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Timeless Food From the 60s We Still Crave

food, timeless food from the 60s we still crave

The scrumptious Sixties

The swinging Sixties were a time of social transformation and innovation which was reflected in the foods we ate. From pre-packaged treats such as Snack Packs and SpaghettiOs to luxurious seafood dinners and extravagant desserts, these foods became fashionable in the 1960s.

a piece of cake on a plate

Lane cake

Mentioned in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960, lane cake is about as Southern as it gets. A big and boozy fruit cake, it consists of layers of light sponge and a sticky pecan, bourbon, coconut and peach filling. The whole thing is covered in a peach schnapps frosting.

a hot dog on a wooden table

Domino’s

The largest pizza delivery chain on the planet was founded in Michigan in 1960. Thanks to the world’s insatiable appetite for a takeaway slice, Domino’s and its long-running marketing scheme Two for Tuesday are still going strong.

food, timeless food from the 60s we still crave

Quaker Oats

In September 1961, The Quaker Oats Company was granted a patent for instant oatmeal which turned into ready-to-eat hot porridge by adding water. The invention spawned a thousand imitations and instant oatmeal has become a regular on the breakfast table.

a bowl of food on a table

French cuisine

When Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by chef and author Julia Child, was published in 1961, it became a runaway bestseller. Americans embraced all things Gallic and dishes such beef bourguignon – beef stew made with red wine, beef stock, carrots, onions, garlic, bouquet garni, pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon – were a hot topic.

a bottle next to a cup of coffee

Coffee-Mate

Although non-dairy creamers appeared on the American market from the early 1950s, it was Coffee-Mate – launched in 1961 – that garnered great commercial success, in part because it dissolved better in hot liquid. Benefits of Coffee-Mate include its long shelf life and its appeal to people who are lactose-intolerant. It remains the biggest-selling creamer in the US.

a close up of a beverage

Sprite

Cola’s lemon and lime cousin Sprite started life in Germany as Fanta Klara Zitrone before being introduced to America in 1961, as a competitor to rival 7Up. It has always come in a refreshing green bottle or can (similar to 7Up) and is instantly recognizable.

a bowl of food on a plate

Smash

At the start of the 1960s, Dutch-Canadian food chemist Edward Asselbergs developed instant mashed potato flakes. Later, Cadbury’s launched Smash in the UK, a brand that quickly gained a loyal following from time-strapped home cooks. It’s remembered for its space-themed advertising campaign which featured martians watching in confusion as humans prepared potatoes the old-fashioned way.

a close up of a bowl of food on a plate

Froot Loops

In 1963, Kellogg’s released Froot Loops: brightly-colored cereal rings with a fruity flavor. Initially the box only contained red, orange and yellow pieces, but soon other colors such as blue and purple were added. However, controversially it has been revealed that all the colors taste the same anyway.

a piece of cake on a plate

Pop Tarts

Pop Tarts are everything that’s good about convenience food – easy, tasty with a long shelf life. And everything that’s bad – sugary, processed and nutrient poor. But since Kellogg’s introduced the product in 1964, it has been a roaring success in the US and other countries such as Canada and the UK.

a close up of a bottle

Diet Pepsi

Before there was Diet Coke there was Coca-Cola’s Tab. And to rival Tab there was Diet Pepsi, which became available in 1964 and, unlike Tab, is still sold worldwide. The soda faced criticism in 2015 when the controversial sweetener aspartame was replaced with sucralose, and many fans said the taste changed.

a close up of a plastic container of food

Lucky Charms

This cereal of toasted oat pieces and multicolored marshmallow moons, stars, clovers and hearts, proved irresistible to kids when it was launched in 1964. The brand still carries Lucky, its leprechaun mascot, who has brought the brand good fortune – in 2018 it was General Mills’ fastest growing cereal brand.

a pan of food on a table

Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is a type of Japanese cuisine where food is grilled on a flat, hot iron plate in front of customers. In 1964 in New York, Benihana brought the theatrical style of eating to the US where it’s now more popular than in its home country.

a plate of food with meat and vegetables in a cup

Buffalo wings

The finer details of how this all-American finger-licking chicken dish was invented are disputed – but most people believe it was conceived at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, in 1964. It’s still popular today, especially while watching a big game – in fact, on Super Bowl Sunday, the US consumes a whopping 1.4 billion chicken wings.

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SpaghettiOs

This kid-friendly food was invented in 1965 when Donald Goerke, who worked for Campbell’s Franco-American brand, was challenged to create a pasta dish for children that could be eaten with a spoon. It took a number of ideas before finally settling on the O, but it’s now a staple in cupboards across the country.

a close up of a slice of cake and ice cream on a plate

Texas sheet cake

This huge, gooey chocolate cake, topped with frosting, pecans and walnuts, is said to have appeared sometime in the 1960s. A regular at Texan funerals – as its enormous size and comforting qualities made it the perfect dessert to feed mourners – you might also see it called Texas funeral cake.

a close up of a bowl of fruit

Chocolate fondue

Cheese fondue was invented in Switzerland but we have Swiss restaurateur Konrad Egli to thank for the chocolate version, which was created in New York in the 1960s as a promotion for Toblerone. The original was made with double cream, kirsch and melted Toblerone, with bits of cake and fruit presented around it for dipping. These days, strawberries, bananas and marshmallows dipped in regular milk chocolate is more common.

a piece of cake sitting on top of a plate of food

Surf and turf

This indulgent main course of seafood and red meat came about in the 1960s and was – and still is – incredibly popular. Lobster tail and beef tenderloin is a particularly luxurious version of the dish. A more modern iteration is the surf and turf burger, which might feature a beef patty topped with lobster meat.

