Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980’s

Welcome to the 1980’s in the United States! We are bombarded with big hair, heavy makeup, and loud music! Now, if you were born in the eighties or in any of the past decades we’ve explored, that does NOT mean that YOU are vintage. These recipes are called “vintage” just to showcase their nostalgia. But you are magical, one-of-a-kind, and stupendous, not vintage (unless you want to be). πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading along as we explored each decade from the 1940’s in America until now & I hope you enjoy Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980’s!

Breakfast in the 1980’s – Latte

Lattes have been popular in Europe for centuries, hailing originally from Italy. If you’ve never had a latte, it’s espresso mixed with steam milk. You can add all sorts of flavors to your latte in the form of syrup, nut milks, etc.
The most prevalent place to get a latte here in the states is at Starbucks, which was first founded in Seattle in 1971. Baristas began making art on the top of lattes and in the 1980’s, Seattle’s coffee craze boomed across the country. Early mornings and late nights found working girls and guys at the office, fueled by lattes. Which still rings true today. Of course, the price of a latte was a little cheaper back then. You can make your own latte at home, to save cost (and a long wait in the coffee shop line!)

homemade latte with cinnamon sprinkled on top
jar of oat milk to forth for a homemade latte
before – just plain milk
jar of frothed milk for a homemade latte
after – lots of foam on top
pouring frothed milk into a homemade latte while Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980's

How to Make a Homemade Latte

what the heck:
– ΒΌ cup (2 ounces) espresso powder
– ΒΎ cup (6 ounces) milk, either dairy or non-dairy (I used oat milk)
– sprinkle of cinnamon to top it off

how the heck:
– In a mug, pour in the espresso powder
– Pour the milk in a jar and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds.
– Close the lid tightly on the jar and shake the milk in the jar for a couple minutes, until the milk gets foamy and doubles in size in the jar.
– Use a large spoon to hold the foam in the jar while pouring the milk into the mug with the espresso powder.
– Add the foam on top of the milk. Voila! A homemade latte! Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon to be extra fancy. β˜•

making a popular drink while Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980's - hot homemade latte

Picnics & Dinner in the 1980’s – Chili in a Chip Bag

Chili has a long and interesting history. It was popular in the 1920’s during the Great Depression, since chili was inexpensive to make and you could add cheap cuts of meat or just beans if you didn’t have any meat.

After the 1950’s, women started entering the work force more and more, so by 1985, more than half of all women who were mothers were also bringing home the dough. This meant mom was no longer home all day to cook, thus increasing the popularity of crockpots and slow cookers. You could dump everything into the crockpot in the morning and turn it on low. Once you came home eight hours later after a day at the office, your delicious chili was ready to serve to your hungry family! It was a pretty ingenious invention. And outdoor picnics were big at that time too, so chili served in a bag of chips meant no bowls to clean! The chips give an extra salty crunch to a thick and delicious chili. I highly recommend this vintage pairing!

big bowl of chili next to flowers and watermelon slices
big bowl of chili for picnic food while Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980's
a big bowl of chili and sliced watermelon as a picnic spread for the series Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980's
bag of Ruffles chips ripped open next to a big bowl of turkey chili
a bag of chips ripped open and covered with turkey and bean chili

Dinner in the 1980’s – Walnut Chicken

American-Chinese food was first introduced in California in the mid-1800s. It’s popularly known that most Chinese food you get here in America is nothing close to what you’d get in actual China. Many Chinese immigrants came to California during the Gold Rush to provide services such as grocery stores and restaurants to gold miners. But as popular as American-Chinese food is today, it cannot go without saying that immigrants from China experienced severe racism and oppression.

As decades progressed into the 20th century, immigrants from more countries came to America, bringing their unique dishes. But the American-Chinese dishes such as chop suey (that is an American invention and not Chinese at all) reigned supreme in popularity. In 1989, Chinese cuisine remained the most popular restaurants among 19 other cuisines! This walnut chicken is one of those hybrid inventions – you’ll probably only find it here in America, but it’s deemed as Chinese cuisine. And it’s delicious! πŸ”

The recipe I followed for this walnut chicken was actually from a Crisco ad from the 1980’s. The walnuts add a really nice creamy crunch alongside the fresh veggies. I cooked the chicken without cutting it into small pieces so it didn’t get too tough or dry.

skillet of walnut chicken next to a bowl of rice
Chinese-American walnut chicken next to two empty serving bowls, made while Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980's
close-up of a skillet full of the Chinese-American food, walnut chicken
skillet of walnut chicken next to a bowl of white rice to be served with, while Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980's

Thanks for joining this fun time-travelling adventure as we were cooking vintage recipes from the 1980’s! We toured the food rations during the war in the 1940’s. Then we sock-hopped into the fifties with casseroles and convenience foods. As we grooved into the sixties, we found that people were fond of their finger foods for cocktail parties. And in the 1970’s in America, we ate everything from Hamburger Helper due to another meat shortage to the scandalous Watergate salad.

Do you have other recipes that define the 1980’s? Let me know! πŸ’™

15 Replies to “Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980’s”

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