Food of the damned

Posted by Jenny in Sale Tales | 13 Comments

Saturday got off to an auspicious start when Meghan discovered a half-eaten slice of pizza lying amongst the baby clothes at a church rummage sale.

Rummage sale pizza slice

Little did we know that this piece of abandoned food would set a theme for the day. And not in our usual “yum, baked goods” way! It was old food, spotted at estate sale after estate sale. We’re talking food that came from another time, but which remained uneaten, festering in cabinets, basements and closets for decades … becoming the unwanted, the uneaten, the food of the damned.

Like this cabinet of horrors. Some of this stuff could be of recent vintage, but look a little closer. Don’t some of those logos seem a little dated?

Cabinet of horrors

I know C&H hasn’t used this packaging in a while, and that Parade sugar looks ancient too.

Sugar. Sugar? Sugar!

We tried to date this box of hash brown potatoes. All I can tell you is that it’s from before whenever it was that expiration dates become required.

Hash Brown Potatoes

And how about these spices of yesteryear? Need some MSG to go with your elegant salad?

Spices of yesteryear

We found a box containing a brief history of boxed dessert mixes (and related products like “Sparkle Mixture”).

Historical jell-o boxes

Then there was the can of popcorn from 1943.

Jolly Time Pop Corn

And the massive stockpile of after-dinner mints.

Mints and candies

We also saw a cabinet full of old booze (including a jug of Bloody Mary Mix that was now a light, clear pink). This sign was posted nearby.

Beer Crossing

With all that food floating around, do you think there might also be some handy food prep gadgets in the house? You would be right. Bonus points if you guessed they were never taken out of their packages.

Idle gadgets

This Chex calendar from 1981 had also been saved.

Chex Calendar of Creative Cooking '81

Probably because the recipes were so great … or maybe just for the decorating ideas.

From the Chex '81 calendar

Even some of the dishes kept the food theme going.


Although food wasn’t the only thing that had been hoarded …

Faberge Organics

Bagged toiletries

… or the only thing that was horrifying.

Feathered hair art photo

Rainbows are pretty

Windsock land

Decorated bar of soap

Stage make-up kit

Despite what the pictures might lead you to believe, we did make some purchases. No trunk photo, though … we’ve got something a little different planned this time. Stay tuned!

13 Responses to Food of the damned

  1. Maryanne says:

    I am horrified by that picture of the girl(s) in the red. Yikes!

    Either the Bear Paws packaging hasn’t changed in the last 30 years (most likely) or that’s of recent vintage. Bought some in January at Cabela’s for my husband who loves to smoke/make pulled pork. The paws are the “in” tool for shredding meat.

    Any sexual innuendo was not intentional. 😉

  2. eddieboyky says:

    Only one word for all this: EEEKKK!

  3. curt bensen says:

    I don’t think anything could hurt the Crisco.

  4. leah says:

    bawls, that mirrored image is awesome.

  5. Mary says:

    I totally would have bought all the old food. There is a flickr group that posts pics of old food packages and they would be hypervetilating over that find!

  6. Pingback: Yard Sale Bloodbath » Yard Sale Bloodbath … on video!

  7. swankola says:

    Love it. Would this be a good time to mention my new food blog? May Contain Nuts.

  8. Amber says:

    Haha! Oh my word! This is hilarious! What a bunch of interesting finds to make for a fun day! I think it’s an old person thing…and perhaps particularly those who lived through some sort of depression or something. When I lived on the Eastern side of Germany (11 years after the fall of the wall), there were lots of elderly people that did this. They bought stuff, stored it, and never used it. Perhaps because they thought they would need it some time in their future when they had nothing or no way to get anything. Having really starved can really do work to one’s phsychie, I suppose.

  9. Melissa says:

    That mushroom dishware is weirdly awesome.

  10. Julie says:

    I found a half used tube of Vagasil in a box of clothes at a yard sale this weekend. Wish I would have worked up the nerve to ask how much it was…..

  11. Briane Pagel says:

    How could you resist buying the popcorn and seeing if it actually would pop?

  12. RickSaunders says:

    Loved the video. But estate sales are kind of heart breaking.The food scene was a nightmare for me. When my wife and I moved from FL back to E.WA to clean out my parents house my father-in-law foolishly volunteered to clean out the basement pantry. He spent most of the time yelling “Why?…Why?” The food y’all saw was nothing compared to the bunker-like stockpile my mom had. Typical story- Grew up in the depression. Had 7 of everything and 3 broken ones just in case. Her youngest child was about 40. But there were still GLASS baby bottles and old dryed rubber nipples stored away. I bet we took easlily over 500lbs of canned goods to the dump. Would have loved to donate it but most of there was no telling the age except the stuff that had labels I recognized from childhood. Sigh. Carry on.

  13. Meghan says:

    um, I did buy it. I don’t collect old food, but after looking at it and seeing that you had to open it with a can opener I stuck it in my box of crap to be rung up.
    It will probably be in our next yard sale.

    The sale that I grabbed all the clothing had about a huge box of glass baby bottles…

    We have been to tons of old depression sales, it’s usually interesting.