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Let’s Cook, 1950s Style

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the overwhelming urge to gather your friends and family for a dinner party of epic proportions - outside, of course. Forego the tried-and-true tropes that generally define an outdoor dinner and kick it up a notch with a 1950's-themed party. Whether you decide to cook everything yourself or organize a potluck, there are a number of interesting recipes you can use to transport you and your guests back to the decade of Spam (you don't have to use Spam, we promise - unless you really want to). 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

One of the most popular ingredients in the 50s was pineapple. Having a dessert that was topped with glazed pineapple was basically the pinnacle of classy. The Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, in particular, was quite the crowd-pleaser. Give it a whirl with this version of the sweet treat from The History Kitchen:


¼ pound butter
1 medium can pineapple
1 cup brown sugar

Melt butter slightly in heavy frying pan. Spread over this the brown sugar and then lay on pineapple.


3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons pineapple juice

Beat egg yolks, add sugar, pineapple juice, flour sifted with baking powder. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour over first mixture and bake in moderate oven. When done place cake plate on top of pan and reverse. Serve with whipped cream. (Pan should be eleven inches in diameter — and three inches deep).

Ham Loaf with Pickle Stuffing

This next dish seems a little odd, but trust me on this one. This is pure 1950's and, yes, it includes Spam. If you're going for an authentic 50s style dinner, you should bust out this bad boy. May I present to you the Heavenly Ham Loaf with Pickle Stuffing:

Meat Layer

2 12-oz. cans luncheon meat (code for Spam)
1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. powdered thyme
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs
2 cups evaporated milk

Pickle Stuffing

2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup fine fry bread crumbs
1 3/4 cups sweet pickle relish

In mixing bowl, shred luncheon meat into bits by running tines of fork over meat. (Or put through food chopper using medium blade). Add the 1 1/2 cups crumbs, seasonings and onion. Mix thoroughly. Beat eggs slightly with a fork, then add 2 cups evaporated milk. Add egg-milk mixture to meat mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pack half the meat mixture into well-greased loaf pan (10 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 3 inches). For the pickle layer, stir mustard into 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Add 1 cup crumbs and pickle relish and blend. Spread pickle stuffing evenly and firmly on meat layer. Pack remaining half of meat mixture over pickle layer. Bake in moderate oven (375˚F) 1 hour and 15 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Peas Juliette

If you can't bear the thought of consuming Spam, another popular ingredient from the 50's was canned vegetables. Serve this unique main course to your guests - Peas Juliette:

1 1-lb. can Del Monte Brand Early Garden Peas
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
3 cups hot cooked rice
1 6 1/2-oz. can chunk style tuna, drained and flaked
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Drain peas, reserving liquid. Saute onion in butter or margarine till tender. Add cornstarch dissolved in liquid from peas. Cook, stirring constantly, till thickened. Add peas and pimiento; heat. Combine hot rice, tuna and cheese. Season to taste. Pack into 1-qt. ring or other simple mold; turn out on hot serving dish. Serve with hot peas mixture, as shown.

While you get ready to head to the supermarket, here are a few other popular dishes from the 1950's. How many of these would you want to try?

Melon ball cocktail
Seafood cocktail

Canapes: Deviled ham, savory mushroom, hot cheese puffs

Sardine and bacon rolls
Marinated mushrooms
Cheese balls

Deviled eggs

Chilled canned tomatoes
Lettuce or mixed salad with sour cream

Vegetables in sour cream
Potato salad (both hot and cold)

Grilled kabobs
Scalloped chicken supreme

Spaghetti with meat sauce
Turkey or chicken casserole with vegetables
Chicken pot pie
Hamburger-olive loaf

Baked beans

Ice cream with cherries

Angel Food Cake

Throwing a 50s dinner party is not just about the food - you've got to ensure you look the part, too. Shabby Apple's aprons will give you the right dash of retro style combined with function (you need to wipe off your Spam covered hands sometime). Try the full coverage Carrot Cake Apron or the half-style Blueberry Pie Apron. Either way, you will not only act like the hostess with the mostest, but you'll look the part, too.

Photo Credits:

50s Groceries: Etsy (

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: The History Kitchen (

Ham Loaf: Hey, My Mom Used to Make That! (

Peas Juliette: Hey, My Mom Used to Make That! (

1950s Supermarket: (

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Jasmin Bollman

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