With its uncontrolled pollution, rampant government corruption, frequent energy shortages, violent social unrest and division, and a meaningless war sacrificing too many lives, the 1970s now seem like a golden age of tranquility compared to our current era. But there is one thing we’ve improved upon since the ’70s: eating.
Although the roots of gourmet dining utilizing regional and organic ingredients sprouted on the West Coast during that decade, cooking at home in the 1970s was still mostly horrible. (Unless, of course, you really liked steak and potatoes.) As evidence, I offer these recipe cards from 1973. Often advertised on UHF channels, “The Complete Family Recipe Card Library” was promoted as a sure way of bringing “new excitement and new interest to your table.” Today, these dishes—as depicted in “Beautiful Full-Color Photography”—mostly bring gag reflexes to your table, but back then they seemed like an integral part of the modern kitchen.
There were 15 series of cards in all, perhaps meant to inspire a collecting fervor among Brady Bunch-style mothers across the nation. The especially hardcore collectors could also purchase a special-made recipe file box that was not only “Tested Lifetime Guaranteed,” but also came equipped with two sets of “beautiful decorative decals:” Early American and Floral Bouquet.
There is no historical record of any of these recipes actually being used by ’70s-era homemakers, but if anyone would like to make some of these recipes, I will email them on request. Likewise, if anyone still has the complete set, I’d certainly like to complete our collection in order to share this vital record of America’s culinary past.
Here is Series 6: