6 Old-School Recipes That No One Makes Anymore (2024)

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6 Old-School Recipes That No One Makes Anymore (1)

We all have those one or two recipes from grandma that have been passed down for generations, and they bring back so many memories of family fun around the table. However, what about old recipes that have been forgotten?

While the depression greatly affected how people fed their families, we can’t overlook the imagination and tenacity of past generations. Many of these recipes are easy on the budget, which makes them a great choice to add to modern tables, given the recent rise in inflation at the grocery store.

Article continues below.

These old-school recipes may sound odd, but they are quite delicious! Consider trying one of these vintage recipes out, and you may even add one to your regular meal rotation.

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Main Dishes

Vintage recipes were designed to be hearty and feed a crowd. Families often had a lot more kids in the house than we do these days, making it even more important to satisfy bellies and stretch the budget.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Canned tuna is often an overlooked protein that is relatively cheap. Tuna noodle casserole is an old-school dish that could feed an army and was still tasty. It includes the classic casserole mixture of protein, noodles, vegetables, and creamy sauce.

You can substitute cornflakes for the bread crumbs and add in other veggies that your family prefers. Easily double this recipe if feeding more than four people. Bring back this old-school recipe this week!


  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 cans tuna in water, drained
  • 2 cups cooked egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Mix together the soup, milk, peas, tuna, and noodles together in a large bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into a greased 1.5-quart casserole dish.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until hot.
  • Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the hot casserole and place back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Serves 4.

Cabbage Soup

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While you may get mega Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes with this recipe, it was a staple for many homes for a good reason. Cabbage soup takes a cheap and easy-to-find vegetable and turns it into something that could fill you up.

Even if the main part of the soup consisted of hot water, many families relied on soup to help fill up bellies, and they could be stretched to accommodate guests or random neighborhood kids by just adding a bit more water to the pot.


  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. ½ onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  4. 2 quarts water
  5. 4 cups chicken stock
  6. 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  7. ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  8. ½ head cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  9. 1 can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained and diced


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot.
  2. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook until the onion is transparent.
  3. Add in the water, chicken stock, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil and stir in cabbage.
  5. Simmer until the cabbage wilts, about 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and return the soup to a boil.
  7. Simmer for about 15-30 minutes, stirring often. Serves 8.

Side Dishes

Classic old-school recipes included side dishes that were quick and easy to make. Both of these recipes could be seen on any table a century ago as a way to round out a meal. Just chop and chill for a classic dish that no one seems to make anymore.

Waldorf Salad

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Said to originate from a fancy hotel in New York City, the Waldorf salad really isn’t fussy or fancy at all. This simple combination of fruits and vegetables makes it a great addition to any table at any time of the year.

The key to making a great Waldorf salad is to chop all of the ingredients into the same bite-sized pieces. There are many variations of this old-school dish, so mix and match to your heart’s content!


  • 2 cups tart apples, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • ½ cup toasted pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Add the diced apples into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice.
  2. Toss the apples to coat.
  3. Add in the celery, grapes, and nuts and mix.
  4. In another bowl, whip the whipping cream until peaks form, and then gently fold in the mayonnaise.
  5. Add the cream mixture into the apple bowl and gently fold together.
  6. Season with salt and fold again.
  7. Chill the mixture for at least one hour before serving. Serves 6.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

6 Old-School Recipes That No One Makes Anymore (5)

Another old-school side dish that includes fruit and cream is the ambrosia salad. While you can find people making fruit salad these days, ambrosia salad takes it one step further by adding marshmallows.

Really, this salad could be considered dessert with how sweet it is. As with any of these classic recipes, home cooks were known for making their own versions, so use what you have on hand and be very creative with this one!


  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 1 ½ cups mini fruit-flavored marshmallows


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the whipped topping and yogurt.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and gently fold together so that everything is combined but not crushed.
  3. Chill this salad for at least one hour before serving. Serves 8.


While some Americans have dessert with almost every meal, a dessert a century ago usually appeared after dinner. Sugar was sometimes expensive and hard to come by, so many home cooks used what they had on hand to make it work.

Bread Pudding

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Many home chefs made their own bread every day to serve to the family, and sometimes there was some bread left over. Bread pudding is a great dish that uses this old bread for a sweet treat.

It doesn’t require any kind of special ingredient and is a warm dessert, making it satisfy stomachs at the end of a hard day. Try making this dessert tonight!


  • 5-6 cups of bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 1.5-quart baking dish and layer in cubed bread into the dish.
  3. Add milk, butter, vanilla, sugar, and salt into a small saucepan over low heat.
  4. Cook the mixture together until the butter melts, then take it off the heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Once the milk mixture is cool, add eggs to the pan and whisk.
  6. Pour the mixture over the bread and allow the bread to soak in the liquid for at least an hour.
  7. Bake the bread pudding for 30-45 minutes, or until custard is set and edges are brown.
  8. It is okay if the middle is still a little wobbly.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

Bananas Foster

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Another old-school dessert includes more ingredients that you probably already have in the cupboard. Bananas foster is easy to make and is a sweet mixture of fruit, rum, and ice cream, making it a real treat!


