Once upon a time, there was an era before foodie-millennials were delighting their taste buds with specialty foods like artisanal mayonnaise and ramen burgers. Before everything was gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, and non-GMO, there was what I remember as perhaps a simpler way of life and eating. Staying at my Grandma Molly’s house meant her food just tasted more delicious; it’s probably because I’ve now realized that she was most likely cooking everything in lard.
My grandma didn’t know GMO from MSG and she lived to be almost 90—so, by no means are criticizing. And by no means are we saying you’re young if these don’t apply to you. (Baby boomers, we’re looking at you and that margarine you keep using.) But if your tastes feel a little different than those of your organic-loving, whole-foods-only-eating friends, read on to discover if you’re actually eating like an older person. And if you want to get up to speed—fast!—and not feel so dated with your food knowledge, check out these 42 Food Qs From Millennials—Answered in 5 Words or Less!
You Cook With Lard
If you ate dinner at your grandparents' house as a kid, the chances are good that we’re alike in that the secret to that delicious fried chicken (and even that super flakey pie for dessert) was lard. What is lard? Pig fat—and it’s actually not as bad for you as it sounds. In fact, lard is making a comeback because it actually has just 40 percent saturated fat—compared with nearly 60 percent for butter. And its level of “good fat” (monounsaturated fat) is 45 percent, whereas butter is around 23 percent. If you’ve gotten into this retro trend, your grandparents and older relatives would actually be proud!
You Like Whole Milk
Once upon a time, there was an ad campaign that exalted the benefits of drinking milk because it, you know, did a body good. Drinking a nice cold glass of milk at dinner was equivalent to, say, an iced tea. It was just what you drank—no questions asked. But this was decades ago, when the dairy section wasn’t filled with dozens of options—skim milked, two percent, almond, coconut, soy, and more. We were told for years that skim milk was a better choice to manage our weight; but if you’re happily drowning your Cheerios in whole milk, it turns out that you’re not committing a cardinal sin. Studies today suggest that people who opt for whole milk appear to have lower rates of heart disease than people who drink low-fat or skim milk. But honestly? It’s rather “old” to drink milk in the first place; numerous studies have proven that most adults shouldn’t be drinking entire glasses of the stuff—and that all those milk alternatives are for a good reason. Check out our exclusive guide to the Best and Worst Milks and Milk Alternatives for everything you need to know.
You Love a Frozen Meal
Another thing about my grandma’s house? She had a separate freezer in the basement filled with frozen dinners—salisbury steak and mashed potatoes, turkey dinners, and macaroni and cheese. It’s not exactly the choice of the farm-to-table generation, but if you do enjoy a “TV dinner,” then you should check your DVR. Is it filled with the latest episodes of Wheel of Fortune? Then you’ve been sucked into a marketing group that is very much for a very senior demographic who enjoy popping their frozen dinners into the microwave several times a week! Frozen dinners aren’t going anywhere, though—so find out the 22 Best & Worst Frozen Dinners.
You Suck on Werther's Candy
If you were a child of the ‘90s, then you probably remember the sentimental commercial where a grandfather offered his grandson a Werther's candy. It was meant to show how the different generations could pass down their love of caramel candy to each other. We’ll admit it; that’s a nice sentiment and having a bowl in your house as an ode to your grandparents is pretty darn sweet. But if you start carrying the candies around in your pocket, we’re gonna call you out for being old.
You Eat Jell-O for Dessert
Jell-O has a rep for being a dessert loved by babies and older people because, well, neither usually have very many teeth. And unless you’re adding vodka and making yours in a shot glass, it’s not exactly a well-received dessert in younger circles. (Has anyone ever once thought about a Jell-O mold with fruit trapped inside and suddenly had a craving?) Fun fact: Jell-O became very popular when the baby boomers were born because those young mothers were looking for quick, easy to prepare food. And what is easier than boiling water and adding powder?
You Snack on Black Licorice
If you’re bringing black licorice to snack on at the movies (because the strawberry Twizzlers just don’t do it for you) then you have some old soul taste buds—and you’re also onto something. Licorice actually helps treat things like stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, and chronic gastritis. It can even help with ailments like a sore throat, bronchitis, cough, and infections caused by bacteria or viruses. So basically, your love of black licorice can help cure a lot of “old people” ailments! Discover 20 Natural Cures From your Fridge for more bites that do double duty!
You’ll Eat Your Apple Baked
Baked apples are delicious—sprinkle on some butter and cinnamon and you have a low-fat dessert. Probably not. But my mom, however, makes her baked apples covered with a can of diet black cherry soda and it’s amazing—and takes me back to my childhood! But really, have you ever been offered an apple any other way than sliced?
Soft Boiled Is Your Egg Style of Choice
Eggs are one of the original superfoods. Loaded with protein, vitamins, and good fats, an egg is great for breakfast or as a snack. And boiled eggs are a great option because—unlike scrambled or fried eggs—you don’t need to anything other than water to cook ‘em. But soft boiled just makes us think of dentures and sensitive teeth…
You Love Those Lorna Doone Cookies
This shortbread cookie debuted in 1912, and quite honestly, it’s very rare that I have ever been offered these tasty treats anywhere but the home of an older relative.
Cottage Cheese Gives You Life
Cottage cheese is one of those foods that you either love or you hate. And many people who I have talked to don’t love it because it reminds them of going over to a great aunt's house for lunch as a kid and being served a heaping bowl of cottage cheese—maybe with a few peaches mixed in for good measure. There are even a few younger staffers on the Eat This, Not That! team who admitted to never (ever!) trying cottage cheese.
