Defined by a mix of jet-puffed marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and topped with whipped cream, ambrosia barely qualifies as a “salad.” After a night of cooling in the freezer, the dish coagulates into a dejected, fruity mess. Despite its sweet ingredients, it’s often served among the main course of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals—rarely as a dessert and often an afterthought.
This 19th-century meal was made with seemingly luxurious ingredients, granting its name after the food of Greek gods. Once marshmallows were introduced to the recipe in the 1920s, ambrosia became a staple holiday meal. Unfortunately, the ingredients now used to make the dish are more unhealthy than they are lavish, which turns away the health-conscious millennial gaze.
An infamous dessert of Victorian origins, the fruitcake has been the butt of jokes since the ‘60s when Johnny Carson quipped that it was “the worst Christmas gift.” Alongside the implication that the cakes were passed around the neighborhood, Carson founded the misconception that fruitcake just tasted horrible.
The dense spice cake filled with fruits and nuts has been neglected by Millennials, so most people don’t actually know if it’s any good. Even so, the dessert’s high density of calories and fat outnumber any health benefits it may provide, ultimately dooming its popularity.
One of the most boring cereals ever, bran exists to clean out our insides with its high fiber content. While it ranks high on lists of healthiest cereals, things get dicey once raisins are introduced in the mix.
Popular raisin bran cereals have an extraordinarily high sugar content, sometimes surpassing that of popular children’s cereals like Lucky Charms. Not to mention gluten-free and diabetic people are advised to stay far, far away from the cereal. Containing a risky mix of high fructose corn syrup and sweeteners, Raisin Bran’s heart-healthy benefits are overshadowed by harmful ingredients.
Just listen to these ingredients: parboiled sausage made of pork and beef encased by sheep intestine and canned in chicken broth. An unbalanced mix of sodium nitrite and saturated fat, the vienna sausage is among one of the unhealthiest foods.
Fresh from the can, vienna sausages are slimy, cold cylinders that require lots of TLC to become edible. Characteristic bachelor food, we can see the little wieners as scavenged food during a zombie apocalypse.
Despite their appearance, sardines are packed with heart-healthy and stroke-minimizing benefits that place them on the top of the list of superfoods. Unlike most fish, the sardine has a low mercury content, which makes it safer to eat in larger portions.
However, the canned variety has a particular gag-inducing quality. Consumers with issues regarding uric acid or salt intake should take extra time to consider if eating sardines is really the best option (not to mention the smell).
Tuna casserole is a classic “welcome to the neighborhood!” dish that’s completely hit-or-miss. Typically made with canned and fattening ingredients, the traditional dish has rounded the corner to old-fashioned territory. Not many young people regularly enjoy a dish packed with tuna, noodles, and peas.
The dish is now primarily a nostalgic guilty pleasure for many boomers who’ve grown used to its adverse effects.
Artificial sweetener, once a revolutionary alternative to calorie-packed sugar, has garnered an infamous reputation in recent decades. Instead of asking, “What sweetener do you use?” the question has turned to, “Which sweetener is the safest to consume?”
An abundance of research shows that minimal use of the product can help with weight loss, but a complete substitution of sugar can actually lead to a worsened diet and aversion to healthy foods. Rumors of aspartame and other artificial sweetener’s carcinogenic risk have little support, but their link to heart disease and obesity are nearly undeniable.
The bologna—AKA “baloney”—sandwich is a staple of the United States and Canada. The sandwich can be whipped up at a moment’s notice, granting it popularity among lazy cooks.
Usually prepared on white bread with ketchup, mayo, or yellow mustard, the sandwich is easy enough to make for boomers to overlook its health risks.
SPAM’s popularity dates back to WWII. A nearly thoughtless meal, its leftover grease was used to lubricate guns and boots. Originating in the U.S., the canned pork skyrocketed to stardom in Hawaii. Its incredibly cheap pricing and ability to substitute more expensive meats has granted it a place on the shelf for decades.
While diving into a pre-cooked can of spiced pork is entirely possible, even SPAM lovers label that act unforgivable. Either stick to cooking it or just buy some meat that isn’t canned.
Any Hostess product is an automatic guilty pleasure, and Twinkies top their all-star list of packaged desserts. Twinkies, with their creamy goodness filling and deep-fried, flaky crust, are an unmatched staple of sugary treats.
There’s no denying that Twinkies are unhealthy, but Boomers don’t seem to care. After shutting its doors in 2012 from bankruptcy, Hostess was bought and revived, allowing the iconic snack to live indefinitely in American pantries.
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap for being the worst vegetable, but they’re actually among some of the top superfoods. The tiny cabbage, packed with protein and fiber while low in calories, has gained its place on tables worldwide.
However, the popularity of Boomers boiling Brussels sprouts leaches the vegetable of its flavor and gives off a putrid smell. Not to mention the stomach aches and gas associated with the sprout’s tough carbohydrates. It’s about time they consider the Millennial tactic of tossing them in the oven!
Whoever thought of combining the sweetness of corn with the milky residue of its pulped kernels liked corn a little too much. The corn tends to turn an unappetizing color if cooked improperly, especially if the ingredients come from a can.
At least people sensitive to lactose can enjoy something “creamed” without the cramping effects of dairy.
Any form of processed fish should automatically be cause for concern. Battered, breaded, fried, and frozen fish sticks lead a straight path to heart disease. While the fish used in these quick meals are typically low in mercury, the breading contains harmful trans fats.
We don’t even want to think about eating the sticks undercooked, the results of which would not be pretty. And deeming this unhealthy meal a “kid’s food” is just wrong.
Liver is another among a list of nutritional superfoods. The meat isn’t exceptionally flavorful, especially without the addition of sauce, so it’s hard to see boomers as children eating the toxin-filtering organ. Why does the trend live on?
