What’s in Your Lunch Box? Part 4 — The 1960s and 70s

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Culinary Experimentation The meals of the 1960s and 1970s had a wide variety of influences. The environmental movement increased the amount of granola and other whole foods consumed, says Lynne Olver, creator of the Food Timeline. Meanwhile, the Kennedys and Julia Childs popularized French cuisine. Even with the culinary experimentation, mainstay sandwiches like peanut butter or tuna were common in lunch boxes.


Iceberg wedge salad, courtesy Flickr user SauceSupreme.

The Times: The 1960s exploded with cultural changes. The Civil Rights Movement, women’s liberation and Vietnam War protests all flourished in this decade. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. Acid rock, psychedelic drugs and folk music were popular.

Lunch: Iceberg wedge salad Carrot sticks Nutmeg date bars Tang

Why it was popular: The wedge salad could be as simple as a chunk of iceberg lettuce with a dollop of mayonnaise and would have been easy to pack, Olver says. The orange-flavored drink Tang didn’t become popular until NASA used it on Gemini flights in 1965 and since then it has been associated with the space program.


The Times: The 1970s were a continuation of the changes in the 1960s. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from office because of charges of corruption in 1973 and the next year President Richard Nixon resigned, rather than face impeachment for his involvement in Watergate. The Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade and the first Gay Pride march was held in New York City, honoring the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Lunch: Quiche Lorraine Grasshopper pie (mint filling in an Oreo crust)

Why it was popular: Quiche was easily packaged in a lunch. Americans were intrigued by different flavors and textures; They weren’t satisfied with the same food that they had had since the 1950s, Olver says.

Don't miss the last lunch box blog post coming Thursday!

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