Want to host a fabulous cocktail party? Then you are going to need some appetizers. Why not try some retro appetizer recipes to wow your guests with?
Appetizers have been around since at least the 18th century, with the French using the term canapes during that time. Originally canapes were thin slices of bread with different savory toppings. Canapes started as a term for sofas and with these treats being toppings sitting on top of bread, like people on sofas they called the appetizers this as well. Canapes is now a broader term for finger foods.
Appetizers grew in popularity due to Prohibition. Appetizers like finger sandwiches and stuffed mushrooms were served to help keep patrons of speakeasies from leaving inebriated. These small dishes were easy to carry around with a cocktail while you socialized.
Cocktail parties were also gaining popularity during this time but they wouldn’t really peak in popularity until the 1950s and 1960s.
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The Rise of the Cocktail Party
And of course, appetizers were common at these cocktail parties and other dinner parties. With many of these cocktail parties, buffets weren’t considered proper and these finger foods were instead passed out by a host and a helper (a friend, relative, or hired staff).
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Finding Retro Appetizer Recipes
You can see a great glimpse of the popular finger foods of the mid-century by checking out vintage cookbooks and vintage magazines. Without Pinterest to look to for recipes housewives used their cookbooks and magazines.
One of my favorite vintage cookbooks is the Betty Crocker’s Hostess Cookbook. It’s from the 1960s and has everything a housewife would need to know about hosting party.
One of the sections has a lot of great appetizer recipes. Some are things we still like to eat but others I think most of us are okay with staying in the past.
You’ll find guacamole, cheese ball recipes, cheese straws, and other things we still often eat today but you’ll also find some very interesting sounding recipes like jellied watercress soup which of course includes jello because jello was in everything during the 1950s!
You may want to skip the savory jello recipes but there are some retro appetizers that you’ll want to try out at your next party.