, The Dictionary of American Food and Drink. And the database of Cornell University.

The 50ies Timeline


1950
Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book is a best seller.

1951
Duncan Hines introduced a cake mix.

1952
Saran Wrap rolled out.
Lipton introduced onion soup mix, and dipping would never be the same
The first sugar-free soft drink was marketed.

1953
Eggo frozen waffles and Cheez Whiz went on sale.

1954
Swanson unveiled the first frozen TV dinner.
The first Burger King opened, selling burgers and milkshakes for 18 cents each.

1955
The first McDonald's franchise opened.
Tappan marketed a microwave oven for home use.

1956
The electric can opener began to spin.

1957
Sushi bars came to America.
Pam vegetable cooking spray was patented.
Margarine outsold butter for the first time.
Pink packets of Sweet'n Low appeared.

1959
Haagen-Dazs made life better.


The recipes

CLAM DIP
One of Kraft's most popular recipes, this appeared on a commercial in the early 1950s.

CALIFORNIA DIP
Created by an unidentified California cook about two years after Lipton introduced its dry onion soup mix, this dip spread like wildfire

TUNA-NOODLE CASSEROLE
Campbell Soup created this recipe

BAKED ALASKA
A forerunner of this dessert is thought to date to the early- to mid- 1800s.
The chef at Delmonico's restaurant in New York often is credited with creating the dessert we know today, but it was called Alaska-Florida. In the '50s, Baked Alaska was popular because it was considered elegant, even though it was easy.

CHICKEN TETRAZZINI
Named after the Italian singer Luisa Tetrazzini, this was first mentioned in print in 1951, according to John Mariani, author of the The Dictionary of American Food and Drink. Aspiring gourmets of the '50s could make it with relative ease and impress their guests.
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
I forgot to mention that I can provide you with the historical authenitc recipes of the dishes mentioned above :)

It's just that this forum is not about recipe exchange, that's why I didn't include the recipes
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #3 of 17
Here are a few other things that first made their appearence in the 50's.

1952-Kellogg's Frosted Flakes
1952-Saran Wrap
1954-M&M's peanut candy
1954-Reddi-Wip
1957-Sweet&Low
1958-Coor's created the aluminum beverage can with pull tab
1958-Jif peanut butter
1959-Lipton Instant Tea

A few cocktails invented during the 50's:
-Screwdriver
-Bellini
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
post #4 of 17
Thanks, guys: you have brought up the decade of my childhood, some of which I would just as soon not remember. However, this was also the decade in which these products were introduced:

Rice Chex and Wheat Chex (1950)
Tropicana Orange and Grapefruit juices (1951)
Pepperidge Farm Cookies (1955)
Corn Chex (1958) and
Haagen Dazs (1959)

For those who are interested, this information came from the September 1999 issue of Bon Appetit, subtitled "The American Century in Food".
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #5 of 17
I'm with you Suzanne. Here's more:

1950, Ball-O-Fire gumball
1951, Swanson beef, chicken,
turkey pot pies
1952, fish sticks
1952, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes
1952, Pez comes to the U.S.
1953, Howdy Doody tumbler from Welch's
1954, Butterball turkey
1954, colored appliance (G.E.)
1954, M&M's Peanut Candies
1954, Reddi-wip
1955, Del Monte stewed tomatoes
1955, Kentucky Fried Chicken
1958, Cocoa Krispies, Kellogg
1958, Cocoa Puffs, General Mills
1958, Green Giant canned beans
1958, International House of Pancakes
1958, Pizza Hut (Wichita, KS)
1958, Rice-a-Roni
1958, Williams-Sonoma opens
1959, Frosty O's, General Mills


As for recipes, who remembers the Frosted Sandwich Loaf? :lips:
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's amazing.

You know guys, I used to say to my Greek friends, that USA is 50 years forward in comparison to Greece and 20-30 years in comparison to the rest of Western Europe.

They get very upset when they hear that.

BUT checking the list of Food in the 50ies, my point of view is verified.

Sushi Bars are the the "must" in Athens right now, and the first sushi bar in the States opened in 1957 and the introduction of such food came out of a neccessity of the americam society.
I don't see such a necessity in Athens...
Not to mention that the climate is not so in favour of such cooking practices

Sweet n'Low arrived in our supermarkets last year
Hagen Dagz were available only to the refrigerators of the supermarkets in the Rich subarbs.

Of course I wish that some products have never crossed the ocean but...

If Food is an essential part in forming one's personality -which all of us here have repeatedly agreed that it is- then, it's not difficult to understand what "different mentality means"

Does sweet n'low forms a mentality? Of course not.

But cake mixes or Mac Donalds certainly do :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #7 of 17
Athenaeus,
Though I am proud to be an American chef I do have to agree with you. For every great product the US has produced, it has produced 2-4 products that the world could gladly do without.
Ie:

Cool Whip
Cheez Whiz
Powdered Non-dairy creamer
Chicken Nuggets
Tomatos that last for 1 month on a shelf
TV dinners

The list could go on and on.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Pete.

I wasn't suggesting that the American products of the fifties were good or bad.
In fact we could have lived without them because Food goes with the needs of the societry that produces it.

