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). 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!)

before – just plain milk
after – lots of foam on top

How to Make a Homemade Latte

what the heck:
– ¼ cup (2 ounces) espresso powder
– ¾ 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.

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!

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!

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.

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!

Published by strawberryandcream

Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)

15 thoughts on “Cooking Vintage Recipes from the 1980’s

  1. Sarah Davis – United States – I planning the next chapter of my life. I’m not exactly sure how it will be written, but I want it to include lots of yoga, paddle boarding, friends, family, dogs, travel and long trail rides on my horse.
    Sarah Davis says:

    We were getting so good fancy in the 80’s! LOL

    1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
      strawberryandcream says:

      Hahaha! You know it!

  2. Markus + Micah – We are Markus + Micah. We live in a tiny house by the sea, grow our plants, cook plant-based food, travel, and design wellness retreats and mindful programs so we can all live meaningful lives.
    Markus + Micah says:

    Really enjoy this series! Walnut chicken sounds interesting. But maybe change it with tempeh for us.

    1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
      strawberryandcream says:

      Ooh tempeh would be really delicious!!

    1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
      strawberryandcream says:

      Haha you think so? Cocoa Puffs and ring pops were my go to as a kid in the 90s

  3. I love the history of how and why things happen! I can’t wait to ready the 90s next

    1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
      strawberryandcream says:

      Lol!! I was born in the mid-90s and I’m trying to remember what was super popular lol I just remember Cocoa Puffs for breakfast before school and lots of Capri Sonnes and Rice Krispie treats at soccer practice

      1. Lol I was born in the late 80s. For the 90s I remember dorito chips and the sticks to dip in the cheese. Also those kangaroo crackers and sprinkle dip!

        1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
          strawberryandcream says:

          Omg those sticks to dip in cheese were in my lunch box every day!!! Alongside gogurt tubes

            1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
              strawberryandcream says:

              Those were the days!!

    1. strawberryandcream – Hello! I am on an epic adventure to learn how to cook and bake. So far I have only given myself food poisoning twice and made myself sick about a half a dozen other times. I am notorious for making poor substitutions, being clumsy in the kitchen & getting sent to the ER, and creating food that just looks downright nasty. But alas! I will prevail and learn how to master the art of feeding myself! :)
      strawberryandcream says:

      Thank you!!

what do you think? :)