Food and Drink #16: Dinner Is Served

It's 6:30 PM, Friday 1973.  Two income homes were a rarity, so chances are mom spent the afternoon cooking and cleaning at home.  The tables were cleared of ashtrays and set for dinner. A muffled TV set playing "The Wonderful World of Disney" emanating from the kid's room, glasses and silverware clinking, sporadic laughter, and unabated overlapping conversations, free of awkward silences.  Those were the sounds of my seventies.

I don't think social meals, even as a family, are nearly as common these days. It's a sad loss - the dinner table has been the meeting place for literally thousands of years.  What a shame that it's being replaced by fast food in a greasy bag. Let's take a look at what was on the table both at home and dining-out during the seventies (and late sixties), long before it disintegrated into the hustle and bustle of the 2000s.

This looks like something King Henry IIX would eat after a long day of fox hunting and wife murdering. Not the sort of spread I'd expect at a beach picnic. 

Dinner at the Huddle House? What's the occasion I wonder. There's a cake on the table without candles, so I'm guessing it's a First Communion or something similar.

Privileged white folks at supper. How quaint.

The guy in the middle seems to have something on his mind - he can't really be eyeing that floral arrangement. Is he ready to make a big announcement? "Helen, Larry, Rose... mom....I'm gay."

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, ladies. 

This family takes their bibbing seriously. The beard on the guy at the head of the table is nothing short of alarming.

This image is from a magazine article on "Together Teens" doing the cooking for a party. There's so much to love here - the 'fro, the pink jumpsuit, the tight sweater vest, the fly-away collar.  I almost tear up looking at it. 

I get the scenario - they just moved in, so they're eating their lunch on cardboard boxes.  A pretty sensational meal, all things considered.  My family doesn't eat this good and we've been living here for years. (guilt)

Aha! So, this is what goes on in First Class!... Down with the 1%! 

When you've got clothes this loud, you'd better have some wicked exciting food presentations to match. I wonder what the lady in mint-chocolate-chip polyester is drinking.  I'll have whatever she's having.   

There's an empty seat at this table. Perhaps, he/she couldn't handle watching the food getting caught in that fella's mighty crumb catcher. 

... and then Grandma fought back and polyunsaturated the living shit out of those Schifano brats.  It was an ugly scene - one the family would prefer to forget.



  1. I love the storylines to all those photos! I wish I was born in the sixties)


  2. Hey Gil
    As you know I live in China and have for 7 years now, and what I wouldn't give for a meal like one of these. You can only eat rice and noodles for so long until you want some real roast beef.Great images.

    Bill 2 The Uranium Cafe

  3. So many things to love in the possible First Communion photo:

    -The amber textured plastic glasses, probably Texan brand. Probably most popular in red at Pizza Hut. The blue ones were more rare and the coolest. We have 2 large in clear.

    -Copper & black insulated pitchers. They keep coffee hot and ice water cold. A classic and enduring style.

    -Printed paper placemats with a scalloped edge. I haven't seen a restaurant use these in a long, long time. Much better than any tablecloth.

    -Panelling. Bring it on.

    As for the fondus, I rescued 2 fondu pots from the trunk of my parents' car, which were on their way to a 2nd hand shop. We need to collect simple recipes and fondu the hell outa 'em! I also got the long forks with real wooden handles and colored plastic tops. I'd eat every meal with those if I could.

  4. The waiter looking at the privileged white lady has a subliminal reaction on his tray.

  5. Ahh, the good ol' days. Personally, I'm okay without the big meals.

  6. Regarding the young couple eating a home-made feast on a cardboard box, remember that that all the neighbors started cooking and getting their welcome gifts together as soon as they saw that new neighbors were moving in. It was a much friendlier world where I grew up than the one where I live now. I still live in the same neighborhood, the only difference is 40 years.

  7. The guy in the white turtleneck takes me back to the mid 70s and my aunt and uncle's holiday parties. They lived a block from us, in a late 20s, vaguely French brick house. Those parties had it all - kids running around, lots of smoking and drinking, fondue and carved roast beef, probably the first brie I ever tasted, and neighbor Harry Ungar in a turtleneck and corduroy blazer, our own steeltown Lord Snowdon.

  8. The snapshot of the heavily paneled room and the candleless cake reminds me of my family's trip to Topeka for a family reunion in 1979. We ate one meal in a banquet room of some restaurant there. My father was really big into slides, so I still have pictures of the feast, and they look quite similar to that picture. Of course the picture you posted doesn't have my 80 year old Great Aunt Elizabeth and her "friend" Roberta, nor my father's cousin in a powder blue leisure suit rockin' some way out mutton chop sideburns.

    Good times. Garish times.

  9. Love the first shot with the fondue pot!

  10. I think it mighta been a Sunday if Wonderful World of Disney was emanating.

  11. I hate to be pedantic but King Henry IIX? Did you mean King Henry VIII? As in "I'm 'enery the 8th I am..."

  12. Oh Wow! Love all these images! I collect vintage cookbooks just for images just like this!

  13. These photos are great. I want to go to there.

  14. The cardboard-box couple has MY CorningWare casserole dishes in the Spice o' Life pattern! Love those things.

  15. Another pick-up line: "If we're not in too much of a hurry I thought we could stop off in Lucerne for a late night fondue."

    Eavesdroppers who don't know what fondue is may think it is something naughty, but in the 70's it probably was....

  16. In the last photo Hunter S. Thompson has shown up. We don't see the aftermath in which the garbage gets tipped over, all Dad's porn gets stolen and all the females in the house get pregnant.