Top 10 Once Popular Foods That We All Stopped Eating
Food crazes come and go, and unfortunately, that means that some of our favorite foods tend to disappear. Some leave us completely, while others just become harder to find. Now, we’re not saying these foods have completely disappeared, but they have definitely declined in sales and popularity. Some of these foods are beloved childhood staples, while others are dishes that we associate with our grandmothers or the times of the past. Either way, we’re taking a look at some of these foods that just aren’t as trendy anymore (and wishing some of them would come back).
10. Cherries Jubilee
This sweet dessert staple has basically vanished. It’s one of those old-timey desserts that was popular until the 1960s. Essentially, the dessert is a cherry sauce over ice cream. For the cherry sauce, cherries are flambeed with sugar and a liqueur. Usually, the liqueur is kirschwasser or a plain brandy. Then, this sauce is poured over the ice cream. When it was served in restaurants, it would often come to the table while flaming. Now, of course, this dish would taste best with fresh cherries, but people began to use canned cherries when they began serving it in larger quantities. Any food that comes in a spectacle like this usually gets our vote, but it seems as though the magic has died out. According to some sources, the dish became a bit of an overkill once people started eating and serving it all the time, using lesser quality canned cherries, making it less exquisite and more mainstream. Cherries jubilee actually has a royal history behind it. The dish was invented in 1897 in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee by a man named Auguste Escoffier. In his signature cookbook, “Le Guide Culinaire,” published in 1903, he listed the original recipe for “Cerises Jubilee.” This recipe consisted of a sauce made with cherries and Kirsch, with the option to use a red currant jelly if making the syrup wasn’t feasible. However, his original recipe didn’t include vanilla ice cream. We’re assuming someone just thought this would be a great combination, tried it, and the world never looked back.
Those who had parents who loved to bake or who grew up on the home-cooked comfort meals of the south are very familiar with Crisco. A staple of many kitchens, Crisco was introduced in 1911 as an alternative to lard in cooking. It was made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which allowed the company to claim that it was made from vegetables in their original advertising campaigns. This ends up with crystallized cottonseed oil, the reason for the name. In fact, Crisco was actually first used to make candles and other items typically made from lard, before it was ever considered a food staple. And it became popular. People used it for everything, from frying fish to baking flaky pie crusts and even spreading it on toast. By the mid-1990s, people began to care more about the foods they were putting into their bodies. They realized that trans fats were dangerous, and pointed the finger at fatty foods as the culprits of heart disease. Artery-clogging fatty foods are no longer the norm in American households, at least not on a regular basis. People today have started to kick the processed fats habit and turn to healthier alternatives for their baking needs. At one point, Crisco did alter its recipe to try to keep up with the demand for healthier foods. They decided to remove the trans fats and reformulate to a recipe that blended hydrogenated soybean and palm oils, which have saturated fats but contain less than one gram of trans fats. However, these hydrogenated oils are still a no-no according to most health standards.
8. Gelatin Salads
Back in the 1960s, gelatin salads were all the rage. People may think this is gross, but it was a major thing back in the day. Also known as a congealed salad, a gelatin salad basically consisted of a variety of food items, from vegetables to cheese and olives, and even tuna, encased and chilled in a Jell-O mold. Part of the earlier advertising campaigns for Jell-O promoted these salads as a great way for the housewives of America to preserve leftovers and encourage their children to eat their veggies. During the Great Depression, this was a popular idea for people to stretch their rations as far as they could. By the 1960s, gelatin salads appeared everywhere, from family dinners to local potlucks, festivals, and public events. In fact, they were so popular that Jell-O actually released a bunch of savory flavors, such as tomato, Italian salad, and celery, to be used for these concoctions. The reality is that there are a few possible reasons we don’t eat gelatin salads anymore, with the fact that they resemble alien brains being a major influence. All joking aside, casing everything you eat in gelatin isn’t really a big thing anymore because a fresh variety of foods became more appealing. People began to try to cut down on processed foods and sugars, and opt for more nutritious meals instead. Another reason is that American housewives started leaving the home and working for a living, meaning they didn’t have as much time to prepare gelatin salads and have them chill until dinner. You can definitely still find a gelatin salad at a family dinner if you live in the south. Coca-cola salad, which is basically Jell-O made with Coca-Cola with some cherries and nuts thrown in, is actually still decently popular. But the days when there would be at least five vegetable-based gelatin salads on the table are gone.
