POPSUGAR Celebrity

Direct a Retro Menu With Mad Men-Inspired Foods

Apr 4 2012 - 4:20am

Whether because of the retro fashion or the boardroom-to-bedroom drama, we can't get enough of this season of Mad Men. Though we observe the show's characters downing classic cocktails [1] more often than sitting down to dinner, food still plays a major part of the historical accuracy of the show, and the series nails 1960s American cuisine when it does feature dining moments. Here's a roundup of some classic dishes the men and women of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce might nibble when they're not too busy stirring up trouble.

Source: Flickr Users TheCulinaryGeek [2], PetroleumJelliffe [3], and David Blaine [4]

Ambrosia Salad

A decadent, almost dessertlike version of a fruit salad, the ambrosia salad usually contains pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows, and coconut with a creamy agent (whipped cream, sour cream, or yogurt) to bind it all together.

Source: Flickr User Marshall Astor - Food Fetishist [5]

Baked Alaska

Sponge cake topped with ice cream surrounded by baked meringue — better known as Baked Alaska — became popular in the 1960s as a showy dessert to impress your dinner guests.

Source: Flickr User balise42 [6]

Beef Bourguignon

A slow-braised beef recipe originally considered a peasant's dish in its native France, beef bourguignon became popular among the American set thanks to Julia Child [7]'s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The characters of Mad Men undoubtedly loved it for its liberal use of red wine!

Source: Flickr User balise42 [8]

Beef Wellington

Roger Sterling revels over a hotel's room-service beef Wellington, and if done well, the meal truly is an indulgent treat: a filet coated with pâté, then encased in puff pastry and baked.

Source: Flickr User David Blaine [9]

Chicken à la King

Diced chicken and vegetables in a sherry cream sauce, chicken à la king became a popular home dinner entrée in the mid-20th century.

Source: Flickr User robot-girl [10]

Chicken Kiev

In the fourth season premiere, Don Draper sups on chicken kiev, a pounded chicken breast stuffed with garlic herbed butter, breaded, and deep-fried.

Source: Flickr User Like_the_Grand_Canyon [11]

Chicken Liver Pâté

These days, liver gets a bad rap, but earlier in the 20th century, families regularly supped on liver and onions, and the organ also made a delicious appetizer in the form of pâté.

Source: Flickr User TheCulinaryGeek [12]

Crêpe Suzette

Among the showy desserts of the 1960s, crêpe suzette takes the cake: a sauce of butter, orange, and Grand Marnier is set aflame and poured over a crepe.

Source: Flickr User Merle ja Joonas [13]

Deviled Eggs

With the 1960s focus on pricey ingredients, deviled eggs found themselves topped with caviar.

Source: Flickr User citymama [14]


The fondue craze hit New York not long before Mad Men takes place. In the 1950s, Swiss restauranteur Konrad Egli introduced cheese fondue as well as fondue bourguignonne in which meat is cooked by dipping it in hot oil.

Source: Flickr User Lauri- [15]

Onion Dip

A fast and easy version of French onion dip was made possible by the Lipton soup company, which created an onion soup mix that easily blended with sour cream.

Source: Flickr User jasonlam [16]


Buttered peas were a mainstay side dish in the 1960s, much to the chagrin of many children of this generation!

Source: Flickr User Haprog_ [17]

Pigs in a Blanket

Cocktail foods became popular in the 1960s to support the decade's cocktail culture. Pigs in a blanket was an easy hors d'oeuvre made with pastry dough wrapped around cocktail sausages (or hot dogs).

Source: Flickr User Andrea_Nguyen [18]

Salmon Mousse

By the 1960s, wartime food rationing was a distant memory. However, canned meats and fish had become a staple of the American diet. Salmon mousse whipped canned salmon into an hors d'oeuvre delight.

Source: Flickr User rainydayknitter [19]

Shrimp Cocktail

When has shrimp cocktail not been a popular appetizer? In the 1960s, peeled and cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce was a match made in heaven!

Source: Flickr User PetroleumJelliffe [20]

Glazed Spiral Cut Ham

An early pioneer of the sweet-savory flavor profile, a cured ham was slathered with honey or maple syrup before roasting. A dinner at the Draper home would probably include pineapple slices and cloves pinned to the ham.

Source: Flickr User @joefoodie [21]

Swedish Meatballs

Another popular cocktail food, Swedish meatballs showed off a hostess's worldly culinary knowledge!

Source: Flickr User kalleboo [22]

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