How To Host a Rocking 1970s Dinner Party

We all know that the 1970s were known for music, crazy fashion, the end of the Vietnam war, women’s movements and the opposition to big government and business, among many other things.

What about food? Did the seventies exhibit some wild trends that matched the fashion and music scene? I had a quest to find out. My in-laws recently shared that they were celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary this year. That means they were married in 1972! Wow, what an accomplishment.

I wanted to create a dinner for them that would take them back in history to when they first got married. I immediately turned to Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. Pinterest proved to be a good source, however, I found I had to dig deeper on the world wide web for a bit more research in this area. Recipes from that era, were not as well documented online as they are now. I found pictures of old recipe books, and blog posts talking about the seventies, but not a lot of evidence of tried and true recipes.  I ended up creating a ‘1970s Dinner Party Pinterest Board,’ check it out and go ahead and follow me there! I turned to my lovely and loyal followers on the Artisan Angela Facebook page as well. You all gave me wonderful suggestions and advice, thank you!

In addition to re-creating seventies style dishes, I wanted a vibe that would match. I recently acquired my Grandma O’Neil’s China and this party would be the first time I used it. We needed drinks, music, decorations the works to pull it off. Wine back then was just becoming popular. Boones Farm, Wild Rose, Chablis etc. were the typical wines of choice and often they came in a box! Spiked punches were more typical along with liquors.

To add another twist to the party, the 45th wedding anniversary is represented by the sapphire, so I incorporated this royal blue color throughout. Please enjoy the pictures and check out the links to the recipes.

My in-laws were blown away. Their song even played on the seventies youtube channel that was playing in the background. The evening couldn’t have been more perfect! My quest was achieved, the seventies proved to have some wild food trends such as crazy and unusual savory gelatin molds, potent punches and anything that you could stack or lay upon iceberg lettuce made it look that much fancier!

You can easily throw a fun party that will bring back memories or inspires future party ideas for your guests. Let me know if you make any of these recipes or are feeling groovy enough to throw your own party, in which case, please invite me!

The Menu:

Appetizers:

  • Shrimp Cocktail: Boil a pound or two of shelled and deveined shrimp until they curl up and turn pink, serve on top of romaine or iceberg lettuce with cocktail sauce
  • Cheese Log: Buy one from your local supermarket, serve with Ritz crackers
  • Punch:  Sapphire Alpine 

Main Course:

  • Pork Wellington: I made a few adjustments to this recipe. I used regular deli ham instead of prosciutto. I also made caramelized onions with rosemary instead of the mushrooms and used stone ground brown mustard instead of dijon. I also used rosemary instead of thyme. I cooked it for exactly 40 minutes and it turned out absolutely amazing, everyone raved and I will definitely be making this again. Also, it was super easy!

  • Boiled baby potatoes and green beans: Boil a pound of little baby potatoes for 10 minutes or until fork tender. In the last couple minutes of cooking the potatoes add your green beans. Strain them all together, put in a casserole dish and add 2-3 TBS of butter, salt, and pepper. I had leftover caramelized onions from the pork and added those as well.

  • Perfection Salad:  Follow the recipe exactly and you won’t be disappointed! I made this and another gelatin salad with mandarin oranges and apples the day before the party and kept them in their molds until right before the party started.

  • Red Wine: Black Box Merlot (Try this, you will love it.) I put in a decanter a few hours before the party to let it breathe.

Dessert:

  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake: I added a little more brown sugar to the pan because it didn’t seem like it was enough to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Other than that, I followed the recipe. We enjoyed with coffee.
  • Fernet: After dinner digestif. Read about this herbal libation here.