This Swiss mealtime tradition was really trendy in America in the 1970s. Fondue parties were a staple in many households and communities, especially when the first chilly winter nights hit. Sitting around a piping hot bowl of cheese with crusty bread or other items ready to dip was the perfect way to bond. And if you wanted a dessert version, chocolate fondue was right there ready to go. However, while Switzerland is still sitting around their cheese bowls, dipping their crusty bread in that gooey goodness, America just isn’t doing it anymore. As much, anyway. There’s no real explanation as to why this fad started to die out. Perhaps too many people were double-dipping? A more realistic explanation is that in a world where fatty foods and carbs are the devil, it’s no surprise this isn’t a common thing anymore. Sure, you can still enjoy a great piping hot bowl of fondue these days. Some restauranteurs have actually tried to bring the trend back by putting a modern spin on it, like seafood dishes and gourmet dessert fondues. But chances are you won’t be getting invited to any fondue dinner parties like you would have back in the 1970s. Just walk into any thrift store and you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one or two fondue sets sitting on those shelves.
6. Sunny Delight
Oh, good old Sunny D. Who didn’t love this sweet, citrusy drink as a child? Just looking at that bottle brings back so many nostalgic feelings. However, it’s beginning to look like this drink is exactly that: nostalgia. Many children today aren’t experiencing that daily sugar rush anymore. The reason we don’t really drink Sunny D anymore is obvious. People today are way more concerned about the number of sugary drinks we consume and how those drinks are linked to childhood obesity. While parents originally thought they were giving their child a fruit juice, news soon broke that they had been tricked. Have you seen the ingredients list for a bottle of Sunny D? Corn syrup with less than 5% real juice. Sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Artificial colors. Contains Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which is currently being studied by the FDA for toxicity because it’s known to cause skin rashes. There is also another side effect. In 1999, a news report revealed that a young four-year-old girl in the U.K. had actually turned yellow from drinking too much Sunny D. It sounds like a big joke, but no one’s kidding around here. Even the company admitted to this. This little girl was drinking about 1.5 liters of Sunny D a day that her parents began to notice her skin was taking on an orange-yellow hue. This was caused by the amount of betacarotene added to give the drink its signature color. Now, drinking 1.5 liters a day is extremely excessive, especially for a young child. But this isn’t really a risk you want with your favorite drink. Earlier this year, Sunny D made headlines in a negative way that had nothing to do with the quality of their product. During the Superbowl, the official Sunny D account tweeted the simple statement, “I can’t do this anymore.” While it was probably in reference to the infamously boring game, many people took this as a negative commodification of depression, triggering some bad PR for the brand. Thankfully, many other brands came to the rescue to seize the opportunity and check in on the drink.
5. Tapioca Pudding
Our argument is not that tapioca pudding has disappeared. You can still find this pudding staple kicking around at buffets and other places, but it’s not as popular as it once was. Do a quick Google search for tapioca pudding and you’ll find the words “old-fashioned” and “grandma’s famous” in the title of many of the recipes. However, to its credit, it was definitely a staple at one point. Many adults today probably remember the days when they would open up their lunch bags at school to see a snack pack of tapioca pudding sitting there. It was also one of those staple foods that many grandmas of America would make from scratch. Tapioca pudding was definitely a love-it-or-hate-it food. Some people just couldn’t get past the lumpy texture. It was commonly referred to as frog’s eggs, fish eyes, or even eyeball pudding. It’s easy to see why people stopped making it – it’s a time-consuming process. There’s also another very minor risk – tapioca is potentially dangerous if cooked wrong. Here’s why. To get tapioca, you need to grind down a cassava root. Cassava is basically a root vegetable that looks a lot like a sweet potato. However, when it’s raw, the cassava root contains naturally occurring forms of cyanide. Yes, the poison. So, if you don’t cook it properly, you are poisoning yourself. Tapioca is heavily processed, so there’s not a ton to worry about, but it does come from this root and if it’s not processed properly could still carry traces of cyanide. Again, not likely, but you never know.
