Food of the Fifties

I thought we might have a bit of fun today on choosing 1950s wedding food for your big day or indeed for any 50s themed party.

This is to get you in the 50s mood first…


Some of the ideas I have found sound absolutely awful but presumably someone, somewhere ate them. Spam is a food I can remember. I loved it as a child probably because my mother refused to have it in the house. It is dreadful stuff.



Despite rationing coming to an end, many foods eaten out of necessity during the war were still very popular in the 50s, as people had grown to enjoy then.   During the war, Spam was an important part of the national diet for both the troops who received Spam in their rations and for civilians. Made from ‘leftover’ pieces of pork shoulder meat, it was a great source of protein at a time when fresh meat was heavily rationed. People would use Spam in many recipes, including fritters, goulash, sandwiches and salads.

Another very famous dish is Coronation Chicken which is still very much around today. We have all eaten it and I suspect it will be served at lots of street parties at the end of this week on April 29th.

Coronation Chicken was invented for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on June the 2nd in 1953.

The dish is made from cold chicken cut into small pieces and mixed with a curry flavoured mayonnaise and sliced or diced apricots. The dish was invented by florist, Constance Spry and chef Rosemary Hume.

To make coronation chicken for 6-8, just as it would have passed the lips of the 300 royal invitees of 1953, first poach two chickens for 40 minutes in water with a carrot, a splash of wine, thyme, bay leaf, parsley and four peppercorns. Cool in the liquid then remove the meat from the bones.

Set it aside and make the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add two tablespoons of chopped onion. Cook gently for three minutes then add a dessertspoon of curry powder. Cook for a further two minutes. Add one teaspoon of tomato purée, a glass of red wine, ¾ wineglass of water, one bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Then add a pinch each of salt, sugar and pepper, the juice of ½ a lemon and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain and cool. Add it slowly to 450ml mayonnaise, then stir in 1-2 tablespoons of apricot purée (made from soaked and boiled dry apricots). Season again – the sauce must not be too sweet. Finish by adding 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream. Add only enough sauce to coat the chicken lightly, then eat it with a rice salad.


A few suggestions for your party ( more formal food) circa 1955:

  • Chilled Melon, Lobster Newberg in Croustades, Crown Roast of Lamb, Potatoes with Parsley Butter, Peas with Mint Cream, Chestnut Cream, Coffee
  • Hors d’oeuvres Tray with Relishes, Roast Turkey, Cranberry Jelly, Potato Puff, Spinach Ring with Baby Lima Beans, Grapefruit and Endive Salad, Vanilla Ice Cream with Tutti Fruitti, Small Cakes, Coffee

  • Oysters in the Half Shell, Roast Chicken, Whole Hominy with Sherry, Broccoli with Brown Crumbs, Macaroon Cream with Sliced Peaches, Coffee
  • Fish Fillets with Normandie Sauce, Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Braised Celery, Mixed Vegetable Salad, Mincemeat Turnovers, Coffee
  • Consomme Madrilene, Relishes, Baked Virginia Ham, Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflour with Lemon Butter, Romaine with Roquefort Dressing, Wine Jelly with Whipped Cream, Coffee

All of the above taken from Silver Jubilee Super Market Cook Book, Edith Barber, Super Market Publishing:New York 1955

Cocktails of the fifties to go with your retro food could be:

  • Bronx
  • Daiquiri
  • Dry Martini
  • Manhattan
  • Old Fashioned
  • Side Car
  • Tom Collins
  • Vodka Highball
  • Whiskey Sour

All to be served with a Ritz.

Finally If you’re going for the casual approach, then casual food of the 50s – cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, Coke (bottled ones), and chiffon cake for dessert, is perfect. If you can arrange it, drinks from one of those old soda fountains will be an experience for you and your guests.

Serving barbecue fare, which we did for Charlie’s wedding is also worth considering.


Famous feeds of the 50’s


  • 4oz sugar
  • 4oz margarine
  • 4oz golden syrup

Melt together in a heavy pan, add 2oz of sifted flour and a heaped teaspoon of sugar. Put small teaspoons of the mixture on a greased tin in a moderately hot oven. In a few minutes, when they have spread themselves, remove them. Before they are cold, roll round the handle of a wooden spoon.



  • 1 cup chicken scraps
  • 4oz rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4lb mushrooms
  • 2oz margarine
  • 2oz dry cheddar or Parmesan (for preference)
  • 1/2 a green pepper (not essential but an improvement)
  • 1 1/2 pints of stock made from chicken bones
  • 1/2lb firm tomatoes

Skin the mushrooms and tomatoes, cut into small pieces. Chop the onion and chicken finely. Heat the margarine, stir in the onion, rice and chopped garlic. Cook over a low heat, stirring until the fat is absorbed by the rice. Make the stock moderately hot and pour on to the rice, stirring all the time. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms, shredded pepper and tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice tender. Add cheese.


Make 1/2 a pint of mayonnaise sauce. Chop three small sections of garlic and sprigs of parsley. Take three tablespoons of sauce Robert (Escoffiers for choice), mix in mayonnaise with chopped onion and parsley. Place lettuce leaves on a dish. Tear heart into small pieces, adding chopped celery. Put shrimps attractively on lettuce. Dress edge of dish with a ring of peppers and watercress in middle, 1/4 lemon, 1/4 tomato and 1/4 hard-boiled egg. Sprinkle egg with parsley and paprika. Cover shrimps with sauce.

Selma x


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