Retro food is back in vogue!


Nostalgia has crept into our food culture with a surge in popularity of the dishes we loved in the 1970s. There is no doubt that some of them are probably best left in the culinary history books. However, others are making a welcome return in preference to the quirky food pairings, foams and airs that now adorn the plates on cookery shows. Here are some of our favourite retro foods that we think deserve a comeback.

Peach melba

Invented in around 1892 to 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in London, the dessert was named after the Australian soprano Nellie Melba. The dessert consists of poached peaches and raspberry sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. Although you won’t commonly find this dish on dessert menus anymore, we think the simple combination of fruit and ice cream is timeless. Keen to try it out? Take a look at Nigella Lawson’s recipe for peach melba.

pineapple upside down

Pineapple upside down cake

Pineapple upside down cake is a classic retro dish that’s soft, moist and tangy. This buttery, spongy cake has a delicious brown sugar, pineapple and cherry topping. It’s a beloved school dinner classic, and makes for the perfect slice for afternoon tea served with ice cream or custard. Bring back the nostalgia with this recipe.

Knickerbocker glory

This is another retro dessert which was believed to have originated in New York in the early 1900s, and is allegedly named after The Knickerbocker Hotel in Manhattan. At some point in the 1920s the dessert became popular in the UK. Served in a large, tall glass, knickerbocker glory consists of layers of ice cream, cream, fruit and meringue. It’s then topped with various syrups, nuts, whipped cream and usually a cherry as well. Here’s a great recipe for knickerbocker glory from Mary Berry.

vol au vent


French for ‘windblown’ as a nod to its lightness, this is a small hollow case of puff pastry which is filled with a variety of savoury or sweet fillings—ham, chicken, mushroom and cheese are some of the most popular ones. Vol-au-vent make a great hot or cold starter, and they’re perfect for dinner parties as they look fancy but are surprisingly easy to make. Take a look at this recipe for creamy mushroom vol-au-vents.

Cherries Jubilee

This dessert dish is credited to Auguste Escoffier who prepared the dish for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Whole cherries are cooked in kirschwasser liqueur and then flambéed tableside and served as a sauce over vanilla ice cream. It became very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but has since fallen out of favour. We think it’s a luxuriously rich and warming winter dessert, so why not try it with this recipe.


Swiss cheese fondue

What’s not to love about melted cheese? Originating from Switzerland, this is a dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot over a mini, portable stove. Bread is then dipped into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. It’s a fantastic meal to share with friends, especially during the colder months. Next time you have company over, have a go at our tried and tested recipe for Swiss cheese fondue.

Coq au vin

Coq au vin is a well known French dish of chicken braised in wine, mushrooms and lardons.  A red burgundy wine is usually used, but local wines are often substituted depending on the region of France. Coq au vin was regarded as one of Julia Child’s signature dishes, who included it in her 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This dish may sound fancy, but it’s quite simple to make. Have a go with this recipe from BBC Good Food.

Arctic roll

An Arctic roll is a classic British dessert consisting of an ice cream cake made of vanilla ice cream and a layer or raspberry sauce, wrapped in a layer of sponge cake. The dessert was coined in the 1950s by Dr Ernest Velden who set up a factory in Eastbourne in 1968. Although sales slumped in the 1990s, sales took off again in 2008, perhaps out of nostalgia. Reminisce about those delicious flavours with this easy step by step guide on how to make an Arctic roll.

prawn cocktail

Prawn cocktail

Also known as shrimp cocktail, this seafood dish combines shelled, cooked prawns with a Marie Rose or cocktail sauce and served in a glass. Between the 1960s and 1980s, it was a popular hors d’œuvre or appetiser in Great Britain and the United States. The main ingredients in the cocktail sauce is usually ketchup and mayonnaise, but can also include Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper or paprika. Prawn cocktail is having a comeback, so why not see what all the fuss is about with this recipe by Sainsbury’s.

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