4. Ambrosia Salad
If you grew up in the south, you definitely remember at least one ambrosia salad being served up at a barbecue or potluck dinner. To be honest, ambrosia salad kind of looks like a unicorn went nuts at a birthday party and threw up. However, it tastes surprisingly delicious. This particular dish consists of fruit, coconut, and marshmallows tossed in whipped cream or another creamy substance and then cooled for a few hours before serving. The most common fruits typically used to make it are mandarin oranges and pineapple, but there are tons of versions out there. Originating sometime in the early 1900s, ambrosia salad actually became a holiday staple for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, served right alongside the vegetables, mashed potatoes, and turkey. It was popularized in the southern states and was reserved for the holidays because it called for luxurious ingredients that had to be imported. This made it seem exotic and fancy. However, after the 1920s, it became easier for households with a tighter budget to make because of the availability of things like marshmallow cream. It was still associated with the holidays, though. Now, it’s a little harder to find an ambrosia salad popping up today. Many people to this day don’t really know what it is. But ask anyone from the south, and they probably have a family recipe that was passed down from their grandparents. Maybe they’ll make it for you, too, if you ask nicely.
3. Sloppy Joes
Once a beloved dinner time staple for the average American household, sloppy joes aren’t quite as popular anymore. In fact, this entry probably prompted you to remember that they existed in the first place. In their defense, many Americans still do eat sloppy joes. A can of Manwich is inexpensive and a great way to feed a family on a budget. It’s up there with franks and beans. And it’s easy – the dish is literally ground beef in sauce on a bun. It’s also still a staple on many typical cafeteria menus. They just aren’t being served as weekly dinners as often as they used to be, and homemade versions are often swapped for the store-bought sauce out of price and convenience. Manwich Monday should really be brought back if you ask us. But, alas, lots of people kind of just let this one slip through the cracks in favor of lower-sodium, less-processed options. No one really knows how sloppy joes even became a thing. There are plenty of theories out there, all of which involved someone named Joe. One theory tells the story of a man in Cuba named Jose, who owned a not-so-tidy bar that was frequented by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway supposedly liked his creation so much he brought it home and got his go-to restaurant at home to make it. Another theory suggests a guy named Joe invented it in Iowa in the 1930s, where loose-meat sandwiches are an iconic food, by adding tomato sauce to the meat. Either way, lots of 90s kids’ dinners wouldn’t have been the same without it.
2. TV Dinners
In the beginning, TV dinners appealed to many consumers because they were cheap and easy to throw in the microwave. It all began when Swanson was trying to figure out a way they could package up their leftover Thanksgiving dinners and sell them. They settled on a frozen dinner for one, and the idea took off. People loved it. They were easy and convenient, and you could just pop them in the microwave for a quick meal that could be eaten right in front of the TV. At the time they were invented, in the 1950s, the TV was a new phenomenon that captivated American households. People had never had this before, and would spend a lot of their time gathered around watching the tube. To be able to eat a meal in front of it was exciting and fun. The grocery store aisles are still packed with a variety to choose from. Even Weight Watchers makes their own “healthier” entree options. However, have you checked the cost of your average Hungry Man dinner lately? While some people still opt for convenience foods once in a while, many of us have caught on to the fact that the portion sizes in TV dinners are just not enough for the cost. Even The Simpsons don’t eat TV dinners nearly as much as they used to. Not only that, but some of these meals are packed with sodium and preservatives we don’t need. Plus, some of them contain a heavy dose of fat in one little tray. With more people opting for fresher foods, it’s no wonder frozen meal sales haven’t been what they used to be.
1. Candy Cigarettes
When candy cigarettes first appeared on the scene, they were actually packaged to look like real cigarettes. At the time, cigarette companies were actually working with candy companies to collaborate on packaging and production. Some big tobacco companies would actually send candy manufacturers copies of their labels so they could use them. Talk about promoting a bad habit to kids. The reason this one has disappeared is pretty obvious. Anything that could make cigarettes tempting to children is a societal no-no. As far back as 1964, the Surgeon-General was stating that candy cigarettes lured children into becoming interested in smoking. Today’s research has also indicated that children may be more likely to smoke if they use candy cigarettes. For some of us, a candy cigarette represents pure nostalgia. For others, it’s a dangerous entry into the world of nicotine addiction. In many countries and some U.S. states, candy cigarettes are actually flat-out banned, unless they are packaged to look nothing like real cigarettes and are called “candy sticks.”