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The Food of the Seventies

November 11th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Food of 70s

Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

Well, for the 1970s if food was the music of the decade, it would taste like a Hawaiian Hula.

In the Seventies, the decade in which The Women’s Board was created, the world went crazy for the Hawaiian culture, and that meant incorporating anything pineapple into our food.

Hawaii was exotic, and their dinner tables were experimental.  Considering that it was the decade of experimentation, this freedom extended to our own tables.

Americans began taking their newfound social liberation to their kitchens, as seemingly bizarre pairings were created and served at dinner parties. For example, McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection suggested a ham and banana hollandaise.

Food 2

Additionally, it was also quite chic to see if one type of food could HOLD another type of food. That’s right, using one ingredient to house another was considered quite cosmopolitan, so “food vessels” graced hostesses’ tables throughout the decade.

The more elaborate, the better.

This was the decade that all food was viewed as a potential container. Tomatoes were hollowed out and filled with olives, steaks were filled with sausage, and artichokes were filled with cauliflower, mushrooms and carrots. Yum!

Food 3

“Artichokes Italian” courtesy of the Bon Appétit archives

The mantra for cooks and hosts throughout the decade was, “When in doubt, make a dip or a cheese log.” And if that didn’t work, just see what you could get to stick in a gelatin mold. This made the bundt pan one of the most important pieces in the Seventies’ kitchen. But in this decade, it wasn’t being used for cakes. Oh, no. That would be far too normal!

Remember, this was the decade of experimentation. Therefore, the more food you could suspend in aspic, the more sophisticated your dish.

The “pièce de résistance,” of course, was being able to pull off the triple threat: using food as a vessel to hold pineapple suspended in gelatin.

Behold the “Emerald Cantaloupe:”

Food 4

Thankfully, just like in fashion and interior design, the experimentation of the Seventies yielded some dinner party keepers.

Cheese fondue is still a fun and delicious party option. Pasta Primavera still evokes Little Italy, and Beef Wellington remains an elaborate and savory main course.

Please join us for this year’s Show as we celebrate the decade The Women’s Board began. The 40th Anniversary Opening Night Party, Friday, December 2nd,  promises to be far out, funky and fab! Dig up your disco threads and join us a for a look back at the 1970s and all that is reminiscent of the decade. Dine on ’70s inspired favorites like fondue, flambé and maybe even aspic! Complete with a lighted dance floor, disco ball and The RiverTown Band, this event will make you boogie!

Visit The Women’s Board website for details and to purchase your tickets.


Mollie Peterson lives in Jacksonville with her husband Matthew. She is a member of the Art & Antiques Show Social Media Committee. Mollie is a teacher at JWJ College Prep, the creator of the blog HOSTandSERVE, and a grateful stroke survivor.

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