14 vintage Thanksgiving foods we're thankful to never eat again

Sometimes it's okay to say, "No, thanks."

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It brings people together. You gather with family and dig into traditional food that has been passed down from generation to generation — grandma's green bean salad, candied yams, butter-sage stuffing.

However, some recipes are not handed down, with good reason. Sometimes, it's best to leave some side dishes in the past. Our tastes have changed over the years. For starters, we are far less into gelatin. (Assuming, of course, you are not reading this in the Upper Midwest.) And good luck serving anything with "loaf" in its name on Turkey Day.)

Let's look at some rather horrifying foods that would have us running for the kids' table.


Need leftovers ideas? Just hash everything together, congeal it, pile it up.

Image: Shelf Life Taste Test / Flickr

Orange and Olives Turkey

"I get the radish caruncles!" said no child ever.

Image: Vintage Ad Browser

Turkey Loaf

I'll just chew the garnish, thank you.

Image: Vintage Recipe Cards

Apple Mallow Yam Yums

Throw some of your leftover Halloween candy in there while you're at it.

Image: Eudamonius / Flickr

Cranberry-Fish Soufflé Salad

Is that a giant Swedish Fish?

Image: Cindi Whittaker / Flickr

Frozen Jellied Turkey Vegetable Salad

This lump comes from the 1975 cookbook Carefree Cooking With Aluminum Foil. Were the vegetables applied to the sides with a literal peashooter?

Image: Charm and Poise / Flickr

Camel Cigarettes After Every Course

Smoke a Camel "right after the soup." After the Waldorf Salad? Have another to "clear the palate." A smoke adds another "final touch of comfort" to dessert… Did everyone have a fresh pack on their place setting?

Image: sa_steve / Flickr

Cranberry Candles

For those mayonnaise lovers who have ever walked into a Yankee Candle store in the mall and thought, "I'm suddenly hungry."

Image: catzuzan / eBay

Even More Cranberry Candles

Image: Retro Recipe Attempts

Oh, this was really a widespread practice. Cranberry sauce, strawberry Jell–O, salt, mayonnaise, walnuts. On fire.

Old Gold Cigarettes

Phew! Now that your belly is fully of creamy fruit candle, time for another cigarette break.

Image: Autostraddle

Holiday Vegetable Loaf

Loafing around is always part of Thanksgiving.

Image: Autostraddle

Spam Birds

Why stuff a bird when you can stuff a slice of Spam?

Image: thekitschbitsch

Fiesta Salad

On the lower left, the recipe calls for dates, orange slices and cottage cheese. Sounds like Weight Watchers, circa 1981.

Image: thekitschbitsch / JonWilliamson.com

Hot Dr. Pepper

Wash it all down with some flat, steaming soda.

Image: Autostraddle

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jholton30062 56 months ago
The Yam Yums didn't look that bad. And I remember when the whole "Hot Dr Pepper" thing was going on, and I kind of liked it...
DuanneWalton 56 months ago
I spent days processing the turkey shaped meatloaf in the Star Trek episode "Charlie X." Maybe they should've been thankful (see what I did there?) Charlie made actual turkeys appear in the galley.
Michael 56 months ago
I’m all for reviving the Apple Mallow Yam Yums and Spam Birds.

AgingDisgracefully 56 months ago
Sweet potatoes and rutabaga are scary enough.
But the #1 Thanksgiving Horror is the undercooked turkey.
Well-intentioned, true.
But white meat with icicles? Not so much.
Trichinosis, here we come!
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