Do you remember the strange and crazy food of the 50s and 60s? 161



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Flicking through some of the old recipe books of the 50s, 60s and 70s brings back a lot of memories. Back then, our mums didn’t care much for perfecting the presentation, but did like to dabble in some interesting recipes.

While most of the old recipe books have some classics like roast beef, sponge cakes and Ginger biscuits, there are many surprising reminders of how we ate in those far-off days without thinking of heart disease or obesity.

Lard, strange soups, gelatine and meat were all used interchangeably – it was the first type of fusion food!


Below are some other weird recipes from those days….

But first, here’s something we were passed on and just had to share! In the 60s…. 

  • Brown bread was something only poor people ate.
  • Pasta was not eaten in Australia.
  • Curry was a surname.
  • A takeaway was a mathematical problem.
  • A Pizza was something to do with a leaning tower.
  • All potato chips were plain and the only  choice we had was whether to put the salt on or not.
  • Rice was only eaten as a milk pudding.
  • Milk was delivered in bottles and the bottles recycled.
  • Cream came from the top section of the milk.
  • Calamari was called squid and we used it as fish bait.
  • Oil was for lubricating, fat was for cooking.
  • Fat was drained from cooking and kept in bowls and reused.
  • Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves and never green.
  • Sugar enjoyed a good press in those days and was regarded as being white gold. Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.
  • Fish didn’t have fingers in those days.
  • Eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi.
  • None of us had ever heard of yoghurt.
  • Healthy food consisted of anything edible.
  • People who didn’t peel potatoes were regarded as lazy.
  • Indian restaurants were only found in India.
  • Cooking outside was called camping.
  • Seaweed was not a recognised food.
  • “Kebab” was not even a word, never mind a food.
  • Prunes were medicinal.
  • Surprisingly, muesli was readily available, it was called cattle feed.
  • Water came out of the tap. If someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than petrol for it, they would have become a laughing stock.


Grocery shopping

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Dinner time!


Dinner spread 

1960s retrofood

Curried fish in rice ring

curried fish


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Bean bake


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Spinach and egg mold

spinach adn egg mold


Canned veg meal 


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Bavarian cream 


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Jello salad




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Lime walnut cake


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Any guesses what this is?



Feature Image: Huffpost


Tell us, what are your memories of strange foods from the 50s and 60s? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. we ate what we liked, but it was all home cooked, and without the genetically modified food we have today, we didn’t snack on McDonald’s and Pizza and all the other take away food we have today. It was a healthier lifestyle and we walked a lot and burnt it off

    2 REPLY
  2. Mum used to make a minted pea gelatine shape and a canned salmon fish shape for Christmas. Both were vile but the adults loved them. Good thing her puddings were legendary with lots of real money in them. You could do that then.

    2 REPLY
  3. My parents made us eat all sorts of horrible food including spotted dick and custard that wasn’t so bad but tripe tabioka treacle lambs fry yuk hated those

  4. This was the time of the stay at home mum and not many mothers of young children were in the workforce, so they had time to cook. My mother went to work, but she was in the minority among my friends and her cooking consisted of the pressure cooker and lots of yuk food!

    3 REPLY
    • My mum worked. She had to when she became a widow and could not live on the widow’s pittance. But I remember eating well most of the week. Roast every Sunday and the leftovers either in a pie or stew on Mondays. Not sure of midweek except there was always bangers and mash with lots of onions and gravy on one of the days, but Friday was always fish and chips and Saturday was almost always a ham and cheese salad. My mum made beautiful pastry and bread but was not a good cake maker and I am the same.

    • The pressure cooker food was tasteless, but she hadn’t had anyone to teach here to cook, because her mother was hopeless too. Apart from the Sunday roast!

  5. What about the Sunday roast? Leftovers were made into curry …..with sultanas no less !!! I remember food in the 50s was very bland. It wasn’t until I worked in a continental delicatessen that a whole new world of flavours opened up . I think the worst recipe from those days was the ” mayonnaise ” made with condensed milk , vinegar and mustard. And I almost forgot the ” chutney” ; made with plum jam and Worcestershire sauce.

    5 REPLY
  6. My mum always cooked meat and 3 veg, maybe boring for some however better than some people feed their families these days!

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