WARNING the following post contains a graphic image of retro cooking and may be disturbing to some foodies.
With everything going on in the world today, it is easy to reminisce about simpler times. I was a child of the ’70s. It was not a decade without its own share of drama, with social change and the Vietnam War. Although, as children, we were, for the most part, sheltered from all of that. We were oblivious to what was happening in the world around us while we watched The Brady Bunch, Hey Hey Its Saturday, and Countdown on our black and white TVs. We didn’t have Playstation and Xbox, we had Atari, and it only played one game, Pong! We didn’t have the internet, mobile phones, and Netflix. We played outside and entertained ourselves. We got bumps and bruises, cuts and scratches, and the odd broken limb falling off playground equipment that probably wouldn’t meet safety standards today, but we survived!
The 1970s also reflected a culinary revolution in Australia. The Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookbook, launched in 1970, introduced us to International cuisine. We saw the opening of fast-food chains; McDonalds, Hungry Jack’s (Burger King), and Pizza Hut. We drank Big M’s and ate Jubilees.
Breville released kitchen equipment like the Kitchen Wizz food processor and the Snack’n’Sandwich toaster. The latter was a particular favourite of my Dad’s. He would fumble about, trying to keep baked beans on the bread with his dirty hands, discussing the virtues of this wonderful toaster. This also denotes Dad’s second culinary idea, to start a Toastie food van (a really disgusting thought if you saw him making a toastie). But like his thought to open a McDonalds, Mum was quick to tell him it was a stupid idea (probably a good call on this occasion.)
Fine dining took off in Melbourne with the relaxing of liquor laws in the ’70s. We saw the opening of iconic restaurants like Mietta’s (Mietta O’Donnell), Stephanies’s (Stephanie Alexander), Lynch’s (Paul Lynch), and the Flower Drum (Gilbert Lau) to name a few.
Dishes like Cheese Fondue, Prawn Cocktails, Oyster Kilpatrick, Lobster Mornay, Beef Wellington, Chicken Kiev and Bombe Alaska were all the rage at dinner parties. But there is one retro dish that I still like to make from time to time: Apricot Chicken. The Apricot Chicken we know today possibly originated with the Lipton Company as another use for its dried soup mix, which was initially produced in the USA in 1952.
This has to be one of the simplest dishes you can make and super quick to prepare. So crank up the ABBA for a bit of mood music, and let’s go back to the ’70s!
- 2kg of Chicken pieces
- 2 pkts Continental French Onion Soup
- 2 400ml tins of Apricot Nectar
1. Place Chicken pieces in a baking tray
2. Sprinkle Continental French Onion Soup over the chicken
3. Pour Apricot Nectar over the Chicken
4. Place in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C. (350 degrees F.) for about an hour turning Chicken until caramelised.