19 Classic American Foods That Are Losing Their Popularity

Classic American foods that have lost popularity over time include a variety of dishes, some due to changes in dietary habits and preferences, and others because of the labor-intensive nature of their preparation or the scarcity of their ingredients. Here are 19 classic American foods that are losing popularity, and the reasons why:

Chicken Gloria

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Cheesy chicken casserole is made with chicken, creamy mushroom sauce, and melted cheese on top. Casseroles have fallen out of fashion in most of the country because of their high-calorie content, but we bet you can still find them in parts of the Midwest where casseroles are still a staple.

Liver and Onions

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Liver has long been a popular ingredient in many cultures due to its affordability and nutritional value. Onions add depth and flavor to dishes. The combination of liver and onions likely emerged as a way to create a satisfying and economical meal. Organ meat fell out of favor for its high fat content and acquired taste. However, it may find its way back into the American diet because of its superfood nutrients, according to Healthline.

Turtle Soup

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Turtle soup was once a tremendously popular European delicacy that had ample supply in the New World. As with many popular creatures, the shelled reptiles became over-harvested, and various species of turtles are now classified as threatened and endangered. Today, turtle soup is still served in New Orleans and a few other places in the southern United States, but it is not quite as common as it once was.

Ambrosia Salad

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Ambrosia salad first appeared as a straightforward recipe in the late 1800s, making use of only layered orange slices, coconut, and sugar. Its initial appeal may have been exoticism, as oranges and coconuts were so expensive that only wealthier classes could afford them. Canned fruits became staples during and after both World Wars, and ambrosia salad reached its recognizable retro form with canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, and mandarin oranges.

Tuna Casserole

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Tuna noodle casserole used to be the ultimate dump-and-bake dish, involving a can of tuna, a can of cream of mushroom soup, noodles, and maybe some frozen peas. “Millennials don’t even own can openers,” Andy Mecs, former Vice President of Marketing and Innovation at StarKist, told the Wall Street Journal when explaining the decline of canned tuna purchases. The younger generations have opted to move away from the canned foods they grew up on.


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Meatloaf was once an easy recipe that helped make ground beef stretch into more than one meal. While it’s still a comfort food for some, it’s not as widely consumed as it once was. Some of this is due to people seeking more “refined” cuisine, and some is because people have lowered their red meat consumption for health and environmental reasons.

Tapioca Pudding

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Tapioca was once a popular dessert because it was a beneficial starch, which, according to John Ayto’s An A-Z of Food & Drink, was valued for its “possession of that elusive quality… of… digestibility.” Considered nutrient-rich and easy to digest, it was often served to children. Tapioca is still popular today, but in its boba form instead of pudding, which lost some of its health punch in its prepacked form.

TV Dinners

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TV dinners in their original form required less than an hour in the oven. Microwave meals later became available in the 1980s; however, rather than heightening the dish’s popularity, the extreme convenience caused many to become suspicious of such instant cuisine’s capability as a true meal. TV dinners have attempted to market their healthier and protein-packed options, but people still see them as a junk food of sorts.

Jell-O and Congealed Salads

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Gelatin salads used to be a savory dish, with aspics, meat broth, and pieces in gelatin. Now, when we think of gelatin, it tends to be a sweet dish like Jell-O. Gelatin-based dishes fit the postwar inclination toward neatness and efficiency that defined many culinary habits of the time. When we look back at those dishes and wonder why someone thought they were appealing, just remind yourself that it was more out of necessity than actual desire.

Oysters Rockefeller

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Oysters are still extremely popular, and you can still find Oysters Rockefeller on restaurant menus, but they aren’t quite as popular as they once were. Invented in New Orleans and named to sound like money, Oysters Rockefeller was once a treat for those who loved luxury. People today enjoy their oysters raw, steamed, grilled, and fried without concern for sounding rich.

Baked Alaska

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Baked Alaska in its original form was ice cream baked for a short time in a very hot oven, guarded by a meringue shell. During the height of home entertaining in the 1950s and 1960s, a dish’s status was more or less determined by how expensive and laborious it was to prepare, while the 1970s and 1980s focused on diet culture, taking many of these dishes off the menu, including Baked Alaska.

Chicken à la King

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Chicken à la king (lit. king-style chicken) is a savory dish made with diced chicken meat, cream sauce, vegetables, and sherry mushrooms, served over either rice, noodles, or most commonly toast or bread. The recipe was first mentioned in the New York Times in 1893. It eventually evolved to include canned soup, as many things did during a dark point in our culinary history.

Chiffon Pie

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Chiffon pies were popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but you don’t see them around anymore. It could be because meringue isn’t the easiest thing to make, so people have chosen easier pies to indulge in.

Sloppy Joes

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While still known, this sandwich has become less common in American households. Sloppy Joes were a staple on the dinner table for many kids in the ‘80s, though the recipe (or canned choice) varied from home to home. Like many can-based recipes, Sloppy Joes have cleared the way for fresher and less messy options.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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The exoticism of pineapple and the convenience of canned fruits may have once made this cake popular, but its appeal waned with the availability of fresh fruits. Mashed explains that it became popular when Dole sponsored a contest for the best pineapple-centric recipe in 1925, selecting a certain Mrs. Robert Davis’s pineapple upside-down cake as the winner. There has been a nostalgic resurgence of the cake with a fresh fruit twist lately.

Pork and Beans

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The convenience of canned pork and beans may have contributed to its popularity in the past, but changes in dietary preferences and the availability of alternative protein sources have led to a decline in its consumption.

Spaghetti Pie

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Spaghetti pie is a traditional American savory pie originating from Colorado. It’s made with a combination of spaghetti, ground beef, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, butter, beaten eggs, and cheese such as mozzarella, ricotta, or parmesan. Spaghetti pie has become less popular since people have begun preferring more authentic varieties of pasta dishes.

Steak Diane

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Steak Diane is an American invention of the late 1950s/early 1960s, when French cooking was all the rage. Rich wine sauces and flamboyant presentation were the norm for many top restaurants. Today, people look for less flair and butter with their food, and though Steak Diane is no longer on a lot of menus, you can still find it at a few steakhouses.

Chicken Divan

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Chicken divan is a rich casserole made with chicken pieces, almonds, broccoli, and Mornay or hollandaise sauce. In the 1950s, it was the signature dish of a New York restaurant called the Divan Parisien. Once popular on restaurant menus, it has disappeared along with many other casseroles.

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