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Insane Vintage Recipes (Not To Try)

Old recipes can be delicious. Just ask anyone who is still making their grandma’s pumpkin pie. They can also be ludicrous, disgusting, and awe-inspring (in a bad way). Did they make them even back then? (Please, someone, say the answer is ‘no.’)

Because we all need a little humor in our life, I present…drumroll…the worst vintage recipes I have found. Enjoy! I’m constantly searching through thrift stores finding new ones.

If you find a good one, please send it to me! (I will, of course, link to your website/blog if you wish)

Putting on the Dog

Full page view of "Putting on the Dog"

This is my absolute best so far. Well, best in a bad way. It wasn’t just the ‘fancy hotdog’ that made this bad. That alone we could deal with. It was the instructions to serve it as follows: “Try putting the dog on…this creamy potato salad served with a tomato half filled with pickle relish, plus carrot curls, romaine leaves and black olives.”

Close-up of "Putting on the Dog". Potato salad, pickle relish....I'll stop now.

Betty Crocker 1983 Holiday Cookbook

I love Betty Crocker. Don’t get me wrong.

My first find during the search for insane vintage recipes was poor old Betty Crocker’s 1983 Christmas Cookbook. There a few bad ones. But I was going to give them a pass- after all, it’s Betty Crocker!– until I saw the “Holiday Salad” in all its horrible glory. And the ham loaf with tomato soup in it…

This is the amazing(ly bad) “Ham Loaf Superb.” Yes, they named it that.

Ingredients? Well, along with the ground ham, beef, and pork, there were oats. And TOMATO JUICE!

Thank you, again, Betty Crocker. The 1983 Holiday Cookbook was…interesting.

I took a picture of the recipe for you, too. I also purposely left the menu on the right so you could see it. Doesn’t the “hot mustard fruit” and “lime yogurt dessert” sound like the perfect finish?

The title is classic: Holiday Salad. Everyone loves the holidays…can it be that bad?

Why is this holiday salad so horrible? It’s not the molded salad- we know people spent two decades making those things. It’s not the first ingredients: lime jello, crushed pineapple, cream cheese, whipping cream…we actually have a pretty good base there. Why couldn’t they stop there?

Nope, they had to add celery and mayonnaise! You could substitute salad dressing for the mayo…because French dressing would be better. I think not.

AND they recommended the lettuce “ruffle” to dress up the plate. I must stop now.

Tuna Jell-O Pie

I can’t believe I just typed Tuna Jell-o Pie.

Betty Crocker, I love you. I really do. But you may have reached a new low with this. Called Summer Salad Pie, they labeled it “pretty as can be” in their cookbook.

First of all, please visit the not one, but TWO, people who were brave enough to make this and try it. A round of applause, please, for: “Mid Century Menu” & “Jezebel.” They both snapped step-by-step pictures of the entire, horrible process.

I posted the vintage pictures. If you want to see current, horrible pictures of the actual creation, please visit the sites above. Trust me, worth the click.
(No, they are not paying me to tell you to visit them!)

First, the recipe itself provided by Betty Crocker.

Not only does it feature lemon-flavored Jell-o and Tuna salad, horrible enough on its own….
It also has tomato sauce. Yes, you read that right, tomato sauce.
And olives.

Tuna Macaroni Loaf

Tuna macaroni loaf. Pondering this for a second. I could have passed it by…until I saw the pimientos on the top. And saw how disgusting a LOAF of tuna macaroni was.

The tuna macaroni loaf recipe I have pictured here is floating around in couple of different forms, both from the same era. One image is from a cookbook. The other was actually part of an advertisement for “Chicken of the Sea.” The advertisement image is from Natalie on Flickr, though there are a couple more people who’ve posted the same one. (Hence me feeling all right using it).

Now, I wouldn’t have picked this just because it was horrible until I found out the following: 2 different websites from the current era actually went and made them. (They make vintage recipes and report the results. They’re great sites!)

Verdict: general consensus seemed to be that the “tuna macaroni loaf” tastes as bad as it looks and sounds.
Check out: Dinner is Served 1972 -and- Retro Recipe if you’re interested in seeing the step-by-step pictures more about how it tasted!

Recipe card image from: Please visit them to see the original recipe page!

Perfection Salad -and- Ham & Banana Hollandaise

I cannot believe anyone, anytime ever wanted to make this.

However, ff you really want to try the recipe…the following site was kind enough to print it along with the image from the original recipe card: Vintage Recipe Cards.
(Note: image was general usage rights)

I have to admit: I’m losing my appetite just looking at it.

If you want to read the brave review of someone who actually made it (yes, they made it!), visit the Bad Jelly Blog. Or should you wish to make it yourself, Vintage Recipe Cards blog lists it. I’m not sure why you would want to. But just in case.

