Eighties Dinner Party Food

It’s time to go back to the decade of big hair, shoulder pads, and working out to the oldies. The idea of throwing an Eighties-themed dinner party sounds like a lot of fun, but what sort of dishes would hearken back to that golden era? Here are some ideas for party food that will capture the mood of the decade.

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Loose meat sandwiches were a hit in the Eighties and remain popular today. It’s easy enough to purchase a couple pounds of ground beef and a packaged mix, but why not make the sauce from scratch? All it takes is ketchup, chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, and maybe a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce. A little red wine vinegar wouldn’t hurt.

Crumble and brown the ground beef. Once it’s cooked, drain the excess fat and add in the sauce. Allow the mixture to simmer until all the flavors mix and the onions are cooked. In the meantime, toast some hamburger buns and set out the chips and pickle slices.

Pasta Salad

Pasta has been around for a long time, but the idea of pasta salads hit their stride in the Eighties. As a side dish, start with cooked spiral pasta and add in chopped green bell pepper, whole kernel corn, and pimento. Open a can or two of tuna packed in water and add it to the mix. Use mayonnaise or ranch dressing as a binder. The salad can be prepared several hours in advance and works great with any type of grilled meat or as an entrée.


Popular as a side dish or a substitute for heavier desserts, ambrosia was a favorite of those who spend a lot of time working out in the Eighties. A basic recipe calls for the use of fresh and canned fruits. Toss in chopped apples, mandarin oranges, banana sliced dipped in salt water, peeled grapes, and some halved cherries. A little coconut and some chopped nuts rounds out the essentials. Many people preferred ambrosia without any binder, although some found that they liked a little pain yogurt as a topping.

There are plenty of other foods that gained popularity in the Eighties. Take some time to ask friends what foods they loved the most and plan a party that includes these and other dishes. Everyone is sure to have a story to tell while they feast on foods they may not have eaten in a long time.