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons rum
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-pint vanilla ice cream


  1. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, rum, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  3. Bring to a low boil and place the bananas and walnuts into the pan.
  4. Cook the bananas until they have softened, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Turn the bananas over in the mixture so that both sides are glazed.
  6. To serve, scoop ice cream into bowls and place bananas on top.
  7. Pour the rum sauce over the bananas. Serves 4.

These old-school recipes may not be modern dishes, but they did the job of filling up bellies and satisfying the taste buds of our grandparents a century ago. Step back in time and consider making one main dish, side dish, and dessert for your crew this week as an ode to the good old days.

No matter what you choose, you’ll get a different mix of flavors, and a meal that is light on the budget since most of these ingredients are already in your kitchen.

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What are some old school foods? ›

Reliving our favourite childhood meals, from curried sausages and beef stroganoff to chicken kievs and beyond.
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What are some of the oldest recipes? ›

The World's 10 Oldest Dishes And Where They Are Today
  1. Indian curry, circa 2200-2500 B.C. ...
  2. Pancakes, circa 11650 B.C. ...
  3. Linzer Torte, circa 1653. ...
  4. Tamales, circa 5000 B.C. ...
  5. Burgers, circa 100 century A.D. ...
  6. Mesopotamian Stew, circa 2140 B.C., and bone broth, circa 400 B.C. ...
  7. Rice dishes, circa 4530 B.C. ...
  8. Beer, circa 3500 B.C.
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What is one of the hardest recipes to make? ›

The 17 Hardest Dishes To Make From Scratch
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What is the oldest popular food? ›

The oldest foods still eaten today
  • Stew. Who can say no to a delicious, heart-warming stew? ...
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  • Bread. ...
  • Curry. ...
  • Cheesecake.

What did kids eat for lunch in the 1950s? ›

School lunches in the 50s were pretty much like the meat and two veg in diners at the time. There was only one lunch, no choice. Typically it would be a ham slice with pineapple, mashed potatoes and gravy amd green beans. Or turkey and dressing or Salisbury steak.

What is the oldest cooked meal? ›

A recent study found what could be the earliest known evidence of ancient cooking: the leftovers of a fish dinner from 780,000 years ago.

What is the oldest food still around? ›

First found in a tomb in Ancient Egypt, honey is about 5,500 years old. Revered in ancient Egypt, honey remains edible over long periods. In 2015, while excavating tombs in Egypt, the archaeologists found about 3000-year-old honey that was fully edible.

What is the oldest cooked food ever found? ›

Summary: The remains of a huge carp fish mark the earliest signs of cooking by prehistoric human to 780,000 years ago, predating the available data by some 600,000 years, according to researchers.

What are 5 foods that came from the Old World? ›

Foods That Originated in the Old World: apples, bananas, beans (some varieties), beets, broccoli, carrots, cattle (beef), cauliflower, celery, cheese, cherries, chickens, chickpeas, cinnamon, coffee, cows, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger, grapes, honey (honey bees), lemons, lettuce, limes, mangos, oats, okra, ...

What did humans eat 10,000 years ago? ›

  • Plants - These included tubers, seeds, nuts, wild-grown barley that was pounded into flour, legumes, and flowers. ...
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What is the hardest meat to cook? ›

Brisket takes about twice as long to turn tender as do other braising cuts. We've always thought that's because brisket has more chewy collagen (the main component in meat's connective tissue) than other cuts, which needs more time to convert to soft gelatin for the meat to fully tenderize.

What food is delicious but hard to eat? ›

And while we were at it, we made sure to include some helpful tips as to how to conquer the challenges ahead.
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Feb 20, 2013

What were school lunches like in the 60s? ›

Rice was unheard of back then. I have pretty fond memories of school lunches in the 60's. My fav was roast beef but spaghetti, pizza,corny dogs and hamburgers made frequent appearances and all seemed pretty good to my grade school palate. I can't think of any school lunches I didn't like.

What did kids eat in the 1800s? ›

In the city poor kids ate a lot of potatoes, and bread. They drank beer and tea. They had butter. Sometimes they had cheese.

What is the oldest snack food? ›

In 17th century Britain, the seasoning was added to fish and meat meals that were cooked in pots. Interestingly, the oldest snack food discovered was Popcorn. It is over 7000 years old and originated in Peru and Mexico.

What did kids eat for lunch in the 1800s? ›

They might have had cornbread and syrup, or bread and lard, maybe with a little sugar, or bread and bacon. It was a special treat to have a sandwich with meat in it. There were no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — peanut butter wasn't made in the 1890s. Water was the usual drink with lunch.

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