Bad taste dinner party

Sometimes there’s a time and place for ‘bad’ taste and it might be more palatable than expected.

Appetisers considered by many as past their use by date – Jatz, cheese cubes, ‘Devil’s on Horseback’ – don’t often to crop up on contemporary dinner party menus. But just like vintage fashion, culinary taste comes in cycles and one of the Vogue Living team recently had great fun redisovering the seemingly outdated meals of yesteryear. 


Market editor Conor Burke and friends found inspiration for a dinner party in a conversation about the obligatory bowl of cheese cubes at childhood parties and the re-edition of the classic tome of celebratory home cooking – the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. 

The Classic Birthday Cake Book

Each guest was required to contribute a dish that was tasteless by contemporary standard but once popular and the height of sophistication. Salmon mousse, a Devon topped Russian salad, tinned asparagus sandwiches and (multiple) spinach dip cob loafs joined the party. 

Despite everyone’s best efforts, even the most ambitious dishes were upstaged by a set of Cocktail Hedgehogs (credit goes to Melanie Hansche, from Donna Hay who alerted the host to the existence of the prickly looking appetiser), or Cocktail Echidna’s since this was an Australian dinner party.

While the menu really wasn’t to everyone’s taste, the exercise certainly provided guests with an interesting and hilarious insight into the parties of the past.

Charlotte Turgeon’s The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking (1982) is highly recommended for anyone interested in a similar dinner party. You can see some of the inspired meals from Turgeon’s book here. We also suggest taking a peak at the fantastic TV show Supersizer’s Go… Seventies.

4 Responses to “Bad taste dinner party”
  1. Georgia says:

    Great post VL. Ah the memories. And would you believe I actually have my mother’s (well-thumbed) copy of the AWW Children’s Birthday Cake Book sitting proudly on my bookshelf. Kudos to the parents who laboured over the cake cutouts and methodical decorations.

  2. Kerrie Elliott says:

    I believe I had a tablecloth just like that , how deja vous.

  3. Fleur says:

    So many memories on this page!!

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