20 Foods That Were Staples for Our Grandparents But Not for Us

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By Darryl Henderson

Modern kitchens are stocked with staple foods that are very different from that of our grandparents. Sadly, many of these foods are rarely used by modern generations, mostly disappearing from our diets. Let’s take a look at 20 foods that were staples for our grandparents but not for us!


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Lard was once popular as a cooking fat due to its rich flavor, but research revealed it to be one of the more unhealthy fats, causing it to disappear from kitchens. Medline says that you should avoid lard completely as it’s high in saturated fats, replacing it with olive oil or canola oil.

Homemade Bread

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Baking bread at home was a common occurrence for our grandparents, especially in rural areas where there weren’t many stores available. Sadly, modern conveniences have led to people buying their bread at supermarkets, although artisan and homemade bread are beginning to experience a comeback in recent years.

Canned Fruit

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Home canning was necessary for our elders to preserve fruits harvested in season. However, the availability of fresh fruit year-round and the convenience of store-bought goods have reduced the number of people buying canned fruit. Fresh alternatives are far more favored, for good reason!

Organ Meats

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Organ meats, or offal, were a great option for people who wanted to buy cheap food with good nutritional value. However, modern tastes and the availability of other meats have made organ meats far less popular. Honestly, kids these days find them gross.

Cod Liver Oil

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People regularly take cod liver oil for its numerous health benefits, although in recent years, its strong taste and the rise of multivitamins have led to a decline in its use. Still, Verywell Health credits it as being an excellent source of omega 3, vitamin A, and vitamin D.


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Oatmeal has always been a breakfast staple, highly valued for its affordability and nutrition. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can reduce the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Tragically, less healthy cereals and other more convenient options overshadow traditional oatmeal these days. 

Salt Pork

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Our grandparents used salt pork as a preserved meat staple before refrigerators became essential to households. Because fresh meat became readily available, salt pork was no longer needed, although it’s still used in some traditional dishes, such as Boston baked beans.

Dandelion Greens

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Foraging for dandelion greens was common during the Great Depression due to the lack of availability of various greens in supermarkets. Recently, foraging and wild foods have experienced a revival among some health-conscious and sustainability-minded people, but they’re still largely unpopular.


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Molasses was a common sweetener used for baking, especially in rural areas. Unfortunately, the increase in less healthy, refined sugars and syrups reduced its use, although it’s still used as an ingredient in traditional recipes like gingerbread. We think it’s due to a comeback.


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Spam became popular after its frequent use throughout World War II; its long shelf life made it a hit, but the rise of fresh foods soon led to its decline. The Telegraph reports that Spam has led to increases in diseases such as diabetes, strokes, and heart disease, so it’s worth giving a miss.


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This was a type of head cheese and a way to use every part of the animal. However, much like organ meats, changes in preferences and the availability of other deli meats have reduced their popularity. It’s still found in some regional cuisines, but Gen Z finds it disgusting. 

Pickled Eggs

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Due to its long shelf life, pickled eggs were a well-loved bar snack and home staple. The prevalence of refrigerators and fresh food has made them less common, although you can still find them in supermarkets and many bars across the globe. In fact, they’re unusually popular in the United Kingdom!


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Tripe is the stomach lining of cattle and was a common part of diets back in the day.

Modern tastes have moved far away from tripe, favoring muscle meats such as chicken breast and pork loin. Although tripe may not be popular in the U.S. anymore, Asian countries still consider it a delicacy! 


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Hardtack is a simple, long-lasting cracker and was essential for soldiers and sailors who were out in the field for long periods of time. Modern preservation methods have made it obsolete, but 

it’s sometimes made for historical reenactments and educational purposes. The crackers of today are, undeniably, far tastier. 


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Cornbread was used as a bread alternative by our grandparents, especially in the Southern U.S. Modern diet shifts and the rise of sliced bread have mostly removed it from our homes, but it’s still commonly found in many BBQ joints and in some Southern households.

Cabbage Soup

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Cabbage soup, a cheap and highly nutritious meal, was a common food option during challenging economic times. However, because of all the different soups and other food choices that are available now, it is not as popular as it once was. We can’t say that we miss it!

Rice Pudding

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Rice pudding was a comforting and very common dessert that could be found in most pantries many years ago. However, so many dessert options are available today that interest has steered away from the humble rice pudding. These days, it is generally enjoyed as a nostalgic treat, but only on rare occasions.


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According to Britannica, buttermilk is a byproduct of butter churning, commonly used in cooking and baking. Because of changes in butter production, cultured buttermilk became far more accessible, but strangely, this led to its less frequent use. It’s still quite common for battering chicken, though!


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Rabbit is very rarely consumed in modern times, but our grandparents ate it regularly as a source of protein, especially during meat shortages. People now prefer beef, pork, and chicken, although rabbits are still sometimes prepared in gourmet dishes. It’s too ‘gamey’ for most people, though.


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Finally, liverwurst is a kind of sausage made from the liver that was often used as a sandwich filler in the past. However, like with most items on our list, changes in tastes and the availability of more appealing sandwich fillings, such as deli meats, have made it more or less extinct from U.S. society!