You know those April Fools’ Day prank recipes, the ones where you serve mashed potatoes in ice cream cones or put toothpaste in Oreos? Yeah, those are funny. But we found something better.
All of the recipes in this gallery are actual recipes from actual cookbooks, intended to be made and consumed for actual meals. Some of them are gross because tastes have changed, and some of them are gross because they are plain ol’ gross, no bones about it. Brace yourself for salad balls and sausage cake as you click through.
Sara Bir is Paste’s contributing food editor. If she can find beef or pork spleen, you can bet she’s stewing it up on April 1. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Sausagetarian.
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Sardine Puff: Sardines are actually really delicious. But not when they are puffy.
Family Fare: A Guide to Good Nutrition, 1973
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Rice and Walnut Loaf: This unfortunate thing is the kind of slop that puts carnivores off meat analogues. Think how much better it would be to enjoy a rice pilaf with walnuts on top of it instead.
Menu Magic in a Nutshell, date unknown
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Air Cake: For a zero-calorie dessert buffet, serve this with Wind Pudding and Atmosphere Trifle.
Our Kitchen Secrets, 1960
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Spleen Stew: Maybe the National Spleen Board needs to hire a marketing firm to come up with a new name for this underutilized offal. Until then, enjoy this recipe's phrases like "spleen broth" and "...lastly add the cooked spleen."
Meat for Thrifty Meals, 1953
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Salad Balls: Now you can satisfy your yearning desire for salad in easy-to-eat ball form! That is, as long as you consider cottage cheese, olives, and crushed potato chips to be a salad.
One for the Menu, date unknown
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Tuna Royal Pancakes: Just go ahead and re-name these "tuna crepes." I promise they'll taste a thousand times better that way.
133 Quicker Ways to Homemade with Bisquick, 1959
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Holiday Punch: This is from a time when using 2-1/2 cups of corn syrup in party punch made it even fancier.
Fancy Cookies, Festive Candies: Delicious Goodies for Giving, 1956
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Fresh Tongue: Look, I know we all want a little fresh tongue. But not like this.
National Presto Cooker Recipe Book, 1948
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Skippy, Veggies n' Cheese Sandwich: Next time you make a PB&J, don't forget the ham slice!
Quick Complete Meals for Summer, 1966
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None Such Pudding: Jarred mincemeat filling meets gelatin salad.
21 None Such Mince Meat Recipes, 1952