Almonds in a Haystack

Insane vintage recipe: Almonds in a Haystack. Consists of minced ham, Miracle Whip, cream cheese, green onions, and relish.
Almonds in a Haystack, aka Ham Haystack. From Sassy Spoon. Her version looks better than the original featured in "insane vintage recipes" section on
Almonds in a Haystack, aka Ham Haystack. From Sassy Spoon. Her version looks better than the original featured in "insane vintage recipes" section on
Almonds in a Haystack, aka Ham Haystack. From Sassy Spoon. Her version looks better than the original featured in "insane vintage recipes" section on

Almonds in a Haystack. At first glance you see almonds covering a white substance. I assumed it was Cool Whip…almonds, sweetness, this can’t be bad. Then I realized it was Miracle Whip. Not even real mayonnaise. And what was that bulk of stuff in the middle? It’s hard to read, but I have deduced what that all actually says:

  • 4 C. finely chopped ham
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 3/4 C. Miracle Whip
  • 1/3 C. sliced green onions
  • 1/4 C. pickle relish
  • Slivered almonds

I should admit that I was aided in my sleuthing by the fact that not one, but TWO different websites have the recipe printed. (the source of endless bad recipes) wasn’t a surprise. The surprise was a site called ‘Living with Energy in Iowa.’ Being originally from Iowa, I find this horrifying.

When I originally found this, on Buzzfeed in their ’10 Regrettable Retro Food Recipes’, it claimed the original source as ‘Bad & Ugly Retro Recipes.‘ I don’t know if I missed it or if the author has removed it, but I didn’t find it in any post…and I went through all of them. I’m very careful to credit the original source.

The picture is also featured on ‘Fine Fettle Guide.’ It didn’t credit a source. But it’s picture includes a white spot carried on every single picture on the internet. I also found the picture on ‘MeTV‘, which said they got it from the ‘Messy Nessy Chic,’ who said she got it from Pinterest. When I clicked on the Pinterest link, it led me a pin…of the MeTV article. So someone is that loop is confused. Since the only source that makes actual sense is Bad & Ugly, I suggest giving them a visit if you have time. They have a ton of horrible vintage recipes.

I have to admit I found a version of this recipe on another site. But it wasn’t billed as a horrible vintage recipe. The author says she likes it. I’ll give her credit- her pictures look MUCH better than the one in the ad above. And described as kind of a “ham salad sandwich” I can kind of see it. I won’t be making it any time in the future. Thanks for ‘Sassy Spoon‘ for the images below. Please visit for other pictures as well as the recipe.

Lazy Daisy Salad

Insane Vintage Recipe: Lazy Daisy Salad. Someone actually made it and tested it.
Insane Vintage Recipes: Lazy Daisy Salad. The most "original" version I could find.
Insane Vintage Recipes: Lazy Daisy Salad, Sunkist Version

The “Lazy Daisy Salad” comes in many varieties. The most disgusting (and it was hard to pick just one) wins the award because it doesn’t even involved FRESH fruits or vegetables. It’s leftover cooked vegetables covered with mayonnaise. Yes, you read that right. Again, props to “Bad Jelly Blog.” They not only found the recipe…they MADE IT and TRIED IT. Oh, to top it off, that is a cooked egg in the middle for decoration.

The vintage version of the image is available at both the Bad Jelly Blog and on Flickr. As always, please stop by and visit the originals.

Another version- without a picture- included fresh fruit, but again they had to smother mayonnaise on it. I found that recipe from “Catholic Courier and Journal” from 1981. I’m ashamed as a Catholic it ever appeared.

Tied for horrible is the version with cream cheese and the version with cottage cheese. Horribly, the cottage cheese version is modern. Find it at “”. The cream cheese version was in a little cookbook/pamphlet put out by Sunkist. Their version included oranges (surprise, surprise) and cream cheese.

A more modern version is actually edible. It includes either fresh or canned fruit topped with either vanilla pudding or Cool Whip. While it might be edible, I’m still not going to ever be featuring it on this blog.

Confetti Chicken Salad

I was browsing the horrible vintage recipes that are featured around the internet and decided to feature this one from Better Homes & Gardens. Why? Two reasons:

1) Because BH&G never learns. Keyword searching brought up their NEW “Confetti Chicken Big Bowl”. While it at least avoids condensed chicken consomme, it still isn’t much better. The noodles in their new dish are broken up Ramen noodles. Always keeping it classy, BH&G. Don’t be fooled by the decent pictures…all of the vegetables are raw. Which means that the cooked pictures were so horrible they had to lie.

2) Because BH&G used the term “lettuce ruffle” in their picture caption. As if dressing up this horrible, disgusting dish with a piece of lettuce is going to make it better!

The worst thing about this? I think someone at actually made it?! The picture is courtesy of them. Please go look at their other pics. It’s in the article “6 Gross Foods from a 50’s Cookbook (That We Taste Tested)”.

If you’re insane enough to make this, the recipe is actually online.

Unflavored gelatin 2 Tablespoon
Cold water 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
Condensed chicken consomme 1 Can (10 oz)
Mayonnaise 1 Cup (16 tbs)
Diced cooked chicken 2 1⁄2 Cup (40 tbs), or canned
Diced green pepper 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
Diced celery 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
Diced pimiento 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
Lemon juice 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)
Salt 1⁄4 Teaspoon
Heavy cream 1 Cup (16 tbs), whipped

…uh, I’m not going to share them. You shouldn’t make this.

Insane Vintage Recipe: Snowy Chicken Confetti Salad. Someone actually made it.

Avocado Meatza

Today’s recipe came from Bon Appetit themselves. (Yes, really). I present: Avocado Meatza. It rhymes with pizza.

If you would like to explore a review of what it tastes like, visit “Bad Jelly.” They actually make vintage recipes and try them out. The finished pictures are amazingly horrible. Please visit them!

A thank you to Bon Appitit for the picture!

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