The '70s Trend Of Fish-Shaped Tuna Mousse

Any loyal Baby Boomer will tell you that many good things came out of the 1970s. Without this colorful decade, the world may never have been blessed to experience disco, bell bottoms, Tupperware, or "Star Wars." From a culinary perspective, the 70s produced gelatin salads, cheese balls, and the Egg McMuffin which debuted in 1972, per Love Food. Interestingly enough, a lot of these trends were not mere passing fads, but continue to be popular today, whether for nostalgic reasons or because they are just plain awesome.

Of course, it was fine to say good riddance to things like leisure suits, cigarettes, carpet in the bathroom, and avocado green and orange color schemes. And when cooks stopped putting everything but the kitchen sink into aspic and halted the practice of putting the pasta in bundt pan molds, no one really lost any sleep. Despite the questionable food choices, people really liked to throw a party in the 70s, whether it was to show off their new state-of-the-art VCR or to groove to the Bee Gees. 

Naturally, parties were the time to dress and cook to impress, so the more flamboyant, the better. Today, a popular seafood party appetizer is a shrimp cocktail platter, or perhaps a hot crab dip. However, in the 70s, it just wasn't a party unless you had a tuna mousse in the shape of an actual fish in the center of your wicker table.

Why tuna fish was put into a mold

CNN calls 70s party food "terrifying" and maybe for good reason. After all, is there really any excuse for creating something called a sandwich loaf? Then again, eHow, believes 70s party cooking was very much about making the food look good, which could explain the need to put everything into a mold, like tuna fish. Serving a combination of tuna, cream cheese, gelatin, mayonnaise, and spices in a bowl would probably look anything but appealing. However, putting all that goodness in a fish-shaped copper mold and serving it on a bed of lettuce, decorating it with olives for eyes, and cucumbers for scales is obviously so much better. Guests would marvel at the fanciness of it all before spreading gobs of it on crackers or bread.

To be fair, the concept of a protein-based mousse is not all that unusual. Salmon mousse and liver patés are enjoyed with gusto today, but they are typically served in jars or slices, not in the shapes of their undisturbed animals. Like high-waisted jeans and jumpsuits, though, time will tell if this unusual trend will re-enter modern society. Blog Foodaciously showcases a recipe combining mashed potato and tuna fish, making it possible to create a fish shape without a mold, while Dusty Old Thing suggests a more classic preparation using cream of celery soup, gelatin, and a metal mold. Either way, if you're looking to host a retro party, a fish-shaped mousse will be nothing if not a conversation starter.