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Gatorade

Now here’s an interesting fact: Gatorade, the sports drink formulated in 1965, was named after the Florida Gators, the sports teams that represent the University of Florida. Today it’s one of the leading brands and is often credited as the first-ever sports drink (although British brand Lucozade actually dates back to 1927).

a cup of coffee on a table

Filet-O-Fish

The controversial McDonald’s menu item, which arrived in 1965, was part of a strategy to boost sales on Fridays, which is when Catholics usually abstain from meat. The Filet-O-Fish is a breadcrumbed fish sandwich with tartar sauce and American cheese. Still on the menu today, its sales usually skyrocket in March because of Lent.

a piece of cake on a plate next to a cup of coffee

Cool Whip

An imitation whipped cream, Cool Whip was introduced to American homes in 1966 and soon became a leading brand. It was a key ingredient in pies and gelatin-based puddings of the era.

a bowl of food on a table

Doritos

No, it’s not an urban myth – Doritos really were invented at a Mexican-style restaurant in Disneyland. The seasoned snacks were such a hit with customers that they were produced commercially for the local market, before being rolled out nationwide in 1966.

food, timeless food from the 60s we still crave

Slushy soft drinks

For many, childhood summers were filled with ICEEs, Slurpees and Slush Puppies. But these garishly colored beverages, responsible for giving brain freeze to millions, are a relatively recent treat. Invented by Dairy Queen owner Omar Knedlik in the 1950s, they hit shelves in 1966 and are a craze that lives on today.

a chocolate cake on a plate

Tunnel of Fudge cake

This cake launched millions of bundt tin recipes (made in the distinctive ring-shaped molds) when it won the long-running American Pillsbury Bake-Off contest in 1966. The butter, sugar, cocoa and nuts in the mix form a “tunnel” of oozing fudge through the cake as it bakes.

a plate of food with a knife and fork

Crêpes Suzette

This flambéed favorite never goes out of fashion. It’s a French crêpe, doused in a sauce made with orange zest, sugar, butter, orange liqueur and Cognac, and set alight so it becomes caramelized. Although it was invented in the 19th century, it was ubiquitous on 1960s restaurant menus.

a sandwich and fries on a table

Big Mac

McDonald’s fast food restaurants started to appear in the US in the mid-1950s, but its most iconic burger wasn’t on menus until 1967. The Big Mac consists of two beef patties, special sauce, iceberg lettuce, American cheese, pickles and onions, in a three-part sesame seed bun.

food, timeless food from the 60s we still crave

Pringles

Once you pop, you can’t stop – never was a truer advertising slogan created. These addictive chips were first sold in the US in 1967, and although Pringles didn’t make it overseas until 1991, two-thirds of sales are now outside of America.

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Fruit Stripe Gum

In the 1960s, one particularly memorable brand of gum was Beech-Nut’s Fruit Stripe Gum. Its strong yet short-lived fruity flavors, brightly colored stripes and Yipes the Zebra mascot have been around ever since.

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Starburst

Launched in the early 1960s in the UK as Opal Fruits, the individually wrapped candies came in lemon, lime, orange and strawberry flavors. It wasn’t until after the fruity chews crossed the Atlantic in 1967 they were renamed Starburst for the US market.

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Snack Pack

Sold by Hunts’, Snack Pack’s original aluminum cans of pudding with a pull-tab top were notoriously hazardous when they came out in 1968, with many tales of people having hurt their fingers or tongues trying to get in. The desserts are still eaten today (in plastic pots) in a range of flavors that include chocolate and banana cream pie.

a glass of beer on a table

Prawn cocktail

Often served in a martini glass, prawn cocktail – a seafood salad of cold prawns in Marie Rose sauce (a mix of mayo, ketchup, lemon juice and pepper) on a bed of lettuce – is inextricably linked with this decade. So much so, popular English TV cook of the time Fanny Craddock described the dish as “the ubiquitous prawn cocktail” and a “sordid little offering”.

a plate of food on a table

Tex-Mex

Taco Bell began serving Tex-Mex fast food to eager diners in the 1960s. Six decades later, there are more than 7,000 of these restaurants worldwide. Taco Bell was instrumental in popularizing this fusion cuisine and is also responsible for creating the pre-formed, hard taco shell.

a close up of food

Ruffles

Although a patent for Ruffles was granted in 1956, it was the 1960s when the brand was sold by Frito Lay and the crinkled chip became a household name. Still around today, the chip has ridges which makes it good for dipping. It also comes in a multitude of flavors including Sour Cream & Onion and Jalapeño Ranch.

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