15 Foods ’70s Kids Will Totally Remember

Everything about the 1970s was totally groovy––except perhaps the food. Was there even such thing as a picky eater in that decade? Judging by the food, probably not. From neon green jello salad with entrapped tuna and olives to the dawn of the TV dinner and spray cheese in a can, read on for ’70s food you’ll totally remember—and would definitely pass on today.


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Introduced in 1971, Hamburger Helper was a mind-blowing concept to people used to having everything made from scratch.

Carol via Flickr

Jello salads were all the rage during the ’70s. We just really weren’t down with the varieties that incorporated tuna, olives and beef into the gelatin. 

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We all loved the sizzle of orbiting orange, galactic grape, and cosmic cherry Space Dust Sizzling Candy on our tongues. It truly lived up to the slogan of being “far out!”

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Your parents let you eat literally pink, frosted Pink Panther Flakes because the box said they had eight essential vitamins. Perhaps the good Panther’s sneakiest coup—pulled off by breakfast time.

Allen via Flickr

The ’70s birthed the bizarre invention of Snack Mate cheese in a can. You loved spraying it out onto Ritz crackers in snazzy, flowery designs, but if you didn’t have crackers, squirting it directly onto your tongue worked just fine.

Jasperdo via Flickr

Ah, casserole. Some were better than others, but if you stomached eating Spam casserole as a tyke, you have a mealtime horror story to share with your kids.

Parents loved Spaghetti-Os (mess-free pasta!). But the Spaghetti-O Jello takes things a bit too far. No one needs to be able to slice off a chunk of gelatinous pasta. However, if you lived through the ’70s, you most likely did.

Jerry “woody” via Flickr

Anyone growing up in the ’70s undoubtedly had a parent with a strong affinity for Tab. Bonus points if you recall watching your mom crack one open while floating on a raft in a swimming pool.

Steven Labinski via Flickr

Making your own TV dinner as a kid was a rite of passage (oven mitts, no microwave!). But the Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and the small square dessert of chocolate cake or apple or cherry pie made it all worth it.

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Who could forget the tagline in the commercial for Freshen Up Gum “the gum that goes squirt: love that squirt”? Biting the gum sent a burst of minty or fruity gel into your mouth and promised fresh breath. We just thought it was fun.

Eric Mueller via Flickr

Kids of the ’70s were munching on homemade Chex Mix long before the pre-packaged version debuted in 1985. We bet you helped your mom stir the ingredients together into melted butter and then ate it all up before it even cooled.

TheFoodJunk via Flickr

Jell-O 1-2-3.  You thought it was pure magic watching one mix separate into three layers to form a creamy top, mousse center and Jello on the bottom.

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Remember turning Mug-o-Lunch into a dish of mac and cheese, spaghetti marinara or beef noodles by simply adding hot water and giving it a stir?

Jamie via Flickr

Libbyland Dinners. Who could resist those frozen meals with names like Safari Supper, Sea Diver’s Dinner and Pirate’s Picnic? The pop-up packaging that doubled as a plaything was cool, but chicken called “Fried Parrot” and artificially flavored grape applesauce made these meals barely edible!

Catherine Bulinski via Flickr

You may have thought deviled eggs really were devilish party treats as a kid. Sometimes too flavorful, topped with olives, paprika and sometimes sardines, if we just rinsed off the top and ate the “white part” we were fine.

 

––Beth Shea

RELATED STORIES:

20 Foods That 80s Kids Will Recognize

21 Random Snacks We Ate in the 1970s & 1980s

Food ’90s Kids Grew Up On

 

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