The Most Popular Family Dinner from Every Decade
Find a quintessential family dinner for every decade over the past 100 years.
Croquettes were a favorite meal of thrifty home cooks, who could combine leftover bits of meat and vegetables with cheese, potato or rice. The mixture was formed into small mounds, rolled in egg and breadcrumbs and then fried.
Chicken a la King was created by a chef at an upscale hotel. Which chef it actually was is in contention, as there are several claims to the creation of this recipe. The dish of diced chicken and vegetables in a rich cream sauce was a 1920s family dinner favorite.
Meat loaf was a tasty and affordable meal for families during the Great Depression, when money and ingredients were scarce. Just a small amount of meat could feed a family when stretched with ingredients like crackers, eggs and milk.
This simple comfort food dinner made of chopped, dried beef in a white sauce was served to soldiers during WWII, and it was also an option for home cooks limited by wartime rations. The beef and sauce could be spooned over bread ends, toast or biscuits.
Growing up in the ’50s you either loved or hated this popular family dinner! Convenience foods ruled the decade, and this casserole was a great way to use canned tuna, packaged pasta and frozen peas.
The world was enchanted by Julia Child, a self-taught cook who brought French dishes into homes and to dinner tables. Despite the fancy name, coq au vin is actually a simple and delicious dish of braised chicken. Here’s what happened when we made Julia’s recipe!
Tex-Mex, the American take on spicy, vibrant Mexican food really exploded in the ’80s. (Remember the salsa commercials? “New York City?!”) There were chain restaurants like Pollo Loco, Chili’s and Taco Bell, and at home, families dug into nachos, enchiladas and loaded tacos.
The ’90s loved extremes: extreme sports, extreme soft drinks and yes, extreme food. How do you make a pizza “extreme”? By filling the crust with a thick, gooey core of melted cheese.
The new millennium saw the rise of bacon-wrapped everything. The craze was fueled in part by popular no-carb diets like Atkins. Families found bacon on the dinner table wrapped around other meats like meat loaf, chicken breasts and pork tenderloin.
Instant Pot electric pressure cookers have been the most exciting appliance of this decade, saving cooks so much time in the kitchen. Chicken is easily the most popular Instant Pot ingredient, especially cuts like chicken thighs which normally need a long cooking time.