9 Dishes That Every Boomer Will Remember (For Better or Worse)

9 Dishes That Every Boomer Will Remember (For Better or Worse)

Every family has their favorite recipes, sure. But each generation has certain types of foods that hit the heights of popularity in their lifetime. Take boomers, for example. It was in their time — 1953 to be exact — when Swanson TV Dinners were invented. It was a mind-blowing invention that made mealtime quick and easy and gave Mom a little hard-earned break from the kitchen. It also set the stage for an entire industry to explore in the form of microwave dinners, which now line the freezer section at any grocery store. Here are some more foods that enjoyed some hype while boomers were coming of age.


Love it or hate it, every household had a meatloaf recipe that Mom patted out and baked for dinner at least once a week. Bonus points if it was served with mashed potatoes. Points deducted if it was too dry to choke down.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

While legend has it that this beauty of a dessert was first created in the 1920s, its popularity was sky-high in the 1950s. Moms everywhere coated the bottom of a pan with sliced pineapple and marachino cherries, dumped some cake batter in and baked it. The name comes from the triumphant finish, when the cake is turned upside-down to reveal an impressive top layers of cooked fruit atop a fluffy cake.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

God loves a good casserole, amiright? And so did parents in the mid-1900s. Boomers in particular were subjected to this wildly popular dish made of canned tuna fish, egg noodles, some sort of condensed soup (a casserole staple), green peas, cheese and if you were lucky, some sort of crispy breadcrumb-type topping. It was all thrown together and baked. You were either a fan … or you had to choke it down to join the Clean Plate Club.

Beef Stroganoff

With noodles and some sort of creamy gravy-like sauce being the key players in the 1950s culinary scene, most folks who came of age during that time will recall this dish vividly. The stand-out ingredient was beef. A dish with Russian roots, beef stroganoff was a cornucopia of beef and mushrooms dancing in a creamy sauce and dumped on a bed of egg noodles. Kids! Dinner’s ready!

Glazed Ham

Shifting gears, and perhaps blending a touch of the tropics into meal time, the glazed ham was a special occasion dish that many enjoyed on sacred holidays. Often decorated in a criss-cross design, the swine was then adorned with pineapple slices (again with the pineapple) or some other type of fruit — perhaps something of the citrus variety?

Ambrosia Salad

Dragging the pineapple back out of the pantry, it enjoyed another show-stopping run in any ambrosia salad recipes. This sweet side originated in the South, by all accounts, but eventually spread nationwide. Families everywhere enjoyed the taste of mini-marshmallows amidst a see of canned fruit and Cool Whip.

Beef Stew

This one hits a little close to home. It was on the nights my own mother made beef stew that I knew I’d be going to bed hungry. It appeared, however, that I was the odd kid out as my siblings enjoyed the dish, which was comprised of cubes of dry (SO, SO dry) beef, cooked (and mushy) carrots, peas, mushroom, and potatoes in a thick, brown, beefy sauce. They wolfed it down while I tried not to dry heave. Perhaps my first lesson in how everyone is unique in their own way.

Chicken a la King

While beef stew at our house was not my favorite, chicken a la king, on the other hand, was a home run meal. Chicken, mushrooms, carrots and peas in a creamy white sauce was poured atop either egg noodles or toasted bread or other baked good. Yes, it was as yummy as it sounds, and I still make it for my own family today.

Jell-O Salad

If Marcia Brady was ambrosia salad, then Jan was Jell-O salad. The two are similar, but one is slightly more complicated — and perhaps favored — than the other. Yes, Jell-O salad was a chilled gelatinous side, but where it lacked in marshmallows, it made up for in (wait for it) cottage cheese. Yes, a few simple ingredients, which also included whipped cream and gelatin powder, and you could have a side that wowed all who were invited to eat it.

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