Cafeteria-Style Restaurants Are Your Jam
If all-you-can-eat fried food at the Golden Corral or salad, flatbreads, and unlimited frozen yogurt at Sweet Tomatoes are more your speed than the cool food halls popping up through the country, then just take a look at the crowd the next time you go. Better yet, check the time you’re there—are you there for the early bird dinner rush? Speaking of aging yourself, avoid these 20 Foods That Make You Appear 20 Years Older.
You Love Your Grapefruit Sprinkled with Sugar
I remember going to the diner with my grandparents as a child and they would always end the meal by asking for the waitress to retrieve for them half a grapefruit (covered in saran wrap and topped with a maraschino cherry) from the dessert case. They would then douse it in sugar to cut the bitterness and voila—meal complete. Truth is, grapefruit is an amazing addition to your diet and has been proven to help with weight loss and can curb your appetite. Sugar? Not so much. That stuff is linked to issues like heart disease. If grapefruits are too tart for you, choose the darkest ones you can find; they’re the sweeter ones. P.S. – Grapefruits are actually one of the The 25 Best Foods for Instant Detox! Score another one for grandpa and grandma!
You Live it Up With Liver
If there ever was a food that made you think of the cuisine of the elders in your life, then it definitely is liver. Just the thought of it is enough to make you shudder. Not only is it slimy, it’s liver—so the ick factor is high. But just in case you are one of the few millennials frying this up for dinner, you should know that it’s a very nutritious choice, filled with protein, vitamins, and folate.
You Eat Beets From a Can
If you’re eating beets from a can, that is fine and totally your choice. But if you’re doing it because your grandma served them that way, then it’s time to get to a Whole Foods (or the like) soon and try a golden beet to see what you’ve been missing! While you’re at it, don’t miss out on these 13 Ways to Cook With the Whole Beet!
You Love a Good Pot Pie
Swanson made chicken pot pie a staple to family dinners everywhere when it put this savory treat in the freezer section back in the ‘50s. Today, you’ll still see it pop up on the menu of restaurants that serve comfort food—but it’s definitely the comfort food of a generation long before the cronut and other hybrid treats were invented!
You Stock Up on Cheese That Comes Wrapped in Foil
With all the delicious shops employing cheesemongers and the availability of so many fresh and delicious varieties, foil-wrapped cheese bits and squares are just a waste. Maybe that’s what your grandma kept in the fridge, but you know better! (Psst! Eating Velveeta is a sure sign you’re from the Midwest! Check it out in the 15 Region-by-Region Eating Habits in the U.S.
Rum Raisin and Pistachio Ice Cream Are Your Scoops
If you’re eating these flavors by the pint, then you haven’t been shown the light of a good serving of Chunky Monkey or Cherry Garcia! Seriously, rum raisin?
DON’T MISS: Every Ben & Jerry's Flavor—Ranked By Nutrition!
Fiber One Kick Starts Your Day
Let’s be honest. If you’re upping your fiber consumption, then you probably are trying to get your internal plumbing flowing—and not to generalize, but that’s usually (not always) a problem our elders are trying to solve. But truth be told, Americans overall don’t eat enough fiber—keep in mind that women need 25 grams of fiber per day, and men need 38 grams per day. Just don’t reach for these The 17 Worst Fiber-Rich Foods; they do more harm than good.
You’re a Gourmet with the Toaster Oven
For us Real Housewives fans, you know that New Yorker Sonja Morgan does all her entertaining with meals created entirely in the toaster. My grandmother used to broil her fish in there. It’s convenient if you're getting a bagel nice and toasty or heating up leftover pizza—or live in, say, a retirement home!
You Say “Yum” to Canned Fruit Cocktail
If this is how you get in your daily serving of fruits, then you’re definitely channeling an old school way of grocery shopping. Why? Well, the fruit cocktail came to be at the beginning of the 20th century when canning became a thing here in America. Del Monte actually developed the canned fruit cocktail as a way to use the odds and ends of otherwise damaged fruit. It caught on and regulations were put into place; to be considered a true fruit cocktail, pears, grapes, cherries, and peaches must be included in the mix. The Eat This, Not That! team isn’t a fan of canned fruit sitting in syrup, though—because syrup. Find out 25 Awful Ingredients Everyone Still Uses—But Shouldn’t!
Andes Candies Have Your Heart
Do you ever see Andes Chocolate Mints sold for school fundraisers? Are they all that readily available anywhere other than the dollar store, with your bill at a random restaurant, or in the home of someone born before Kennedy was president? No and no. But if you are a fan of these tiny little indulgences, we’ll admit they’re a nice after-dinner treat. (Just stick to one, though.)
You Love a Mundane Piece of Melba Toast
In 1925, the Mayo Brothers (as in the Mayo Clinic we know today) prescribed the "Eighteen Day Reducing Diet" to Ethel Barrymore (famous actress and great aunt of Drew Barrymore). Melba toast was on the plan—which made the toast very popular at the time. If you enjoy it, even in place of bread, you’re likely one of the youngest consumers.
Canfield’s Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda Rules Your World
Considering this popular drink from the ‘70s isn’t exactly found in vending machines or in soda fountains, it’s safe to say that your tastes are rather vintage if this product is making its way into your fridge! Be careful about consuming these kinds of empty calories, though; they’re one of the 30 Reasons You're Always Hungry.