Globalization and International trade is the reason that we consume the same food although we have different needs as nations. And fashion of course!

I just find amazing how slowly fashion crossed the ocean in case of food.

:)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #9 of 17
I understand. I just latched onto your comment about wishing some foods had never crossed the ocean. I had a good laugh at that, but thought I could take that one step further, and say that I wish some foods had never been invented. Some of these inventions, while conveinent, do nothing to further the culinary world.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes I understand.

I was wondering though, why in that particular period, why the food that today we call "junk" put aside home -made food ?

Was it the extreme optimism of the 50ies?

Was it the enthousiasm of the new techonology and how they were applied in the food industry?
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #11 of 17
America fell in love with industrialization and convience at that time. It was also a time when America was preoccupied by the future. Convience foods were an easy way for the typical American to partake in the future. At that time what could be more futuristic than popping a full dinner in the oven, turning on the TV and 30 minutes later you had a full dinner to eat, with no work involved while entertain came to you. To Americans in the "Atomic Age" convience foods where a symbol of a life of luxury. No work, no mess, just pop a lid and it was ready to go. In many ways it was the death of cuisine in this country, or at the very least set it back years. I am the last person to claim that prepackaged foods are all bad (I love my potato chips, frozen pizza and velvetta:eek: ). But as us Americans tend to do, we take a good thing and beat until it is dead. Thanks to Velvetta and processed cheese our cheese culture in this country died out, only to start to resurface in the last few years. The same has happened with beer, and many other products. Thank God, we finally saw the light, and right now there is a Renaissance going on in America, where we are rediscovering the joys of regional foods and locally produced, handcraft products and foodstuffs.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
post #12 of 17
There was a time when time spent in the kitchen was a bad thing. Eating was seen as a necessary evil. For some, this is still the case. I feel for those lost souls :) I agree with Pete. There was a sense of the future in microwave ovens. They were seen as space age and the answer to all your cooking needs. Fast food as we know it today has grown out of a time honored part of American culture, The Drive In. These are not to be confused with the drive through. Drive ins were places of great socialization.
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
Reply
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
Reply
post #13 of 17
Although the topic is very complex and it's impossible to find a single reason why a behavior appears, I think that one of the reasons why, as Athenaeus said, food fashion crossed the ocean so slowly is the different environment compared to American.

As you know, most Europeans (and mainly mediterranean) cities are basically different from Americans as they have not been planned in a "rational" way, but have grown slowly during the centuries with a process of aggregation which makes them made of many smaller "villages" everyone of which is almost self-sufficient for most services. The distances between different cities are smaller; most places you need to reach are at driving distance; even in the largest cities, most services (shops, banks, schools and so on) are at walking distance.

So, even if the European way of life is getting more and more similar to American ("nuclear" families, people working full time and having lunch out home, great influence of commercials on the consumers' choices and so on) food habits are changing more slowly. Obviously I can speak only for Italy...but most of us spare a lot of time compared to Americans when moving from home to the workplace, or going shopping, so we don't need a big Shopping Centre where to go once a week and buy lots of things which can be stored for a long time. Although fighting more and more against the great distributive system, most food shops in Italy are still small and owned by single families, and sell fresh food as it's still easily available and often cheaper that the commercially produced one.
If I want to prepare a Pizza for my daughter, I have only to walk to the nearest baker (2 mins from home), buy a piece of fresh bread dough, walk to the veggie shop (1 min), buy a can of San Marzano, walk to the grocery shop (1 min), buy a fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, come back home and make my Pizza (5 mins plus baking). Why should I eat a melancholy frozen Pizza, that needs the same time to be thawed in the oven?

Of course, I'm not saying we live in a sort of Eden...we are heavily influenced by the worldwide cultural changes, buy and use goods coming from the great industry much more than we can realize, and this is not necessarily negative. But the different environment we live in gives us a different mind, and different needs which can be overwhelmed only in part by the globalization process.

Pongi
post #14 of 17

Planning 50s Theme Dinner night next week at my work. Looking for different ideas to do that we can make in bulk. We need each dish to serve around 30-40 ppl and are wanting atleast 5 dishes to make sure there is alot to go around. We wnat it to be a little up scale because this is a benifit dinner for a 20month old that just had a kidney transplant. Help her by helping us please. I can re reached at woodjarrod@hotmail.com    Thank you

post #15 of 17

Hi, am planning a 50's party for a friend turning 60, specifically looking for food from 1952, but will consider all 50s ideas.  

post #16 of 17

Don't know that I can get specific to 1952 but take a look at a number of the foods created in the 50's (numerous lists above).  Think convenience foods, jello molds, TV dinners, boxed meals, meatloaf, etc.  If doing a sit down meal create your own TV dinners.  Go to a local restaurant supple store and buy multicompartment alumium pans, make meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed peas and apple cobbler, then dish them up into the pans.  It's a TV dinner but one that actually tastes good.

http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
Reply
post #17 of 17

I also think the house wives wanted to do less work in the house and start experimenting with the screwdrivers and bellini's!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › 1950's-America's Popular Food and Recipes