Who’s Up for an Ugly Dinner?


If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you certainly know of our proclivity for Ugly Treats. We wholeheartedly encourage people to make disgusting-looking cookies, cakes, and other desserts…just for fun.

Well, an astute reader recently reminded me that dessert doesn’t have to be the only food group up for an ugly makeover. She pointed me to an article highlighting 21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes. Below are a few of my favorites:

Liver Sausage Pineapple
Imagine mixing together liver sausage, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mayonnaise and gelatin into the shape of a pineapple. Then imagine the people you made it for hating you forever.

Monterey Soufflé Salad
This one looks totally great; I’m just not a fan of pimentos. Or mixing seafood and lemon Jell-O. But that’s just me.

Super Salad Loaf
If you want to be happy when company comes…then don’t make this.

Granted, each of these dishes look like they’ve been beaten repeatedly with the ugly stick. The truly upsetting aspect is that none of theme are intended to be so. These are real, legitimate recipes developed by sincere, well-intentioned (and possibly blind) people.

However, there’s nothing saying you can’t change that intention.

What if you had a dinner party featuring ugly cookies that was proceeded by an ugly main course? You could take and use these exact recipes as your guide!

Just remember, treat gelatin as the workhorse it is!

While there is a chance no one will have an appetite by the time you unveil what’s for dinner, one thing is certain: Adultitis will find another home to occupy on that day!

want more good stuff like this?
Sign up to get the best this blog has to offer, including FREE weekly tips for
fighting Adultitis. It's like milk and cookies for your inbox! (Learn more.)


  1. Judy Burnham says:

    When I was little, my parents had little money. But, my mom wanted to cook something gourmet. So, she found this recipe for bologna pea cups. She fried bologna until it curled up into a shallow bowl shape and then filled it with creamed peas.

    As an adult, I never had the desire to make or serve this ugly meal. But, if I do, I will send a picture.

    • Bless your mom’s heart, Judy! The picture is already in my head…and I can’t help but wonder if there has been anything made from bologna in the history of the world that could ever be considered “gourmet.” :)

  2. Today’s post reminded me that about 10 years ago a popular ketchup brand made a limited edition green ketchup. It tasted just like the regular stuff but my young teens wouldn’t eat it. Finally I decided to use it when making meat loaf, assuming the color wouldn’t be discernible. Wrong! That was the ugliest meat loaf I have ever seen. But we still laugh about it all these years later!

    • I can’t imagine what that would have looked like, Bonnie! It’s so funny how much color can affect our appetites, even if the flavor is exactly the same :)

  3. Debbie Green says:

    Growing up with 6 kids and making ends meet, sometimes it was leftover night. Well, it wasn’t just each individual leftover heated up….my Mom would take anything in the fridge that was ready to go bad, through it in a pan, mix it up and you had some pretty ugly dinners! They didn’t taste good either…..

  4. bruce shaw says:


    May I add that SPAM should also be treated like the artistic tasty treat that it is … artistically it can be carved, stacked, & dyed… eat-ably it can be fried, baked, or simply served “neat” right out of the can. My wife & I entered the spam cook-off at the 1996 Spam Festival in Austin, Minnesota. We had 3 recipes entered, all tested for taste and artistic presentation in the famous home kitchen of spam-oxticity (our house).

    First we visited the Spam museum… touring its hallowed aisles, pushing those listen-to-buttons lecturing us on how Spam saved the allied forces in WWII, then how Spam went on to save the household budget in the 50s… we were being indoctrinated on the worldwide uses of Spam. After the 45 minute tour, my competitive spirit was pumped up a notch, and my mental state saturated with “Spam-welcome”. Spam no longer felt like the red-headed step child of food… I felt I had joined the circus, I felt I had learned the secret handshake and was member of the tribe.

    Later that morning, after crossing the spammy decorated entrance at the local fairgrounds, We were WoW’d while walking booth to booth tasting other’s spam creations… comparing form over function… and sometimes function over taste. The Spam ice cream was a pleasant but greasy surprise. Then there was the spam castle with walls 3 ft high… although I felt they had cheated by keeping the little rectangular meat bricks in their little rectangular stackable cans… with a little creative geometry and a mountain of toothpicks they could have done so much more. We both snickered between us with mundane ridicule as we passed the spam-n-eggs, and again at the spam salad , the spam spaghetti, and even at the spam on a stick… so boring, fair-like, & lacking in eclectic enthusiasm.

    I was forever alert, hoping to catch a glimpse of “Miss-Spam 1996” and wondering if she would have been chosen for her body shape, that is a body shape that would represent the little pink bricks we were all here to pay homage to.

    When it came to award time, all contestants were sitting in rows of folding chairs in front of a raised stage. There was a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and then 7 honorable mentions. I’m sure, as is with all fair/festival food contests, everyone was thinking there’s was a shoe-in to win, my wife and I were no exception. I was particularly sure favoritism would be shown for our spam/squash pie with the marshmallow topping. As each of 10 awards was announced, you would see the winner puff up with pride as they pranced up to the stage, get their award, then were given the mike to describe in a few minutes how they came to such a delicious idea for Spam .

    First prize was real, your recipe would be put in the next edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Second & third prize I don’t recall, except that neither of them was given to us, but I really didn’t care about what the prize was anyway, I was looking for recognition not reward. Honorable mentions would do just fine… and for that award you would get to come up on stage, and in front of everyone you would receive a brand new oven-mit and spatula (both in spam can colors yellow & red with the word SPAM printed on them).

    I slung deeper and deeper into my chair as the awards were coming to an end… and as the last honorable mention was announced, I realized that our names would never be known, our recipe would never be copied by some young housewife looking to treat their family to a Sunday spam dinner. Our notion of edible art was not to take the day or even the minute. We went home unannounced

    I bow to the humble pressed pork loaf and its history… to which I am only a participant… not a winner.

    • Dear Bruce,

      I thoroughly enjoyed your spamtastic comment, and was almost as crushed as you to read that you didn’t even claim honorable mention. I suspect the jury was rigged.

      Thank you so much for your entertaining post, and now, thanks to you, I will not be able to get the image of a Miss Spam chosen based on her resemblance to Spam out of my head :)


Become an Adultitis Fighter!

Isn't it time to add a little happy to your inbox?