30 foods Boomers love that Millennials won’t touch
Farewell, fruit cocktail ...
We all know that Baby Boomers and Millennials tend to disagree on a lot, and food is no exception. Some treasured vintage recipes and foods from the “greatest generation” are nothing short of nightmarish among younger folks. Check out the worst of the worst below.
Homemade soup is a soothing, comforting meal that’s easy to whip up in just a few minutes — which explains why Millennials have stopped stocking their cabinets with this inferior product. You won’t catch young people cooking dinner by adding water to these already flavorless soups.
They’re more likely to lean toward bone broth from the local butcher, or pho from the trendy Vietnamese place down the street. When it comes to eating soup at home … many still reach for instant ramen, sometimes topped with an egg or some fresh veggies. It’s super cheap, nostalgic, and always hits the spot.
Can we, as a society, agree to move on from sausage in a can? These creepy cylindrical snacks are filled with sodium, their texture is weird, and they just look gross. What dish involves these that wouldn’t be better off with some other type of meat instead?
It’s no wonder that these mystery meat monstrosities are no longer flying off the shelves. We have better options now — like literally anything else. Let’s just pretend they never existed. And to those of you who eat them straight from the can: Who hurt you?
Ah yes, cheap ground beef mixed with an egg and some basic seasonings, mainly flavored with ketchup. What’s not to hate? Even when you try to spice it up with things like bacon or cheese, it’s still just a brick of generically flavored meat.
Surely that same ground beef would be put to so much better use if it were made into chili, burgers, or tacos! Even the name of this dish is underwhelming. Meat. Loaf. Sounds appetizing, no? No. No, it does not. Millennials, it seems, are inclined to agree.
Most breakfast cereals are overpriced junk, and there are so many better options out there. It’s hardly a surprise that they’ve waned in popularity with recent generations. Back in the day, a bowl of Frosted Flakes and milk was considered a popular “balanced” breakfast.
Health-conscious Millennials, when they opt for breakfast, splurge on some satisfying avocado toast — which is more affordable than people think, especially when it’s prepared at home. The healthy fats in avocados keep you feeling full far longer than a bowl of sugary cereal would.
Honestly, most Millennials aren’t overly jazzed about most types of cakes, but fruitcake has to be the worst offender when it comes to overly sweet, dense desserts. These edible bricks are usually packed with syrupy, gummy “fruit” bits dyed in bright colors, more reminiscent of soap than actual food.
Also, if you hate fruitcake, I’ve got terrible news for you: It basically lasts forever without spoiling due to its high alcohol content. Some folks have been known to keep “enjoying” the same hunk of fruitcake for YEARS by regularly dousing it in booze. Younger foodies prefer to eat cakes that were baked at least this month.
A bowl of this mint-green goop may have been a welcome sight at potlucks of the past, but these days, you’d raise some eyebrows with this vintage dish. A cloying combo of pistachio pudding, whipped topping, canned pineapple, marshmallows, and nuts makes for a pretty unappealing dessert.
Historical rumors say that Richard Nixon soothed his frayed nerves with a big bowl of this glop during the political scandal of the same name, but there’s no actual evidence to prove it (unlike with the scandal itself). Regardless of its historical value, we’ll take a pass on actually consuming the fluffy green stuff.
Vegetables can be some of the most delicious gifts Mother Nature has to offer, but they get a bad rap — and we think canned veggies are to blame. They take freshly grown produce, drown it in water, and seal it away in a metal can for months. Obviously, it’s never going to taste the same as it once did.
We get that canned veggies were the perfect solution when resources were scarce, but with modern-day farming techniques and field-to-table programs like CSAs, Millennials see no reason to eat limp, soggy vegetables that taste faintly of aluminum. They’d prefer some freshly picked lettuce, just-harvested beans, or even flash-frozen broccoli, please and thank you.
This is just another example of abusing nature’s bounty by soaking it in water (or worse, syrup) just to make it shelf-stable. Crunchy-sweet pears turn into an unrecognizable mush, peaches become slippery and slimy, and don’t even get us started on the “cherries” they sometimes include.
Though the fruit cocktail has long been a staple ingredient of so-called “classic” recipes, the younger generation is opting for fresh or frozen alternatives, without the added sugar. For a Millennial, a “fruit cocktail” is probably better defined as a White Claw with a slice of lime in it.
Now, Millennials do love their cheeses. They’ve been known to shell out big bucks on local fruit and cheese platters at brunch, or pick up a spendy wedge of artisanal aged cheddar from the deli counter at Whole Foods to pair with a nice wine and crackers.
However, when it comes to the watery, lumpy concoction of curds that is cottage cheese — they’re not buying it the way their predecessors did. Maybe they’re still traumatized from being forced to eat it in their childhoods, usually paired with some equally unappetizing fruit cocktail. Whatever the reason, we won’t miss it.
Margarine was invented to be a lower-cost option when butter was in short supply, and while it’ll do the trick in a pinch, real, creamy butter just can’t be beat. Millennials know even plant-based butters blow this fake, flavorless stuff out of the water.
