There are few things more nostalgic — and often, wildly grotesque — than combing through dated recipes.
Maybe the thought of Milk Chicken, a vintage recipe involving roasted chicken, banana, milk, and eggs, gives you joy, not nausea. Perhaps you long for the days when your grandmother made Lime Cheese Salad, a delightful combination of Jell-O, cottage cheese, and seafood.
Either way, your most debased and nostalgic food favorites now have a home on r/Old_Recipes, a new and popular subreddit dedicated to people’s favorite vintage recipes.
In just two days, the subreddit has earned over 41,000 followers at the time of writing.
Sure, there are plenty of sites and communities that collect vintage recipes and culinary creations. There’s Vintagerecipes.net, which includes plenty of fanciful creations. I’m a huge fan of Tumblr and Twitter account @70s_party, which includes photos of foods prepared for ’70s dinner parties, as well as ads from the era and cookbooks.
But r/Old_Recipes is particularly good because it’s so comprehensive. Recipes and photos are posted for a variety of reasons. Some of these recipes are here because they’re both personal to the Reddit user and delicious, including this delightful three-ingredient recipe devised by someone’s grandmother for lemon bars and this one for Mamaw’s No Bake Cookies.
Others are here for the purely historic, nostalgic factor. I’m a particular fan of this side-by-side comparison of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra’s hamburger recipes. Frank’s includes the step “Tell him to make you a fuckin’ burger.”
These historical recipes from the World War I era don’t have any eggs and include throwback lines like “By not using eggs in desserts at meals where meat is served, the housewife can reserve the eggs to use at other meals in the place of meat,” and “There is not an egg in these and the family is just as well pleased.”
This particular recipe calls for coffee, a small egg with a shell, and boiling water puts my family’s Keurig machine to shame. However, I will never — ever — put an egg shell within 100 feet of my coffee.
I especially love the sassy or self-deprecating notes people have left next to recipes. People’s attitude towards themselves and the shitty recipes they’ve used really comes through, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Shout out to whoever called this recipe for Deviled Dried Beef, which includes fat, eggs, and meat shards, “shit.” Frankly, Frizzled Dried Beef, which lacks vinegar and mustard and which has a far cooler name, looks far superior.
But it’s the disgusting, vomit-inducing recipes where r/Old_Recipes truly shines. I’m profoundly horrified by most Jell-O-based recipes, as I am by Jell-O itself, but historical Jell-O recipes often combined sweets with fat or spice. If you’re going to make Jell-O, please do not combine it with a list of (what I think should be) these banned ingredients: drained horseradish, cabbage, onion, pepper, or Miracle Whip.
Grotesque recipes aren’t just limited to Jell-O though. There are so many other different, highly imaginative ways vintage recipes could be foul. r/Old_Recipes is a wonderful place to capture so many of them. There are recipes here for Broiled Squirrel, published by the Remington Arms Company — which manufactures firearms — Whale Stew, something called Burgoo, Broiled Mayonnaise, Cottage Avocado Quickie, and “salads that men like.”
I, for one, am delighted to see the word quickie, often utilized to describe a quick act of copulation, used to describe a cottage and avocado creation. I can’t imagine anything simultaneously more disgusting and delightful.
Overall, r/Old_Recipes is a rare thing: a pure source of joy on the internet. Now excuse me while I cook up some Broiled Mayonnaise and Cottage Avocado, and dig the hell in.