Sunday, May 28, 2023

6 Retro Menu Items You’ll Never See Today

Restaurants aren’t just places that you go to enjoy a fine meal. They are impressively accurate reflections of our culture and where we’re headed. They often are the barometers that tell you where common jobs will be going, what people will want at the dinner table, and even how people want to eat.

If you ever want to see how culture changes, take a look at a restaurant. These old school menu items, for example, show how much our cultural palettes changed. Would you ever buy any of these dishes at a restaurant?

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is a dish you often hear about, but rarely ever see these days. This is a filet steak, slathered in duxelles and pate, that’s wrapped in parma ham and baked into a puff pastry. Initially a British delicacy, Beef Wellington was considered to be a mark of a great chef.

During the 1950s and 1960s, this dish was a must-have on any upscale dining menu. However, its popularity declined as a result of the high price of ingredients and the long time it takes to make. Most people don’t want to wait an hour for their meal. Nowadays, only a handful of restaurants in major cities are willing to deal with the hassle.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is still fairly popular as a “heat and eat” dinner in America, but seeing it in restaurants is becoming increasingly rare. The reasons why these items are dropping off are actually fairly straightforward.

The biggest issue is that chicken pot pie is bland. It’s not exciting. It’s not exotic, and yet, it’s also not an all-American staple. As a result, people don’t really get excited to see this comfort food on menus. It’s also considered to be an item best left for home, which doesn’t help its ailing status.



Most people under the age of 50 haven’t had an aspic, and if you ask most people, that’s a good thing. Aspics are meats and vegetables that are suspended in meat-flavored gelatin–or worse, flavorless gelatin.

Though some aspics aren’t too bad, the cheap ingredients and bizarre appearance ended up making these fall to the wayside fast. We can’t blame them for this.

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

You can thank Julia Child for bringing the French cuisine frenzy to America back in the 1960s. Beef Bourguignon is considered to be the crown jewel of French fine dining and is celebrated for its delicate flavors. You might be wondering what pulled this from menus.

The answer? Well, it has a similar downfall to Beef Wellington along with one more problem. Along with it being difficult and time-consuming to make, Beef Bourguignon also has the problem of French cuisine’s decline. Now that people aren’t lining up to French restaurants, finding chefs who make it is a thing of the past.

Roasted Squab

Roasted Squab

Squab was one of the more popular meats available during the 19th century. More modern diners might recognize this meat as pigeon meat. Back in the day, eating pigeons was actually a culinary norm, with many restaurants praising its affordable price point and juicy texture.

Today, finding pigeon on a menu tends to be a cause for alarm. People now see trash-eating street vermin. Eating city-dwelling pigeons today could easily cause serious sickness, and even if they were raised on a farm, the stigma would still make in unappetizing to most.


Chicken A La King

This Midwestern favorite was known for being easy to make, affordable, and a staple among homes. For quite some time, it was also considered to be standard diner food across the country. It’s easy to see why; it’s creamy, savory, and just plain good eatin’.

The problem is that restaurants evolved. People don’t really go to diners and restaurants to get food they can make at home. And so, this classic platter is starting to fade out of existence.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a food critic, writer, and at home culinary enthusiast!


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