It’s also been touted as a healthier option because it contains less saturated fat, but some margarine can contain trans fat, which can lower “good” cholesterol levels. When given the choice between a tub of solidified oil and a tub of butter, we know what we’ll be choosing to top our toast with.
Sure, we all loved those über-processed “pasta” concoctions at one point in our lives, but now that we have grown-up taste buds, it’s hard to imagine wasting precious calories on something as mundane as ravioli from a can.
Especially when we know how truly delicious a well-prepared Italian dish can be — imagining eating a plate of this mushy, bland slop pretending to be pasta sounds unbearable. Give us a simple pot of spaghetti over this any day. Not even garlic bread can save this travesty of a meal.
Among the bevy of products Millennials are said to have “killed” is the humble can of tuna, a classic staple of sandwiches and casseroles from years past. People claim that they’re too lazy to open a can, or that they don’t even own can openers (presumably they killed those, too).
Though it’s true Millennials aren’t big on canned foods, we’re thinking the more likely reason they avoid tuna is the sky-high mercury content in commercially produced fish. Perhaps it’s the fact that overfishing is depleting our oceans’ ecosystems at an alarming rate? Or maybe — just maybe, canned tuna is gross.
Processed cheese product
What even is this stuff? It’s supposed to be cheese-like, but they can’t even legally refer to it as such. From the kind that comes in a gelatinous brick to the individually wrapped plasticky slices, the younger generation is abandoning “cheese product” for more delicious (and edible) options.
On its own, this mystery loaf is bland at best. Some vintage recipes, unsatisfied with fake cheese being merely unpleasant, combined it with things like chocolate, pineapple, and even peanut-butter-and-pickle sandwiches to make it a truly horrendous nightmare meal.
Bologna may have one of the catchiest jingles of all time, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that it’s basically the garbage disposal of meats. Take all the bits of meat that you can’t possibly sell on their own, grind them into a paste, form a log, and slice that bad boy up — you’ve got yourself some bologna.
Do we even need to explain why Millennials won’t eat this lamentable lunch meat? If it weren’t bad enough on its own, we’ve seen it combined with layers of mayo and spray cheese (offensive in their own right) to make an abomination called Bologna Cake. We’re sorry you had to see this.
Something about this condiment causes major tension across the generations. Mayo seems to be a main ingredient in nearly every vintage-era recipe we could find, from so-called “salads” to the objectively horrifying Bologna Cake.
The viscous spread is rapidly declining in popularity among younger consumers, and it’s mainly because they consider the texture and contents to be pretty gross. Surprisingly though, “aioli” is on the rise, which those in the know will recognize as nothing more than fancy mayonnaise dressed up with some spices. Just don’t make a cake out of it, we beg you.
Of all the crimes against deliciousness we’ve seen while researching this article, these wobbly towers from the 1950s may just be the absolute worst offenders. Young folks are turned off by this unholy combo of chunks and goo, and it’s faded from modern menus.
Unlike trendy foods like charcoal lemonade or avocado toast, various vegetables and fruits adrift in a wiggly sea of gelatin is not something you’ll see at the hottest new brunch place on the block. They’re staying firmly within the pages of Great Aunt Gladys’ cookbook, thank goodness. Also, just out of curiosity, why do they always have to use GREEN Jell-O?
There’s something to be said for using every part of an animal, but the liver’s entire function is to filter toxins … do you really want to grill one up and eat it? Despite its purpose, it has long been considered a healthy food, filled with nutrients and protein.
With that being said, even plenty of Baby Boomers grew up detesting the inescapable dish of liver and onions. It may be a healthy choice, but it’s hard to get over the overall “ick” factor. Nowadays, you’ll hardly ever see liver showing up on the dinner tables of Millennials, regardless of how many vitamins it contains.
American cheese slices
Despite its reputation for being plasticky, fake, and floppy, “American-style” cheese slices are still going strong among Baby Boomer shoppers. Why buy something that can’t even call itself cheese? With all the added ingredients, it’s surprising they can even call it food!
In addition to its status as a Frankenfood, American slices also generate a lot of plastic waste due to being individually wrapped. All the more reason to leave them behind, as an infamous footnote in culinary history.
Ham and Banana Casserole
This horrendous addition to the list of boomer foods is as repulsive as it looks. If your instinct is to gag when you see melted cheese over ham and banana, you’re perfectly human. It really boggles the mind that anyone would think to combine ham and cheese with fruit of all things.
This mid-century atrocity can be found in the McCall’s Casserole Cookbook, which is chock-full of cringeworthy concoctions. Believe it or not, this dish even made its way onto the Food Network in Paula Deen show.
Not only are these some of the most off-putting flavor combinations out there, but they even look like a science experiment gone wrong. They’re intended to be “fancy” dinner party dishes that show off the colorful ingredients inside, but the effect is far from appealing for most modern tastes.
They’re essentially meat stock-based jelly packed with “savory” ingredients like mixed vegetables (probably from a can, ick) and chunks of protein like hard-boiled eggs, seafood, or nondescript meats. We’re happy to leave this wobbly mess in the pages of vintage cookbooks forever, thanks.