No matter how many vitamins it contains, millennials would be hard-pressed to serve a meal with liver as the main course.
Chicken Pot Pie
The chicken pot pie surfaces horror-filled memories of the stop-motion film Chicken Run, and it’s never been the same since. The subpar mixture of peas, carrots, gravy, and chicken create a soupy, unappetizing mess. Even when the flaky crust appears appetizing, the one-dimensional flavor makes it entirely forgettable.
Don’t even get us started on the frozen version. Overall, chicken pot pie is a sad excuse for pie that has no place in the 21st-century.
Eggs alone are good. Eggs on sandwiches are great. But eggs in a salad? Come on! It’s not even a salad. It’s literally just eggs with a dash of mayo and tasteless veggies.
The main issue with the egg salad is the unparalleled stench. Paired with high-calorie content and saturated fats, it’s about time we switched to healthier alternatives (you know, like real salad).
The classic kid’s meal SpaghettiOs looks so unappetizing that it’s hard to believe its popularity. While the saucy lunch isn’t as unhealthy as you might assume, the meal is barely less messy than the traditional dish.
Reheating the can of charmingly shaped pasta in the microwave is a valid option, but cause for increased distaste. The little flavor that existed in the original can is surely decimated after a nuke.
On first glance, “ice milk” just looks like a weird typo for ice cream. And that’s basically what it is. Ice milk is a cheaply produced spinoff of the beloved dessert. Since it’s characterized by a lower fat content, ice milk was packaged as a “low-fat” ice cream but has since disappeared from store shelves.
The comparison to ice cream is valid, but it’s clear that ice milk is the inferior variety. With an abundance of sugar that hardly masks the low-fat milk powder used to make it, ice milk’s creamy texture is its lone redeeming factor.
No other treat is more characteristic of boomers than the hard, candied caramel of Werther’s Original. Constantly tossed, passed, and traded, the treat is the token of a generation.
Unfortunately, the hard candies are terrible for dental health and can cause cavities once the prolonged dissolving process lodges sugar into the gums.
Cream of Wheat
Cream of wheat is just a glorified porridge with a questionable name. Nothing is worse for the spirits than a tasteless, goopy breakfast.
To distract from the plain flavor, maple syrup or sugar can be added to the mix, or more savory additions such as cheese, butter, or salt. However, the overall health of the meal decreases once all these additives are present. Is it even worth it at that point? Just have some oatmeal.
Like cream of wheat, grits are a mushy staple of the classic American breakfast. The mild flavoring calls for an addition of cheesy additives alongside toast and bacon, perfect for those lacking teeth to chew with.We refuse to believe that anyone eats these plain, so the health benefits are questionable. Just admit it, grits are only enjoyable once tons of salt and butter supplement it.
Prunes are dried plums used widely for its juice by those with digestive issues. While the fruit has a slew of health benefits—including potassium, iron, and vitamins—many millennials can’t see past its laxative-like effects.
There’s a whole world of juices out there and prunes should stick to being grandma’s humble bellyache remedy.
Lima beans are one of the worst varieties of bean to exist. The Boomer’s go-to preparation method is boiling, which gives an unsettling texture that’s simultaneously grainy, bitter, and soft.
Don’t even get us started on the smell, which is vile at best. And just a heads-up if you want to avoid boiling the beans: creaming them is not a better alternative.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Biting into an oatmeal raisin cookie expecting chocolate chips is a tragedy unmatched in this universe. And why are they all so terribly dry? The texture is reminiscent of a dog treat, but we can’t even pass the buck to our pets due to the toxicity of raisins.
All we’ll say is this: there’s a reason these cookies are the last left on the plate at parties.
Does anyone even know what tapioca is? Boomers seem to enjoy it, because they voluntarily mix it with milk to make a pudding suitable even for the toothless few. Even then it’s hard to swallow.
While the taste isn’t entirely disagreeable, its chunky texture kills the dish entirely. Just add it to the list of foods we never asked for.
The South’s favorite addition for any meal, cornbread is a recipe for crumbly disaster. Popularized during the Civil War for its cheapness and flexibility, Boomers today will argue endlessly over the “right” way to make cornbread.
Whether fluffy, fried, or sweet, cornbread is cornbread—nothing worth starting another civil war over.
It’s a wonder that limburger cheese still has Boomers rooting for it given its nauseating aroma. The bacteria that causes the odor is likened to that of stinky feet.
While Millennials will try any version of fermented tea as a “detox,” their low-smell tolerance just isn’t up for this cheesy task.
Whoever thought of using ground meat as a base for pie is just plain evil. The lone ingredients of the dish—veggies, cheese, mashed potatoes, sauce, and beef—are undeniably flavourful. Yet sticking them into a broth and giving it a good mix somehow sucks out all the substance of the food.
Perhaps the individual foods are best left alone if we can’t make out the ingredients of the dish upon inspection. Not everything needs to be slopped together.
Every Boomer’s go-to chain restaurant, we’re hard-pressed to find a place so dedicated to tradition as Cracker Barrel. Entering any of their stores is like transporting into a dimension of cornbread and novelty toys.
Boomers cling to Cracker Barrel’s familiarity, as it can be found along the highway of over 40 U.S. states. Lines of rocking chairs and walls decorated by old-America paraphernalia acts as a second home to Boomers who long for the “good ‘ole days.”
The flexibility of rice pudding as an entree or dessert is intrinsically unsettling. The dish may be cheap and easy to make, but adding a dash of sugar to something doesn’t make it a dessert.
While Millennials are set on cutting down sugar with Whole-30 diets, they’re much more likely to reach for a flavorful smoothie bowl than another flavorless porridge.