Courtesy of Kellogg Company Archive
The 1970s were, to put it gently, an interesting decade. It was the decade of polyester and disco, of Watergate and the Iran hostage crisis, of Star Wars and Jaws, of All in the Family and The Muppet Show. It was also a fascinating era to grow up in, and if you happened to spend your formative years during it, we bet you remember these 15 foods.
Black Forest Cake — a German dessert officially called schwartzwälder kirschtorte – has been around for quite a while, but it really caught on in popularity in the U.S. in the 1970s, when it seemed to show up on every restaurant’s dessert menu.
Cheese logs and cheese balls were must-haves at every ’70s party, and they’re actually experiencing a bit of a kitschy comeback nowadays. One of the reasons for their success was their versatility; you could make them with just about anything, as long as it was cheesy. Most, however, involved shredded Cheddar, cream cheese, butter, Tabasco or Worcestershire, and chopped nuts for rolling. They’re still great appetizers to set out during the holidays.
Danish Go-Rounds were introduced by Kellogg’s in 1968, and were similar to Pop-Tarts, except instead of being rectangular they were more spiral-shaped. They were quite popular, but they had one fatal flaw: They broke too easily. So in 1976 they were replaced by Danish Rings, which were flakier and oval-shaped. Sadly, those never quite caught on (even though they sound pretty great) and they were discontinued in 1980.
Finger foods came into serious vogue during the 1970s, and deviled eggs were the perfect finger food. To make them, a home cook just had to remove the yolks from hard-boiled eggs, blend them with mayo and other assorted seasonings, and pipe the yolk mixture back into the halved whites. After a fallow period, they started to come back into vogue about a decade ago, and they’re once again super-popular.
Fondue was one of the biggest food trends of the 1960s, and its popularity continued right through the 1970s. Why? Because it’s the perfect party food: melted cheese in a big communal pot. Once Americans got a taste of it, fondue caught on like wildfire (as did variations like chocolate fondue), and after a period of being considered a novelty, it’s once again super-popular.
“It takes funny people to make funny cereal,” was the tagline for this oddball relic of the hippie era that debuted in 1975, one of the most bizarre breakfast cereals in history. The cereal’s “storyline” was about four characters (named Grins, Smiles, Giggles, and Laughs, naturally) who had to make a robot laugh before it could pop out a box of cereal. It confused children (and their parents) for a few years before being removed from shelves.
Launched by Betty Crocker in 1971, Hamburger Helper served as the basis for millions of home-cooked meals in the 1970s. A box of pasta and powdered sauce, all you had to do was add ground beef for a hearty and convenient (and very ’70s) dinner.
A peanut spread in flavors like cinnamon, banana, vanilla, and chocolate, Koogle was released by Kraft in 1971 and became an immediate hit among children due to its wacky commercials, which featured an oversized jar-shaped puppet with googly eyes and froglike arms and legs. Also, banana-flavored peanut butter? Why isn’t this still around?!
Betty Crocker’s Mug-O-Lunch is just what is sounds like: a mug full o’ lunch. Introduced in 1977 to much fanfare, Mug-O-Lunch was essentially just dehydrated meals (like beefy noodles, chicken and noodles, spaghetti, and mac and cheese) that could be rehydrated with boiling water in a mug.
After appearing as an off-menu special at New York City’s famed Le Cirque in the mid-1970s (and in a subsequent feature in The New York Times), pasta primavera exploded onto the American dining scene, and is today widely regarded as one of the best American culinary inventions of the 1970s. A lightly creamy dish of spaghetti tossed with a variety of vegetables, pasta primavera was representative of a new wave of cooking called Nouvelle Cuisine, which emphasized fresh ingredients and creative presentation over rich and heavy foods; in many ways its influence is still felt today.
If there’s one food that’s synonymous with the ’70s, it’s quiche. Pretentious, vaguely French, perfect for brunch (another ’70s innovation), and dainty but decidedly unhealthy, by the time the ’80s rolled around it had almost become a punchline. But with an ungodly amount of heavy cream, egg, cheese, and bacon, there’s no denying that quiche lorraine is super tasty.
Another totally bizarre, totally ’70s cereal, Sir Grapefellow differentiated itself from the other grape-flavored cereals on the market (of which there were actually several) by being named after a fictional knighted gentleman who enjoyed flying airplanes with no hands. Honestly, we’re more intrigued by the free “air car” inside.
Introduced in 1968 and reaching peak popularity in the 1970s, the original Snack Packs have one main difference from the modern-day ones: they came in metal cans until 1984. There’s something about eating that classic chocolate pudding out of an aluminum tin that just can’t be replicated from a plastic container.
Tiramisu was first invented in Italy in the 1960s and made its way across the pond and onto the dessert menu at every single Italian restaurant in America by the mid-’70s. A layered dessert of espresso-dunked lady fingers, mascarpone, and cocoa powder, tiramisu is still pretty popular, but nowhere near as dominant as it once was.
Zucchini bread reached its peak in popularity in the 1970s, and was one of the first hippie-inspired foods to go mainstream (along with granola). The odds of your mom having made this at some point in the ’70s are pretty high.