5 Once Popular Foods We Don’t Eat Anymore (And Why)


By Cooking Panda

Food trends come and go throughout the decades, much like fashion and home decor. What was popular in the 70s – earth tones, bell-bottoms, and savory Jell-O salad – is now outdated, and sometimes for good reason! Go ahead and take a trip down memory lane with us and visit some of these once super popular foods that we hardly ever see in stores anymore!

1. TV Dinners

TV Dinners were made popular in the 50s by Swanson. The idea actually originated when Swanson was trying to figure out a way to package and sell their leftover Thanksgiving dinners. They decided to package it up in a dinner plate for one – and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, there are still frozen TV dinners available, even some by Swanson. However, a lot of the dinners are very high in sodium and other preservatives that aren’t healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

2. Congealed Salads

You know what they say – hindsight is 20/20. This perfectly sums up congealed salads. What were we thinking? Shrimp Jell-O? Solidified tuna gelatin? It’s pretty clear why these are not popular any more. These dishes first became popular during the Great Depression as a way to stretch food and make it last longer. For some reason, these salads had a burst in popularity during the 60s and 70s. Since that time, Jell-O switched gears and started marketing themselves as a sugary treat.

3. Sunny-D

This popular drink was everywhere in the 90s! It was marketed as an orange juice type drink that was a healthy part of a good breakfast or a good snack after a sports practice. However, it turns out Sunny-D is primarily corn syrup, with only 5% actual orange juice. The FDA said the drink was a “con” and falsely promoted health benefits. You can still find Sunny-D in stores, but there’s no denying it has dropped in popularity of the last 10 years.

4. Hi-C

Another popular drink of the 90s is Hi-C. Much like Sunny-D, this drink was marketed as a “juice drink.” It made its way into many school lunch boxes. In reality, there was less than 5% juice in the drink. The little box contained 27 grams of sugar – more than a grown adult should have in an entire day, let alone kids! The other nail in the Hi-C coffin was the containers – one report said the little boxes could take up to 300 years to decompose.

5. Crisco

Originally marketed as a healthy alternative to lard when making fried foods. This vegetable shortening was very popular not only for fried foods but for baked goods as well, used in place of butter. However, once people found out Crisco was pretty much a tub of trans-fat, they started looking for other alternatives. Trans-fats were banned in pre-packaged foods as of 2018.

This article originally appeared on 12Tomatoes, written by Jessica Griggs.Tags: Food Facts, food history, nostalgia
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A Hush Puppy Appreciation Post (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

The hush puppy, a fried snack that is underrated and overshadowed by the likes of onion rings and french fries, is deserving of its own moment. An ode, if you will.

If you are unfamiliar with the food (and I feel deeply sorry for you if you are), it is a deep-fried cornmeal sphere that originated in the butter-lovin’ South. Paula Deen makes hers with buttermilk, while other recipes call for onions. The beauty of the hush puppy is that no single one is the same, contributing to its humble feel.

Hush puppies also have a fascinating backstory, which is why they’re called something much more interesting than, well, deep-fried cornmeal spheres. Many stories say the snack got its name during the Civil War, when Confederate soldiers tossed the fried cornmeal to their combat dogs, attempting to “hush the puppies” in the presence of Union soldiers.

But Serious Eats passionately reports that that popular speculation is oversimplified, speculating instead that the term “hush puppy” first referred to ham gravy and was named for its ability to “keep the dogs in your stomach from growling.” And the recipe was definitely not invented by soldiers, as South Carolinians enjoyed freshly caught fish with fried dollops of cornmeal, originally called “red horse bread,” as early as 1903.

It sure doesn’t sound as convenient, but when it comes to food history, I’ll take fact over fanciful fiction any day.

Another tidbit — If you’re familiar with the Hush Puppies shoe brand, you’ll love this: Released as America’s first non-athletic casual shoe in 1958, comfortable Hush Puppies were aptly named for quieting “your barking dogs.”

The beloved dish, made with a base of cornmeal, flour, milk and egg and fried until golden brown, can be found at plenty of eateries, from fast-food chains like Long John Silver’s — where they’re served plain and simple — to gourmet restaurants like Vintage Twelve in South Carolina — where they’re made with roasted corn and dipped in pimento cheese fondue.

Here are buttermilk hush puppies, served with a spicy cayenne remoulade. 

They can also be made with peas, jalapenos and ham, like this.

A crab-cake spin is always an option.

And they can even be turned into muffins.

However you decide to cook and consume yours, you can fondly remember their history as a Southern fisherman’s way to keep hunger at bay.

Source: Serious Eats / Featured photo credit: jeffreyw/Flickr

Tags: food history, hush puppies, Southern Food
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Why Is It Called A Po’ Boy Sandwich, Anyway?


By Cooking Panda

If you’re a normal, curious human being (okay, or maybe a food nerd), you may have wondered about the origins of the name of a particularly iconic and deliciously comforting American sandwich: the po’ boy.

My own curiosity began when my grandma and I were on our way to a po’ boy joint in Houston, and she kept calling our soon-to-be-devoured sandwiches “poor boys.”

“Gee, Gammie’s losing it,” I thought to myself. “How does she not know they’re called po’ boys?”

And then, duh, it dawned on me. “Po'” is short for “poor.” Well, I had to know mo’.

According to the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, the sandwich found its roots in a hole-in-the-wall coffee stand that opened in New Orleans in 1922 — Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand and Restaurant.

Brothers Bennie and Clovis Martin were former streetcar operators when they opened the shop. At the time, New Orleans transit employees were becoming increasingly angry about contract negotiations, and they went on strike throughout the city.

The strikes got so intense in 1929 that the transit system was shut down for two weeks, and New Orleans firefighters said the few operating streetcars were too dangerous to ride.

In solidarity, the Martin Brothers offered free sandwiches to the strikers. The foot-long pieces of bread were sliced down the middle and filled with fried potatoes and roast beef gravy, according to Go NOLA. Most people called them loaves. Until …

“We fed those men free of charge until the strike ended,” Bennie Martin said, according to the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. “Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, ‘Here comes another poor boy.'”

The Martins’ generosity — as well as their sandwiches’ hefty size and good prices — catapulted the “po’ boy” sandwich to fame.

Nearly a century later, people still love po’ boys, though they’re probably not getting them for free, and they’re buying them with far more fillings than potatoes and gravy. You can find them far beyond New Orleans, too, but it’s no coincidence that the po’ boy fandom is strongest in Louisiana. Here are some of people’s favorite places for po’ boys in NOLA.

Sources: Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, Go NOLA / Photo credit: Clotee Pridgen Allochuku/FlickrTags: american sandwich, food history, martin brothers, new orleans, po boy, po' boy sandwich, poor boy, sandwich
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