Trends come and go for everything, from clothing to hairstyles to music. Food is no different, as trends change over time, from meat and potatoes to fat-free,-sugar-free, organic and vegan. In today’s culture, kale salads, roasted vegetables, acai, and Buddha bowls reign supreme. Sometimes a glance back to the staples of yesteryear evokes feelings of warmth and comfort, in all their inorganic, and sometimes highly processed splendor. Take a look back at these foods you may not have tasted in a while. They just might conjure up memories of childhood and home.
17. Baked Apples
This sweet and decadent treat would fill Grandma’s kitchen with the smells of warm fruit, buttery brown sugar, and cinnamon. A variation of this simple dessert involved wrapping crunchy red apples in pastry. Next, Grandma would bake the apples, basting them with a brown sugar sauce to make apple dumplings. Just the thought of hot cinnamon apples brings to mind crisp fall days with colorful leaves, a nip in the air, and the warmth of home.
16. Butterscotch Pudding
Another dessert that may have graced your childhood is smooth, sweet, and creamy butterscotch pudding. This is different from today’s pre-made pudding in a plastic cup. This powdered pudding comes in boxes and is stirred into milk, boiled on the stove, and served warm with a dollop of whipped cream. While the pre-packaged versions still grace children’s lunch boxes today, they can’t compare with the warming, comforting puddings of yesterday.
15. Chicken a la King
Served over rice, pasta, or toast, chicken a la king is a classic dish that can be made with cream of chicken soup, chicken, and canned vegetables. The magical creamed soups make hot meals easy to prepare, creamy, and comforting. Nowadays, you may be more likely to sit down to a chicken pot pie at home or when seeking an old-fashioned comfort meal at a local restaurant.
14. Chicken Tetrazzini
Made with chicken, pasta, mozzarella cheese, and two types of creamed soup, this entrée is packed with creamy flavor—and calories. Somehow, problems seemed to fade away when filling your tummy with this warm and creamy goodness. To evoke the same feelings of warmth and satisfaction, EatingWell has put together a healthier version of Chicken Tetrazzini using spinach fettucini, fresh mushrooms, and no creamed soups.
13. Creamed Corn
Something about cream makes everything taste better—including vegetables. Mom could buy creamed corn pre-packaged in a can, or make it herself using onion, bacon grease, and plenty of heavy cream. This side dish is often served along with fried chicken or Salisbury steak.
12. Salisbury Steak
This slice of meat, named for Dr. James Salisbury, an American physician who studied food and nutrition in the late 1800s, bears little resemblance to a steak. It is made with ground beef shaped into oblong patties roughly the size of a small steak, smothered in gravy, and served with mashed potatoes.
11. Fluffernutter Sandwiches
Fluffernutter sandwiches are made by slathering two slices of spongy white bread with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, then sandwiching them together. This sticky, gooey, highly-processed delicacy could be packed in lunch sacks or enjoyed as an after-school snack.
10. Franks and Beans
This retro dish combines chunks of hot dogs with savory baked beans for a filling main dish or side that may bring back childhood memories. Mom could whip up this treat at home with a can of beans, sliced hot dogs, and sautéed onions, or it could be purchased ready-made in a can. VanCamp’s still makes canned Beanee Weenee in five different flavors: Original, Chilee, Baked Beans, Barbeque, and Hickory Smoked.
9. Frozen TV Dinners
Back in the day, there was something unique about pulling a frozen meal from the freezer. You would heat it and then consume it on a folding metal TV tray in front of the television. Before the days of microwave frozen meals, these dinners came in aluminum trays and were baked in the oven. As a child, you may have enjoyed the little compartments containing goodies like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and a brownie or cobbler for dessert.
8. Jell-O Gelatin
There must be something redeeming about this cool, refreshing treat, since it is still served in hospitals today. Years ago, Jell-O gelatin graced every church potluck and company picnic. It can served plain in fruity flavors like strawberry, lime, orange, and lemon, or dressed up by blending with Cool Whip to make a creamy, fruity dessert. This versatile delicacy can also be combined with fruit or vegetables and chilled in a Jell-O mold to form an amazing, jiggly salad.
Sizzling hot and blanketed in a sweet sauce of ketchup and brown sugar, meatloaf enjoyed a weekly rotation on dinner menus in many homes. If the monthly grocery budget was stretched a bit thin, no worry. Mom would bulk up this meaty dish by blending in bread crumbs, oats, or crushed corn flakes. Served with a side of mashed potatoes and string beans, and followed by a slice of gooey chocolate cake, this meal resonates warmth, comfort, and home.
6. Pigs in a Blanket
Full-size as an entrée or miniature-sized as appetizers, pigs in a blanket are party buffet favorites. This treat is made by wrapping a hot dog in a triangle of crescent dough and baking it in the oven. The crescent dough plumps up and turn golden brown, enveloping the hot dog and ensuring every bite contains salty meat and crispy, warm bread. Cheese can be wrapped up with the hot dog for an added taste treat.
5. Rice Pudding
This creamy dessert is made from milk, rice, and sugar with a dash of cinnamon on top. This simple dessert may be making a comeback, as New York City now has a restaurant called Rice to Riches dedicated to rice pudding. The menu at this restaurant reads like the menu at a trendy ice cream parlor, with flavors like Butterscotch Boulevard, Chocolate Chip Flirt, and Hazelnut Chocolate Bear Hug.
4. Tapioca Pudding
Pudding seems to be a strong favorite among comfort foods, with creamy goodness that evokes memories of childhood. Tapioca pudding is pudding with a twist, as pearls of tapioca provide texture to this creamy dessert. Nowadays, you are more likely to find these starchy pearls at the bottom of your glass of bubble tea.
3. Tater Tot Casserole
Tater tot casserole may be another dish that had a starring role in your childhood weekly dinner rotation. Ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and mixed vegetables topped with a crispy golden layer of tater tots provide all four food groups in one savory dish. You could spear a tater tot off the top to enjoy on its own or scoop up a spoonful of meat, veggies, and potato all at once. Hot and delicious, this is another potluck favorite that hasn’t been seen as much lately.
2. Tuna Noodle Casserole
Tuna, noodles, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese combine to make another warm, creamy, comforting dish. Mom could toss in some leftover vegetables and top it with a crunchy breadcrumb crust for added flavor. For a steaming plate of comfort, try Self Proclaimed Foodie’s recipe for Healthy Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole. This recipe utilizes fresh vegetables, whole wheat pasta, and Romano cheese while skipping the highly processed can of creamed soup.
1. Tomato Soup with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich
A steaming bowl of tomato soup paired with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich forms the perfect comforting meal after a day out in the rain or snow. A meal made from canned tomato soup and two slices of white bread fried with a slice of processed American cheese is simple yet delicious. This old standby has had some recent upgrades, and now you can enjoy a cup of tomato bisque served with grilled panini and gruyere cheese. Or try this recipe by Honest & Tasty for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Rustic Tomato Basil Soup.