If regular mayonnaise wasn’t enough to make most Millennials’ skin crawl, Miracle Whip will certainly do the trick. It was invented in 1933 and debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair as a dressing for those weird creamy “salad” dishes that seemed to be so popular back then.
It has all the goopy texture of mayonnaise with an added “tang” that is supposed to set it apart. It does, in a way that most young folks find overly sweet and just kind of gross. Much like its cousin mayonnaise, Millennials are leaving Miracle Whip on the shelf.
Do you love limp, flavorless food that’s only over- or undercooked? Well then, do we have just the meal for you! TV dinners were once thought to be the “food of the future,” freeing ’50s homemakers from the tedious chore of prepping and cleaning up after dinner each night.
We now know that these disappointing dishes served in plastic trays are not only high in sodium and always have one section that’s still cold in the middle, but they’re also lacking in flavor compared to their home-cooked counterparts. Kinda sad, if you ask us.
It’s no secret that craft beer has taken the world by storm. Millennials in particular have come to favor a thoughtfully made, artisanal brew over your typical canned lager. National brands, like the BBQ standbys of the older days you’d find in your uncle’s cooler, are the beers of the past.
We don’t see this trend changing any time soon, as the craft beer boom is far from over. Expect to see more and more microbrews hitting the market as Millennials continue to dictate the whims of the beverage market. Not a bad thing, if you ask us.
The Golden Arches have not adapted well to the changing times, and it shows. Their prices keep getting higher for the same subpar food, and the younger generation has responded by choosing to eat elsewhere.
Not only do they have a shocking lack of plant-based choices in this modern time, but the food they do have is disappointing and far from fresh. While Boomers were impressed by the burgers and fries back in the day, it’ll take more than a generic patty and oversalted fries to win the hearts of Millennials.
Spam was originally created as a wartime food, engineered to keep meat edible by stuffing it with so much salt and preservatives it would basically never go bad. It became super popular after WWII, mainly due to its convenience.
These days, it’s not quite the hit it used to be. Young people are turned off by its ambiguously meaty qualities and the fact that it lasts almost literally forever in a can. Mystery meats, in general, don’t fare well with Millennials … and we can’t blame them.
When artificial sweeteners were first discovered, they were a big hit. You could have all the sweetness of sugar with none of the negative side effects (i.e., weight gain and tooth decay). That was, of course, until we discovered all the negative side effects.
Artificial sweeteners are basically powdered science projects you can add to your drinks to make them taste sweet … and weird. While still a better option for diabetics than the real deal, fake sweeteners should ideally be limited as much as sugar. Millennials are realizing that a teaspoon of sugar is a far better option than 10 packets of sucralose.
Blue cheese is one of those polarizing foods that people either love or detest. Not only is it pretty pungent, but it also has a lovely ribbon of straight-up mold running through it. If this sounds gross to you, you just might be a Millennial.
Its sharp, tangy flavor isn’t many peoples’ cup of tea, even if you can get over its somewhat grody appearance (we can’t). Though it may be the humble hot wing’s best friend, the fact that it’s visibly moldy is turning younger diners toward ranch dressing instead.
Look in any Boomer’s cupboard and you’re likely to find these old-school indulgences tucked in the corner. Once looked upon as the ultimate treat, packaged snack cakes have fallen out of favor when it comes to Millennials’ dessert choices.
It’s easy to see why — these plastic-wrapped sugar bombs are dry, artificial-tasting, and chock-full of mystery ingredients. How exactly does one of these survive for years on end without spoiling? All we know is, we probably don’t want to eat it. Sorry, Little Debbie.
Granted, this was the only way many kids’ parents could get them to eat fish of any kind as a child, but the whole idea kind of creeps us out now that we’re old enough to know what’s going on. Cheap fish, highly processed and deep-fried, does not sound like an ideal meal.
Though they were the hot new thing after WWII, we’ve since realized that there are far better ways to enjoy fish, and far better types of fish to enjoy. Cheap remnants of various types of white fish are far from our idea of a delicious seafood dinner.
“Let’s take something that’s normally delicious and make it fat-free!” It seems to be a common theme in foods that Millennials just won’t touch. Fake, overly processed foods just aren’t impressing the taste buds of the younger generations, and whipped topping is no exception.
It’s basically sweetened oil, furiously stirred until it becomes solid, and it’s a poor, chemical-loaded substitute for actual whipped cream. Some of us were even tricked into thinking frozen fat-free whipped topping was a replacement for ice cream as children, and maybe we’re still bitter about it.
One staple of the Boomer diet is the family-style chain restaurant, serving up comfort foods in a friendly, predictable environment — just like grandma used to! Millennials, on the other hand, prefer their home-cooked food to be home-cooked. Who could have known?
When they go out to eat, they like to try buzzworthy new trends or the hottest spot in town. In other words, they’re looking for an experience they can’t get at home! Whether it’s clever cocktail mixology or an inspired new dish they’re after, you won’t find them at the local chain diner.